Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
(Random House, 2011, 374 pages)
Set a few decades in the future Ready Player One follows our teenage protagonist Wade Watts as he tries to solve various online tasks in an attempt to be the lucky winner of a vast fortune. Wade’s world is a bleak one – life on earth has gone downhill dramatically and so people have taken to spending most of their time in an online virtual world accessed through the online gaming system known as OASIS. When James Halliday, one of the OASIS creators, died he revealed in his will that his fortune would be bestowed upon the individual who found the “egg” he had hidden within the OASIS. It could only be obtained by completing various tasks cleverly hidden in the online world that somehow related to Halliday’s life. Wade and a number of other OASIS users have made it their mission to find this egg. Unfortunately years have gone by and it appears no one has come close to even locating the first hidden task… that is, until Wade does.
The book follows Wade and the close friends he acquires within the OASIS as they try to find the egg before it (and its power) falls into the wrong hands. Based on the synopsis it didn’t really sound like a book I would pick up but it was well-reviewed and I heard one of our faculty members recommending it to another recently so I decided to give the audiobook a shot. It was different but I was still engaged and entertained. The narrator (Wil Wheaton) did a great job with the story. This would be an enjoyable read for a wide range of people, especially those who appreciate 80s culture (which is widely referenced throughout) and gaming. I also think it has great crossover appeal for the YA market.