August 29, 2014

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Review)

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
First published: 2011
Add it: Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆

As an avowed geek, I couldn't just go past this book, but I was not sure if I'd like it. You see, what often happens when I read about technology is that I see how implausible it is, and it spoils everything for me. The drawbacks of being a programmer. So I'm always hesitant to pick up books set in a virtual reality or having a lot of computer stuff in them. But I've decided that millions of geeks can't be wrong, and took the risk :) Needless to say, I never once regretted it!

As you have probably heard, the plot revolves around the death of the creator of OASIS - a huge immersive MMORPG which has become the only solace of the humankind after some massive ecological disasters. In his will he tells that his fortune is to be passed to whoever finds the Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in OASIS. Given that the guy is a sociopath with a fixation on the 80th, the egg hunters have to study his areas of interest (which is everything from vintage text games to movies to music) for clues.

The author is clearly an expert on the retro stuff he mentions. I can't claim to know much about the 80th, because I'm too young for that, so I probably didn't catch half of the references while reading, but Cline's descriptions of the old pop culture phenomena are really accurate. I don't doubt he has played all the mentioned games himself. The structure and the rules of OASIS are also very believable, and I couldn't find any major flaws that would make me moan "come on, nobody would program THIS!"

The main character is of course a socially weird teenager whose interests and friends are all online. Of course, he finds the first clue and of course there is a girl. Well, at least her avatar is female. And of course there are bad guys with a lot of resources who are also immensely stupid. This probably gives you a good picture of the plot and anybody can figure out how the book ends :) But don't be too rush to judge! There are some unexpected plot twists, and it's gripping and believable, and it's still a pleasure to see that gun hanging on the wall firing exactly when you expect it to.

I would have gladly given it 5 stars if not for some minor plot inconsistencies that my obsessive nature just couldn't ignore.


Stuff which I had problems with:
1) Nobody could find the first clue for 5 years, and their only problem was that they couldn't figure out where to start searching. And the answer is so obvious it was the only thing I guessed on my own before the "big revelation" was made. Seriously? How is it even statistically possible that several million people haven't guessed something I figured out in 2 mins without any previous knowledge?? Could it be something really difficult instead?
2) Wade is a user. OK, he may be good at fixing hardware he finds in trash. But he's NOT a programmer. It's never mentioned that he is. HOW COME he became a brilliant hacker overnight just to break into a very well protected corporate network?? It's NOT possible!!! You can play games online really well, but that doesn't make you a network security expert
3) After their failure to get info out of Wade, why did they not threaten other scoreboard leaders? They knew where they lived, right? Instead they went to Japan and messed with the guy who was on the fourth position and was not a threat. It would be much easier to track Art3mis. Only the author had to keep the main hero's crash safe...
If you have some explanation for this, please share! :)


In my book:
A great book to make your geeky second (or first) nature happy! Recommended to anyone who has played a computer game at least once in his/her life :)


  1. I'm reading a book that I've already figured out how everything will end and resolve itself. It's a young adult novel, however. Middle grades, really, so I don't know that my being able to anticipate how the novel will progress is remarkable. I'm going to continue reading. Mostly because the voice is very strong and even enjoyable.

    1. I don't usually have problems with being able to predict what will happen in a book. If the writing is good, I don't care. Only if the book is about a treasure hunt or riddle-solving of some kind, then it can be kind of irritating, because it's supposed to be a revelation!


    Glad you enjoyed the book :) I don't remember everything fresh out of my head but I'll try to discuss your points.

    1. I think it was supposed to show the answer was too obvious to be figured out? I agree that with the amount of millions of people such a thing to happen is more than unlikely, but I think that was the point the author was trying to make, so I just went with it at the time.

    2. The parts where Wade becomes master hacker were weakest for me in the whole novel. I remember rolling eyes a bit, but overall it didn't take away much from the general enjoyment. It's future, who knows, maybe with technology having become such second nature for the whole population everyone has more skill and knowledge on programming by default. But as I said I wasn't that happy with how this went either.

    3. Not sure about this one, maybe the others had put more effort into security? I mean that one guy lived on the road (don't remember the name now - the best friend type of "guy") - that itself is like more secure than being stranded in one location, I suppose. Not sure about Art3mis, I wish I remembered more details right now. Anyway I don't think going to Japan was that much different for them than going to anyplace in America, what with money and connections and all.

    1. Haha, I was EXPECTING your spoilery comment :)
      1) OK, I can probably deal with it if this was author's intention from the beginning to make it very obvious... But still. Statistics don't lie :)
      2) Well, I don't say it was a MAJOR problem for me, but these small things can spoil the book a bit. IDK about this future state of technology... Using stuff and being able to code it or hack it is two very different things, and it's not likely to change soon, as programs are becoming more and more user-friendly :)
      3) Well, I can understand why they didn't catch the "best friend on the move", but the girl... She was totally unprotected AND she was first on the leaderboard after the second key. Why not go after her if they are so evil and unscrupulous??
      Ah, so many questions, it's good to be able to discuss :) I've recommended it to my little brother who is 18, so I'm pretty sure he'll love it and we can talk with him about it too

  3. Yes, the 80s material is all dead on, and the ending puzzle is exactly the right one. It may have been an advantage for you, though, not to know all of it. I was an 80s kid and I felt like I was trapped in a waterfall of references that never let up! It was too much.

    1. Haha, I can see how the amount of references can be overwhelming, but I still wished to know more about certain things. But I appreciate that it was not necessary for understanding the book, as everything is very well explained

    2. Well feel free to ask me anything; I watched a lot of Silver Spoons and played a lot of Galaga... :D

    3. I don't think asking will help here: you need to experience it firsthand to understand :D But thanks for offering :)

  4. I really want to read this one, but I'm going to listen to the audiobook that's narrated by Wil Wheaton

    1. Oh, I've heard about this audiobook, and I think it must be great! I mean, he's the proper guy to read it! There's a place in the book where Will himself is mentioned, so look out for how he reads it! :)

  5. I really enjoyed the book, was not smart enough to notice these flaws. I actually listened to it. this has to be the best audiobook EVER, seriously the narrator is incredibly good!

    1. Was it the one narrated by Wil Wheaton? I've heard it's awesome! It's a pity I'm not good at listening to books, there are so many great ones

  6. I'm usually not a sci-fi fan at all but I could not put this book down. I just finished it and I almost want to pick it back up and start reading it all over again.
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