Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recommended Reading: Ready Player One

Full of 80’s movie, television, video game, and cultural references, Ready Player One takes the reader on an enjoyable ride through a dystopian version of the United States of America. Wade, the main protagonist, sets out on an adventure through the virtual reality video game, OASIS, to solve a puzzle left by the game’s late creator and gain the power and wealth that comes with running a system on which the world relies. Throughout the quest the reader laughs and cries as Wade displays moments of genius, snarkily responds with humorous dialogue, and exhibits romantic failures that epitomize teenagers today.

I can honestly find zero faults with this book. I did have to look up some of the references about which Cline writes, but these were few and did not take away from the completeness of the novel. It was an absolute joy, both as a geek and 80’s baby, to learn and relive moments of the past. It was also sobering to read about the destroyed world in the novel and wonder just how far away our civilization is from such a reality.

Book Description:
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.  

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

Are you ready?

Daniel Tackett
Young Adult Librarian