I am bereft, but happy.
This is the first time, for a long time, perhaps even over a year I have finished reading a book, and felt a physical sense of loss that the characters are leaving my life. Never have I had this so intensely as when I was a young teenager reading Harry Potter, but this was damn close.
Ready Player One is easily the best book I have read since the wonderfully immersive Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. I can’t get over the fact that this is Earnest Cline’s first book – imagine sitting with a story like that inside your head waiting to burst forth. Incredible.
The story’s protagonist is the wonderfully introverted, geeky, believable Wade Watts, the setting a dystopian, but believable future Earth in the year 2044 where unemployment and poverty is high, fossil fuels are depleted and most people spend their lives logged into the OASIS, a fully 3D fantasy environment where people can work, attend school, slay dragons and generally lead virtual lives. There are no respawns, death means death and if you die you must create a new Avatar.
I’m not going to outline the whole plot, the book has been reviewed by many more skilled than I, and I find writing reviews pretty boring. I just wanted to say that I profoundly connected with the book and the protagonists on an emotional level, as did both my parents who read it first. I can only imagine how awesome this book is for people like my parents who lived through the 1980s, as 80s pop culture is a big focus of the plot and references to films, retro games and music are peppered liberally throughout the book.
My Dad described this book as ‘easy’ and in many ways he wasn’t wrong. The plot line is challenging in the way it makes you think about humans, the internet and the environment, but the writing isn’t hard to follow. You will not find a single paragraph where you find your mind wandering, every sentence is beautifully crafted and completely compelling.
Everyone should read this book. Non geeks will enjoy it, geeks will love it.