Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Genre: YA Science Fiction
"In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."
EC slowly introduces us to this futuristic world and the state of the human race. I'm unclear on whether the human race turned to OASIS as a result of the state of the world, or the world came to its current state because they all abandoned it for the OASIS. Either way, the real world sucks in 2044. And everyone, main character Wade Watts included, wants to escape it. Bleak. When the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday dies, he leaves his vast fortune to whoever could win his game within a game, everyone knew and everyone wanted his fortune. So our hero, Wade Watts, immediately joins the ranks to search for the prize.
I absolutely love, love, love that James Halliday is obsessed with the 80s. Everything about the 80s -- the movies, the music, the video games (of course), and his contest inspires a dedication to the decade 60 years later. It's phenomenal and it's fantastic. It's even better because we, the readers, can understand the references!
Ready Player One also really makes me want to delve into gamer culture, something that has always been completely off my radar and something I would have never thought of as intriguing. Fun and entertaining, of course, but it didn't lure me in with complexities and cultures -- truthfully I had no true appreciation! But you better believe I do after this.
I really liked EC's characters. There was essentially two sides to every character: real world vs. the OASIS avatar. Some characters' sides were very similar while others were completely different. You can be anyone you want to be inside the OASIS, and no one will ever know unless you choose to tell them. This idea is intoxicating; and especially for our main characters to be teenagers, you can expect some disparities in the sides. These dual characters really highlight what everyone experiences between who we think we are and who we think we want to be in a more concrete fashion.
Ready Player One has some serious action and the pace is pretty intense. Everything is a puzzle within a puzzle and even if you think you know what's going on, you'll still get hit with some surprises. But seriously, sit down and buckle your seat belt, because it is one hell of a ride!
5 epic stars out of 5 stars.
Thought you ought to know:
First of all, it's going to be a movie and it's being DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG. I am so excited about this and I cannot wait for this. Read more.
Second, there is some pretty wicked fan art out there (disclaimer: none of these lovely works are mine, and I linked to the original source).