I enjoyed listening to this book a great deal. It's fun, light reading, and well-narrated by Wheaton who has the ability add the right sarcastic or nerdy-superior inflection to his voice at any given time. I suspect that the audience for this book will be somewhat narrow, although it's perfect for that audience. And which audience is that? Well, people in the 20-40 year age range that grew up during or shortly after the time period in question, I can't speak for current teens but I doubt they would like it as it's not their pop culture being referenced. Also they will tend to be people from that generation that enjoy referential humor, pop culture, know who people like Cory Doctorow or Steve Wozniak are, have played video games, MMORPGs, and have probably grown up on Tolkien, Pratchett, PK Dick, and other sci-fi and fantasy authors. So basically, it's going to appeal to adult nerds, like me, or imagine the cast of the Big Bang Theory reading it (minus Penny and Sheldon may refuse because Will Wheaton is his nemesis). If that doesn't in any way describe you, it's likely going to fall on truly deaf ears, as it would be pointless for the author to waste exposition on explaining every reference. If he had to do that, the wrong person is reading the book, and the fun of having referential humor in a book would go to waste. I could only imagine my parents trying to read this, listening for about 20 minutes, then turning it off, confused, wondering what MMORPGs are or why Atari games stir up nostalgia in their kids. I suspect it would sound like a different language to them.
Anyway, with those caveats, I can recommend it, 5/5 stars for that audience as it's a great little story, and Cline shows some seriously l33t knowledge about some random stuff. And it's a blast how these bits of seemingly useless wisdom become critical to the characters who to solve basically an involved MMORPG quest must become masters of a culture that isn't even their own anymore
From Austen to zombies!
This book has been coming up in my recommendations for a long time, but I always skipped it. When I listened to the Audible sample it sounded as if the book's world-building was terrible or even non-existent (which is because it's not from the beginning of the book!) Further, descriptions of the book's 80s nostalgia were kind of a turn-off: as a member of Gen X, I'm not always very nostalgic about the 80s.
But I had a credit, and I like Wil Wheaton--so when I read the Audible Essentials review of Ready Player One, I thought I might as well try it. Boy. Was I ever wrong about what this book would be like!
In 2045, Wade Watts is a child of the new era, a teenage orphan living with his aunt and a bunch of other people in a derelict trailer. The planet is a dump and most people are jerks, or worse. The only place he can find peace is OASIS, a Second Life-style digital game environment where he attends school, goes on adventures, and hides from the drag that reality has become (and where Wil Wheaton and Cory Doctorow are elected officials!) The game's creator has been dead for several years, leaving behind an in-game easter egg hunt: the winner gets his entire multi-billion dollar fortune! But nobody's had any luck. Until now.
This book wasn't much like anything else I've read recently: it's part mystery, part quest-legend story, part love story, part fairytale, and part dystopian-future novel. I was afraid it might be depressing, but it wasn't--not at all. Events moved quickly, and the humorous tone kept me laughing out loud. The nostalgia itself turned out to directed mostly toward geeky stuff that I remember fondly, like arcade games and old computers. Puzzling out what might happen next was an additional bonus--I was so proud of myself when I got a crucial reference before Wade did!
Wil Wheaton does a great job on narration. The only thing I was a little disappointed with--it caused me to knock off a star--was the character development. Wade, and especially his friends, come off as somewhat two-dimensional. Perhaps that's because the events of the book are such a wild ride. I could not stop listening! I ran the batteries out in my headphones and was forced to dig through a junk drawer to find an analog pair so I could keep going. That's how determined I was to find out what would happen next.
Overall I recommend this book if you are looking for an exciting and fun science fiction adventure that's also close to home. If you recognize the headline for this review, you're definitely going to like Ready Player One.
The first bit of this book is solid likely-near-future dystopian sci-fi, and this aspect of the book is thankfully revisited intermittently throughout. Most of this book, however, is the author pretty much reading aloud from a encyclopedia entry on 80's pop culture. If you are between 35 and 45 years old, and you are (for some reason) endlessly entertained by being reminded of long-forgotten consumer goods and video games, this book is for you. If you want something transient and/or compelling, look elsewhere.
I'm That Guy
I have spent the past 6 months just trying to find another book like this one to no avail. I have hundreds of books on Audible being a member for years and doing a ton of driving and I absolutely loved this book. I have suggested it several friends and relatives and it has yet to disappoint.
It's your David -vs- Goliath type story and it's chock full of excitement, twists, humor, innocence and nostalgia. If you play any sort of MMORPG than you will definitely relate, but even if you don't it will not disappoint. Society has turned semi-apocalyptic due to oil reserves run out, education has gone virtual created by a multibillionaire who made his money through the worlds most popular MMORPG. He dies and leaves his fortune to whomever can find the golden egg. This is a multi step process and is nearly impossible to accomplish. Success on the path though, just may have very real and very mortal consequences.
Do not pass this one up. Trust me when I say this is not a gamers only book. I am a 40 something guy. The only gamer knowledge I have is when I try to play along with my teen kids. I promise you won't be disappointed.
I have heard it is "davinci code" - "religion" + "80's trivia" and in a lot of ways I agree this assessment. Only I think the character development is better in ready player one.
I have listened to multiple books read by Wil Wheaton. I like his style. He puts the right emotion and emphasis in the right place.
Overall I think he has always helped make the book better when I have listened.
I can't choose one. The entire book has you sitting on edge wondering what will happen next. At the same time it intermixes enough character developement that really makes you care about the main character.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone. I have finished a lot of audible books (Ready player one is number 111 for me.) and I have to say ready player one is one of my favorites. Definitely in my top 10, probably top 5 for me.
The only part I didn't like was the opening of the book where in my opinion it was a lame attempt at what happens with global collapse due to mans abuse of nature. I little hippie liberal to me. But the author did not use it as a soap box and it did not stay that way for long. Instead the author only used it to set up the perfect universe for an amazing book and moved on with a great story.
Ready Player One is an outstanding novel. It has a lot of heart and Mr. Cline creates a unique virtual world inside a dystopian universe. I really enjoyed this book and it's one of the best stories I've listened too in quite a long while, and one of the most complete worlds I've ever listened to all contained in one novel.
Will Wheaton's narration was top notch and he was the perfect narrator for this story. He lends his voice to Wade perfectly. His voices for the supporting cast also fit each character.
I really enjoyed the scene's leading up to acquiring the first key. I think the world building for both the universe and the Oasis were the strongest points in the novel.
No, but only because I wanted it to last. I got through the first half in two or so weeks, but then I burned through the second half in a few days. It was a lot of fun and since I grew up in the 80's and am familiar with a lot of the geek pop culture, I was able to get many of the subtle references.
This is a really good book, and I recommend it to anyone, espicially those into geek culture and 80's pop culture. There are a lot of references in this book, and they're all explained so that anyone can understand the book. The biggest weakness of the book is how the action is told. It's written more like a screen play and we're told what happened instead of living the action with the character. It does take some away from the story, but that's made up with a lot of heart, character and plot development.
Ex-military high school math teacher.
I may just get the Diamond Level Repeat Badge off of this book alone. Its a wild ride and I loved every minute. Ernest Cline just made it on to my Top Ten Leaderboard.
Wade - He is genuine character who I can see myself in along with bits of nearly every 80s and 90s protagonist hero. Yeah its that crowded in here, but you'll see it too when you read it.
The epic final battle
Yes and no. I found myself completely engaged and loving it, but 12 hours in, I realized how close the end was coming up and I paused the rest to listen to it over a couple days so it would last just a little longer.
I would like to see more from this author, and if possible, a sequel to this book.
This book is captivating, a vivid description of a dystopian world in which the multinationals have won, global warming and over-population has made the world nearly uninhabitable, and everyone lives in the virtual reality of the ultimate MMORPG (massively multi-player role playing game) called the Oasis. As always, humans are looking for a way to escape from reality and so the Oasis has become the escape. The inventors, who appear to be a bit more like Bill Gates than he would probably want to admit, are reclusive and socially awkward themselves, so they built a video-game in which the social is just one more part of the game to master and can be changed much more easily than the real person inhabiting the character. When one of the inventors dies, his will stipulates that his wealth, and the control of the Oasis, is hidden as a series of quests. The quests are hidden somewhere, but no one knows where, and as the Oasis is a virtual universe of hundreds of thousands of worlds inhabited by both real and virtual people, no one will stumble on it by accident, so an intense study of the things the inventor loved is seen to be the most important clues to where they might be hidden. And what he most loves is the 80's in all of it's minutiae.
The major multi-national corporation, who wants control so that they can "properly monetize" the Oasis, has been trying to cheat its way into a win, without success. No one has even found the first key, but the protagonist, born in the days after the Oasis was born, and having a teenager's tenacity and a case of social awkwardness that echoes the inventor's own, has figured something out. Others will try to get that at any means possible, even if that means murder - and not just of a character.
We started this on a long car trip. We ended up being so engrossed in the book that we were unwilling to stop until the book ended, which meant that we ended up driving until 4AM because when we finally got to the end of the book we were in the middle of nowhere. If you love the 80's video games and culture, this will bring you back to the time, and I confess that having grown up in the 80's I still didn't remember all the little things that he brought up. I wish the book had an accompanying CD of the music to play during the important parts of the book. It will make you want to run out and buy a copy of Ms. Pac Man, just to see if you too can get a perfect game. And if you owned an original copy of the Fiend Folio, you will probably miss the camaraderie of the old fashioned D&D game, listening to this.
The narrator is brilliant, of course, and even though he doesn't change voice to indicate the various character it is clear somehow who is speaking. Wil Wheaton is one of our favorite voices to listen to. It has slow spots, but not many, and it has sudden turns of the plot that you do not expect, but this is really an adolescent coming of age novel, and a search for what community and morality are when we no longer interact directly. I recently read that the average MMORPG player spends an average of 20 hours a week in play, which is far more than we do any other single activity than work. This is a world that is an exaggeration of the connection we have with our Avatars now, and easily imaginable. I cannot imagine what would come after this book, but would gladly follow along should he decide to write it.
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...
Listens while running
This is not a perfect book, whatever my rating may indicate. Some readers will, rightly, be put off by the lists of videogames, writers, books, movies, tv shows, arcade games, and etc. throughout the book. Some readers will, rightly, point out that while the book continually says it's about 80s pop culture, it includes many references from the 70s, 90s, and 2000s. (This perhaps actually says more about our need to put things in boxes than it does about the writer/writing.) Some readers will, rightly, want a bit more critical reflection on the dystopian world of the novel. (These readers should immediately check out Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood.)
However, this reader found this book to be pure entertainment with excellent narration. I invented excuses to do things like mow the lawn or go on extra walks with my dog so I could keep listening. I certainly understand and even agree with much of the criticism I've seen of the book, but ultimately, it doesn't claim to be a Great Book that will change the course of the western literary tradition; it's a fun, futuristic novel that will stroke the right touch of nostalgia for anyone with even one tiny bit of geek hidden away somewhere.