I recently read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, after having borrowed the book from my boyfriend during my last visit. I had heard of the book not only from him but from mutual friends who had read it as well. They all had glowing (spoiler free) reviews of the book and it had certainly been on my radar for some time. But, what finally made me get my butt in gear was the fact that the novel is being made into a movie. The movie is slated to come out in 2018 and I certainly did not want to wait until the last minute.
Now, as I mentioned above, there are plenty of reviews out there for this book. One more is probably not needed, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the book anyway. This will also be a spoiler free review, despite there probably being a lot of reviews out there with spoilers by this point as well. I’ve always believed its important to avoid spoilers no matter how long after something has been released into the world. Take Game of Thrones for example. The show is halfway through it’s 7th season and I have never seen a single episode. Yet I have not seen, read, or heard any major spoilers. I decided long ago that I would wait until the show was over to finally to catch up, all the while expertly avoiding major spoilers. So long story short, there will equally be no spoilers from me.
Any book that references Oingo Boingo in the first few pages is a book for me. I’ve been a fan of Danny Elfman since I first watched Nightmare Before Christmas in high school. I know, I was really late with discovering that as well. But I have loved the movie and Jack Skellington ever since. For those who may not know, Danny Elfman was the singing voice of Jack. It was shortly thereafter that I delved into his former (by that time) band, Oingo Boingo. I had completely forgotten that Dead Man’s Party was an Oingo Boingo song, it had been some time since I had heard it. Now I will admit, I did stop reading the book to fall into an Oingo Boingo rabbit hole on Youtube. But in my defense, I was at work when I started reading the book and I had only planned to read a little bit of it anyway, just to start it. On that day, our work system was being upgraded leaving a bit of downtime. But, I did still have some smaller projects to work on and Oingo Boingo certainly helped pass the time.
Once I really dove into the book, I enjoyed every page of it. Even when I wasn’t familiar with all of the old school video game references, the references I did know certainly made up for the deficit. It also prompted me to watch a movie I had not seen yet, WarGames, starring Matthew Broderick. It’s a Broderick movie that had completely slipped by my radar for some reason. Whereas Ladyhawke, and of course Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, did not. But apart from this second minor distraction, I let nothing further deter me from finishing the book. Well, apart from finding the time to spend reading the book. While it may have taken me longer to read it than it probably should have, that is in no way a result of the content. It’s an amazing book.
The many, many great references aside, this book has a fascinating future setting and storyline unlike any other that I have come across. The unique characters make it easy to become invested in their lives, especially that of the main character and his friends. The book also takes a form of technology and makes it a part of everyday life for the world represented within it’s pages. The technology being VR (virtual reality, but on a massive scale. It’s funny though to think, the real world has made giant leaps in the way VR is used and commercialized for today’s consumers. A world like in the book is not too far fetched, especially when it comes to full immersion VR, which is both frightening and astounding. Just a couple weeks ago, I got the chance to try out a friend’s VR goggles. They had it set up at a party for anyone to try and play around with. They had it set to Google Earth. Using the hand controls, you could navigate the world and then zoom down to a specific place. The detail and clarity was so impressive that it felt like I was standing in a different country, instead of my friend’s office space. It’s incredible how far we have come with VR technology.
Now with that being said, my overall opinion of the book is to give it five stars out of five. I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those people of the Generation X and older Millennials who remember what it’s like to grow up in the 1980s. Of course, that is not to say that this book would be lost on a younger audience. The references may have been plucked from the 80s, but that shouldn’t stop the younger generations from seeking out this book for it’s amazing story. The main characters in the book are far removed from that particular era and have learned everything they know about these popular references from their version of the internet. It’s no big leap that today’s youth could and can easily do the exact same thing. My three year old niece can navigate a smart phone better than I could when I got my first smart phone at the age of 21. So I would not say this book couldn’t easily be read by teens interested in a sci-fi adventure set in an alternative world.
Regardless of when you were born, go out and get a copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. You will not regret it. Now all I have to do is wait for the movie, which is slated for a March 30, 2018 release.