I am not sure if it was by design or by chance, but Wil Wheaton as a cameo character and being the Narrator is great fun! this book satisfies my inner geek as well as my nostalgic heart!
This book is a mish-mash of different genres. Part treasure hunt, part trip down memory lane (if alive during the 80's, if not a new look into one of the greatest decades in history) this book will grab you and not let go.
A billionaire game designer with an obsession with the 80's decides to leave his sizable estate to whoever can follow the clues he left in the internet world he created called the Oasis that will lead the hunter to his ultimate prize. The first clue is hidden for 5 years until a young man finally gets the ball rolling...
I can't recommend this book enough for geeks or anyone that grew up in this amazing time.
A central theme.
Fleshing out the characters.
Stale dialogue, contrived plot points, missed opportunities with the world he created.
I'm not really sure what "the brothers" did for the story.
This book does a great job of listing the things the author likes. These are the sort of lists that could make a cool blog post referencing all of the neat 80's trivia to doll out his fan service. Unfortunately this is a work of non-fiction, and Cline doesn't make the reader think, or engage the reader in any meaningful way. It read's kind of like a fifth grade show-and-tell where you get a lot of "hey look at this it does this and this and then when you do this it does this and I think it's really neat."
That being said the narrative does provide an interesting premise, which promises for a thrilling adventure. Unfortunately this adventure is bogged down by long winded references, contrived plot twists and even less subtle clichés. There are brief glimpses into the fictional dystopia the author has created, and ironically even though the focus is on the virtual world I felt more compelled to further explore what was actually happening in the real one.
The protagonist is a self identified expert with everything in regards to his quest. His character ark runs a pretty flat line. He goes through a lot but doesn't really respond in any realistic manner. Sure, he's a social misfit but this can't excuse the poor writing that evades any sort of response from him. Some of the most pivotal moments on his path felt rushed and left me underwhelmed.
Other characters in the story are all one dimensional. In fact some of the writing feels like the writer hasn't met people of this gender, race or age at all. Some of the dialogue is laughably bad. At times I was questioning if this was all intentional, being some sort of satire on the tv shows/films of the eighties. But nope, this is straight up how the writer interprets these people and their interactions.
If you're a child of the eighties and love video games this could be a good nostalgia trip for you. But if you are looking for that there are probably way better resources. I heard this was originally written as a screenplay and that would probably make sense. It is written rather plainly and directly. This can be a good thing, in this case it just seems to be because of a lack of verbosity or narrative ability. With the subject matter, you would expect a lot of room for discussion on the ethical and social questions the premise presents, but we never really go there.
For a younger audience, say 12-16, there could be some merit in reading Ready Player One. The romance and adventure is similar to the fair you'll find in Twilight or The Hunger Games , although it is a less focused story with less engaging characters. BUT if you are a video gamer and vampires or teenage battledomes aren't your thing, this may be for you. The book does offer a trip and at times the ride is good, just be ready to grit your teeth as you wade through the virtual dogma.
I would have preferred if the story had done something more with the constant references to 80's culture besides just parroting the memes and expecting us to laugh along. Some level of analysis or critique would have been appreciated over 'HEY, THE SIMPSONS WERE A THING! LAUGH AT THE THING!' This was a decade full of changes in media, some positive, some negative, and I wish the book would have explored that.
Not at all. In fact, it's only because I like Sci-Fi that I powered through the book as long as I did.
Laid-back, sarcastic,...bland? Not the kindest thing, to say, but his characters all sounded the same.
All of the list scenes, and oh, are there many. Also, the chapter where he describes his new living arrangement in Columbus. And...actually, I would have left the book in ribbons.
I wish I'd liked this more, but the whole experience felt subpar. It was an 80's movie in an audiobook form, and let's just admit that 80's movies were not most well known for their plots. The tropes come thick in this tale, and even the inversions are obnoxiously obvious. I wanted to care about the characters, and the world, but at the end of the day, the book is as trapped in its virtual reality as the main character, and it only lazily swipes at anything beyond that.
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).
If you're not up for a very challenging listen, you may find Ready Player One worthwhile. My eight year old son found it very interesting, and enjoyed it very much. I was less impressed, but did find myself playing along with the main characters in their hunt for the egg. I found the personal relationships significantly less interesting.
The prize of the contest, for the characters, represents an escape from dystopia, but also serves as a decent allegory for common struggles of youth. However, it seemed to me to veer too close to validating geeks; something that has already been accomplished IRL.
Will Wheaton put in a professional performance, and even seemed to have fun taking part in a production which included himself as a minor player.
All in all, I found it entertaining if unrewarding. It won't change your life, but it may serve as escapism for a few hours, much like The Oasis itself...
A decent story but hurt a bit by the overly simplistic writing. Between the lists of X things from the 80s and the verbose descriptions of minor points the author glosses over some of the more important plot points (holes?). I'll admit there were a few times I waited in my car for a scene to play out but I was nearly always disappointed by the outcome of the big moments. Storyline suffers a bit from "chosen one" tropes but if you like games and puzzles at all I would recommend a listen. For the record I though Wheaton did a great job narrating the script, lots of emoting and decent pace but the volume changes were sometimes surprising (though usually approriate).
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This ended being one of those titles that (if you're a techy person) turns out to be a fun listen. The narrator did an excellent job in keeping you engaged throughout the novel and the story is interesting in nature. What causes the book to lose marks for me is the unfortunate fact that I've heard this kind of storyline before and it was done better (albeit a whole darker and a bit more goary).
Had I given this title a chance before being exposed to Daemon by Daniel Suarez, this would have potentially gotten 4 or 5 stars all across the board. This is not to say it is an exact carbon copy of the book but one can't help but sense the similarities between the two as it major drawback. I do get the saying that 'imitation is the best form of flattery' and even though both books veer in different directions, if there will be such room for comparison I'd expect that Ready Player One would have improved greatly on the idea instead of seeming like a watered down version of a great 3 part series.
Now with all that being said above, the book as a stand alone title (forgetting anything else I have ever read) was intricately written, ingeniously created and (for anyone who is even remotely interested in old school video games and or 80's pop culture) just plain fun. I wasn't really a big 80's buff and I don't like old school video games that much (old school for me started at Nintendo and Gameboy, not Atari though) BUT I still came off enjoying the book, it really is hard to dislike this book. I enjoyed the idea that so much effort and research was actually put into making this book and it really did speak to the inner geek/nerd in me.
As charming and nostalgic as the barrage of 80s cultural references were (initially), this story lacked any depth for me and actually became gut ringingly painful to finish. Sorry all, it's just my opinion. I'm sure some will love this book. It seemed Will Wheaton may have been bored as well as I've heard him narrate other stories with much more vigor (anything by John Scalzi). The focus on teen romance made me feel this book would be better suited to those who've not yet ventured down this path so it could still spark excitement & not a sense of cringing at the shallow teen angst.
I have never read the print version of RP1, but after hearing the sample of the audiobook, I initially assumed that it would be difficult to follow the audiobook and that I'd want the print version so I could research and revel in the nostalgia as I read. However, after caving and listening to it, I now have the opposite impression: the book is so verbose and lengthy I'd most likely have struggled to get through it all if I'd only had the paper copy. As audio, I could half listen when it was getting too detailed and slow for my enjoyment.
Ultimately I would, though not as a "must read." If your familiar with pop/nerd culture, particularly of the era, it's certainly fun. Additionally, you do not need to have grown up in the 80s to enjoy this novel, as many reviewers have suggested. I missed the 80s, but got enjoy them through my parents, friends, and curiosity, much the way Wade and the other players do in the novel. While the nostalgia buttons may not be mashed quite as hard, they certainly are pushed. If you like puzzles, I would especially recommend this. I was really gratified when I figured out the first key and the second gate before the main character did and I can imagine that other people obsessed with pop culture would feel vindicated by the idea that one day all thei trivia could lead somewhere, even if it's fantasy. I would, however, caution against looking too closely at the text. There are multiple inconsistencies and plot holes. I won't detail them here for the sake of spoilers, but there were enough that I gott a little angry at points. Also, the characters were kind of inconsistent and illogical at times, acting more with convenience to the plot than truth to their own characters. If you can roll with the punches, though, it's certainly a fun ride.
Wil Wheaton is a great speaker. He reads well and does a good job differentiating the voices enough that you can tell whose speaking. I was little miffed that he pronounced all the Japanese correct except the word "manga." Why are we still mispronouncing this so much? It's not hard. Why was he allowed to go the entire audiobook with that pronunciation? As a fan, of both him and manga, it rubbed me the wrong way.
I didn't have a particularly strong reaction to the book, except that the movie has the potential to be really, really cool if they do it right (like I hope they skip doing green screen for the OASIS and instead do computer animation. Except for the Japanese monster battles. People in costumes all the way!)
The writing of this book is actually pretty poor. It's fairly repetitive and amateurish. I feel like a stronger editing hand could have helped a lot. As an audiobook, though, it's failr easy to ignore these flaws.
Do like Wheaton as a narrator but Cline might not be my style
Chose this book based on it very numerous and great reviews. I am a child of the 80's and it sounded great. I never did get into role playing games and this book reminded me why. I didn't expect it to be so deep into the genre.
I gave the book a few hours but eventually gave up on it.
Not my cup of tea but I did like some of the 80's references.