"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.
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.
I would if they are into good yarns with very little substance.
Maybe the protagonist could run into a problem for which he has no solution (or even has to try a little bit to solve it).
Meh. Probably not.
I enjoyed listening to this book. It's a good yarn. If you like puzzle-solving, this is probably a book for you. But everything seemed so streamlined. The main characters all have the pieces fall into place at exactly the right time. And that process is only explained by "I watched this movie 15 times" or "Then I remembered this line from the almanac." It seemed almost too simple. And in retrospect, I just felt like it wasn't very fulfilling.
Bad for several main reasons
1. Tries to be political at the beginning in a lazy and boring way
2. Felt like it was written by a 12-year-old
3. Spends way to much time describing physical attributes a virtual world.
if you're a nerd, this is a great book. There are thousands of nerd subculture references, it's basically the whole point of the story. The fact that Will Wheaton read it, gives even more bonus points (unless you're a hard core Next Gen fan and you probably hate the kid!) If you're a gamer, you will LOVE THIS BOOK! I myself, am not. So every time I heard "my avatar" I got sucked out of the fantasy of it and remembered that our hero is a fat kid sitting in a van hooked into a VR rig. If that kind of thing doesn't bother you, you will definitely love it!
It was okay. It seemed like a book more for teens. It wasnt bad though. I liked the authors imagination of a whole different virtual world in the future. It got my imagination going. Definitely a gamer nerd book. But nerd is the new cool. I personally prep for the zombie apocalypse but gaming stuff is cool too.
On and on Ernest Cline goes about the 1980s. Ready Player One is a story about a child who enters a contest in a virtual reality to win a grand prize of billions of dollars. However, the first few pages build up a scene of a man dancing with extras from old 1980s movies with old 1980s music in the background. I couldn't finish the book because of the droning Ernest provides about how the 1980s are the only years that matter. There is a bit in the first few chapters where Wade, the protagonist, suddenly goes on a tirade about religion being a lie and how it caused him to have trust issues. He compares God to the likes of Santa and the Easter Bunny. It's completely out of left field and has no true meaning behind it.
I can't say much about the characters since I didn't listen to much.
If you enjoy nostalgia and video games from the '80s, this book is for you. Otherwise I do not recommend.
As an actual gamer, I found this book at first intriguing.
It is filled with cliche after cliche. The main character stumbles into every answer or has practiced something '150 times', so he never has a problem with anything.Perfect game of Pac-man (check), beating an AI in Joust on your first try (check), knowing every line of War games (check), infiltrate the largest computer corporation and hack their intranet (check). It get's to the point of being ridiculous. Every time the Wade had to do something, I literally rolled my eyes because I knew, "he's got this".
I don't know if I had a favorite scene. Most of the good was ruined 1/4 into the book.
Could it be a movie? Maybe. Most movies are cliche anyway, so why not?
It was painful for me to finish. I had to actually force myself to do it.
What couldn't have? There is so much wrong with this it defies logic! There's a dystopian future world where wars are waged over dwindling energy supplies, but everyone has plenty of power to run their haptic equipment and internet connections all day long. Food is in scarce supply, but Wade can lock himself in his apartment for months with plenty of pizza and other food delivered daily. There are shallow little diatribes that sound like they were lifted from /r/atheism or some other self-righteous subreddit. The narrator has, in 5 years, been able to master every arcade game and every text adventure and every console game (to the point that he can play a perfect Pac-Man game on a whim), watch every 80s movie and television show (to the point that he can recite every line of WarGames and the Holy Grail verbatim), and learn every bit of obscure trivia and lore about the 1980s and James Halliday, yet neither he nor anyone on the planet can figure out that a clue about "collecting the trophies" is a direct reference to Zork? The cliches that abound are flat and silly, like the "evil multi-national corporation" or the computer prodigy with Asperger's (that magic disease that makes those afflicted by it geniuses). And did society just stop in 2013? For a novel that takes place mid-century, there's no progress aside from the OASIS. No references to newer technology, updated media, different forms of communication or travel. Oh, right...there's a war over energy. It's a combination mcguffin / deus ex machina. Cline uses it to gloss over anything he can't explain, which is a lot.
How about giving the reader credit for having a modicum of intelligence and awareness? For a book that is ostensibly targeted at nerdy types, Cline doesn't think his audience knows anything about the subject matter. For example, when the video game "Joust" is introduced, Cline slams the brakes on and explains (in excruciatingly boring detail) the game and how it's played and that player one rides and ostrich and that player two rides a stork and blah blah blah. He's not a talented enough writer to work said explanation into the narrative. It almost feels like he pasted the game summary from Wikipedia into his novel. When he does make a meager attempt to work such exposition in as part of the story, it's awkward and annoying, like how the narrator hears a song and reflexively rattles off the artist, label and year it was released. There are a few moments where he gets it right (e.g. when one character throws an object against a "Revenge of the Jedi" poster, Cline refrains from discussing how said posters were a rare misprint), but they're few and far between. Someone commented that references are like jokes - if you have to explain them, then they aren't effective. Cline is like a comedian who tells a joke, then explains the joke (that everyone got) before anyone has a chance to laugh.
Wil Wheaton is a horrible actor and his hammy acting and exaggerated narration detract from an already weak story. When Wheaton reads lines like the oft-repeated, "It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen!" in his breathless sappiness, it grates the ears. There is an insufferable reference to Wheaton in the narrative which comes off as a bit of blatant sycophancy, exacerbated by the fact that Wheaton himself is the narrator and is lapping it up as he reads about himself. I dare anyone to listen to Wheaton read off the top ten scoreboard positions without screaming ("Number seven, I O I six four eight nine three six, one million, four hundred eighty thousand points") Ugh! Wheaton was chosen as a celebrity reader with a nerdy tie to the novel, but he is not talented and is certainly not a good narrator. There are other vocal artists with real talent that would have made this far more palatable.
Aech. The character adds nothing to the story, speaks in the most inauthentic voice in the novel (no small feat, seriously) and is used for a small, politically correct twist at the end. The "epic" exchanges that he and Wade have are boring and cringeworthy, especially when read by Wil Wheaton.
This is a story told by someone who lives on Reddit and has a wishful obsession with the days of his youth, but rather than crafting a wistful bit of nostalgia, he has spit out a harsh mishmash of misplaced references, endless lists, and copious exposition. One can only imagine the horror this was before an editor worked on it! I grew up in the 1980s and I know all the music, movies, shows and games referenced here, but this was not a fun little reminiscence. It was tedious and phony, like a kid who just watched a John Hughes marathon and is listing out the artists whose posters were on Ferris Bueller's wall. This could have been an enjoyable read. The concept of a massive Easter egg hunt is intriguing and working it into a virtual world is a great twist, but this is a orgiastic mess, full of empty references and contrived circumstances, signifying nothing.
Maybe if I where born in the middle of the 70:ies and not 1983 I would have enjoyed this book more. The story is some times thrilling and nerve wrecking but at large parts it becomes repetitive and a little dull.