My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I do not love the eighties and I do not play video games, but I love this book!
Ok, I get that it’s a tiny bit slow to start. It initially put me off when I tried to read it on my kindle, and I had to try again from a real book.
I also get that no one person, especially as young as Wade, could ever have watched and played as much TV and video games as Wade has. But it’s fantasy, and it’s at least a little bit feasible. Move on.
From a writer’s perspective, this had one of the greatest introspection moments I’ve ever encountered. A beautiful 10-14 page detail of how down the character is feeling, what he’s doing to try and compensate, and how the story is still progressing forward (chapters 19-20). Thank you, Ernest Cline, for that if nothing else.
But more importantly, from a reader’s perspective, this was tense, gripping, and continually flowing forward. This is world-creation at its best. Cline has thought of everything. He must have spent years immersed in his own head living and breathing this to get it so right.
And I’ll go so far as to say, if you can’t find something in this that makes you say ‘You’re kidding?! Someone else remembers that too?!’ then you need to watch more tv – you’ve missed out somewhere! Here’s a writer who has an opinion on Ladyhawke, or who can make me reminisce about Galaga (and I don’t play, remember), who knows what the Kobayashi Maru is, and who quotes one of the best lines from one of the best movies ever: ‘My God. It’s full of stars.’ Even Blue Monday gets yet another remix.
Cline’s ‘red herrings’ are as brilliant as his twists. When Wade was contacted by the bad guys, I was stressing. I knew exactly where Wade was going wrong and what he shouldn’t do (how wrong was I!) but other crazier things kept intervening and that stress became so tiny in the scheme of bigger things.
The layers within layers are absolutely incredibly mastered. If you thought Inception did it well, Ready Player One will knock your socks off. Wade enters the OASIS virtual reality world, goes through a gate into another world, and another, before disappearing into an immersive video game. And still remembers to come out for dinner.
And on top of all that, the story was fun and enthralling, and the theme was important and relevant. This is one book I’m happy to have given a second go. Great read!