Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Release Date: August 16th 2011

Publisher: Broadway Books

Genre: Dystopia



A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 

On the blog today, I bring you the review for Ready Player one by Ernest Cline.  I like to bring a variety of reviews both good and bad.  This one won’t be a good one, but I like to be honest and give my thoughts and feelings because first and foremost, I do this for the readers. 

This book originally appealed to me for the geek culture and 80’s reference that the book was based on.  I love a geek infested read but I was left feeling on the most part unimpressed throughout most of the book.  Now, I know what you are thinking, that this a majorly hyped book, it was made into a movie and everyone seems to love it, but I just didn’t.  Is it just me?  Is there something I’m missing?  I don’t know but I seem to be in the minority.  I found the story to be on the whole forgettable, the writing lacked any real depth and it was just a bland storyline.  I truly believe that most of the books success comes from its references to 80’s pop culture.  For people of a certain age, the 80’s is a golden age gone by.  It was the time when we were on the cusp of breakthrough technology, but they still had that wonder of playing outside, a life of less danger, more security and more freedom.  It makes various references to video games and fantasy novels, personally I think living in the now has brought us the very best in video games (4k definition) and Fantasy novels.  We really are spoiled in regard to the advancement of technology.  Although the pop culture was talked about it didn’t seem to be really leading anywhere or contribute to the big end. 

It’s the year 2044 and the world as we know it has fallen into a dystopian reality.  Its ugly, its unsafe and you really wouldn’t want to be around for when this happens.  Wade Watts (protagonist)  spends his days away from this hell in the OASIS ( like a virtual reality computer system – think of the matrix).  You can be anyone you ever dreamed of being,  you can be any hero you’ve ever wanted.  The one and only thing that Wade dreams of being is the ultimate lottery winner that has been expertly hidden by its now dead creator, James Halliday.  By all accounts he seems to be a computer genius and it has been so well hidden that no one has even gotten close to finding it.  It’s not a case of just browsing until you get lucky – it’s a case of completing puzzles and gaining keys, getting clues to finding gates.  It’s all very complicated stuff.  The lucky winner that manages to pull all of this off will inherit Halliday’s entire fortune and gain masses of power into the bargain.  I wanted to love this, but it was just so bad.  Cline was relying on the pop culture references to hold up a story that was weak and hollow.  The ending was inevitable and boring.  The main character was a serious bellend.  Constantly he thought he was above himself, had a very elitist self-worth kind of attitude.  If ever a character needed an attitude adjustment it was him.  There was no empathy for other people suffering terrible things whilst he just played computer games whilst needing a pat on the back every two seconds. 

Have you read this one, if so what did you think? Let me know in the comments.

30 thoughts on “Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  1. THANK YOU. I also didn’t like this book. I found myself frustrated a lot while reading because I was born in the 90s and didn’t understand half the references, and I found the main character to be such a Mary Sue that I didn’t feel any suspense when he was in peril. It felt like Cline was using references to pad his book and appeal to his audience without putting in the effort to write better material.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was born 87 and I didn’t get them either. I just felt the references were the only thing keeping it afloat. It was just a hot mess. Thanks for taking the time to read my review.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely get that! I read Ready Player One when it wasn’t as popular so I didn’t feel the hype. I tend to feel the same way with over-hyped books which is one of the reasons I have yet to read The Cruel Prince.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I ride the hype train for it. But I’ve been on your side of the coin, too and it is never easy to not love a hyped book. Your review did a great job.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I watched the movie and loved that. But the movie had also newer geekish references so I might be biased. I have this book on my shelf but I heard more people say that the story wasnt that good. Ohwell Ill find out myself eventually.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh goodness yes!!! The concept was SO GOOD but the execution so bad!!
    I was born in the 80s and didn’t get hardly any of the references- I think they were incredibly niche and in that smug superior way of them being obscure like you’re in the club or you’re not.
    I agree the protagonist is a complete and utter doorhandle and Art3mis deserves better. Incredibly I couldn’t believe that the film was WORSE than the book!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve been super iffy about reading Ready Player One and your review reassures me that it’s OK to NOT read it! LOL! I love how honest you are in your review and thanks again for virtually giving me permission to skip this book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always hesitate hitting publish on a negative review for that reason. Sometimes I’m so passionate (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) others like to skirt around it lol. Thanks for reading my review.

      Liked by 2 people

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