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Ready Player One

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline http://www.book-brats.com/ready-player-ernest-cline-review/It isn’t often that you come across a book tailored to geeks and nerds that isn’t a new Star Wars encyclopedia or the Making of The Hobbit. Without the intervention of friends who brought this book to my attention, I would have never considered picking up READY PLAYER ONE. And I am clearly a big nerd – I have Star Trek toys, Farscape comics, a replica of Jayne’s hat from Firefly, and the complete series of Battlestar Galactica on DVD including the extra DVDs. Yeah, I’m a pretty big nerd, even though my nerdom is science fiction more than video games and obscure 80s movies.READY PLAYER ONE is set in the near future where a virtual game platform called the OASIS has taken over life as we know it. People go to school on it, work on it, spend their entire lives on it, and thousands of people have dedicated their lives to finding the egg – the prize of a quest set by the dying founder, James Halliday, with billions of dollars and control of OASIS as the reward. The main character, Wade, also known as Parzival, is an 18 year old “gunter”, a kid who has basically given up a semblance of a real life in exchange for questing for the Egg, but since he’s poor, lives with an aunt that hates him, and stuck pretty much where he is, his chance of success is low, until fate gives him the one clue that he needs…Let me just start by saying that yes, this is a book directed at geeks of all types. Science fiction, gaming, 80s pop music, 80s teen movies, 80s television, 70s anime… Did I mention gaming? Yes, this entire book is basically the tale of a giant game composed of little games – MUDs (if you’re ever in the market for a good MUD, I know them all sadly), console games, MMOs, computer games, arcade games. Wade is an expert, and Ernest Cline is an expert at guiding us through this maze of games and pop culture and weird trivia needed to solve Halliday’s quest. Weaving all this information and bits and pieces together, and having the reader make sense of it when they might not have seen WarGames 500 times is hard, but Cline keeps track of everything and guides the reader along the story with ease and precision.Wade is an amazing, complex character that you can’t help but root for. This kid, in a desperate search for a better life, has basically sacrificed reality (school, friends, a life, etc) for the hunt. He’s made friends on the inside – his best friend Aech is the first, a snarky, bold character famous for his skills, eventually joined by the famed girl geek Art3mis and Japanese brothers Daito and Shoto. All are on the search for the same thing – the Egg that will grant them control. And all are being hunted by the same organization, the IOI, egg hunters led by the evil, manipulative Sorrento.This book had heart, and at its heart was a message – don’t let fantasy overtake your reality. I mean, it’s a message I could sure use. I spend waaaaay too much time surfing the web or playing games. And the world building in this book is spot on and BELIEVEABLE. I can really see something like OASIS taking over our world, but at the same time, I can feel myself wanting that to happen. The possibilities of OASIS are endless and just seeing all this with my own eyes would be amazing. (And yes, Warner Brothers does have the film rights, but this book seems like it would be very hard to translate to screen.)I’ll let you explore the book yourself to find every geeky nuance and humorous reference. Let me just say that this book has almost everything you could look for – fun, action, excitement, romance, nerdiness, humor, tension, and uniqueness. It’s not the best written book on the block, but Cline has clearly put heart and soul into this to create the ultimate geek novel. I just wish that maybe the ending had been more climactic with more stakes on the line than just the Egg. It was almost disappointing, rendering my rating down a notch, but this book was almost perfect on every level, and a book I would wholeheartedly recommend.VERDICT: Only brought down by a slightly dull ending, READY PLAYER ONE is a geeky tour de force – great characters, a great plot, and so many pop culture references that your little nerdy eyes will explode. If you are a geek, this book is for you. Also, this guy wrote the screenplay for FANBOYS. This book is a step up!