Monday, November 6, 2017

Obligatory Ready Player One Review

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All the kids are reading it! And here I am, late to the party as usual. Actually, I wasn't even usual.

Ready Player One has generated the kind of phenomenal interest few could have predicted. The book seems to appeal greatly to 80s nostalgics and romanticizers. There are a few people from my generation who wish they'd never left the 1980s. There are also a few millennials who wish they could've lived it. The former seem to be forgetting and later is apparently unaware of how shitty the 80s were at times, what with the threat of Russians invading Red Dawn style or the fear of getting nuked out of existence in a quick and decisive WWIII. Plus neon and big hair sucks!

Ready Player One revels in Atari, Dungeons & Dragons, early computer games, and 80s movies (leaning heavily on sci-fi), so this is ALL UP in my wheelhouse. I should be going gah-gah over this. I admit, I did enjoy the romp down memory lane for a while, but fairly soon the light plot wore on me.

This book reads like a movie in which the kids save the day, very much like War Games. This is all just a game as a matter of fact. The threat of avatars dying does not hold the same tension as a person losing their life. That's not to say author Ernest Cline forgot to add the human-life threat, it's just not there for some of the book's biggest moments. In that way it reminded of Ender's Game.

The main character plays and wins the video games I grew up on in order to save the day. I should have been loving this book. But most everything comes too easy for him. He's great at this game. He gets lucky, because he just happened to have recently studied/mastered the next game thrown at him in this contest to become rich and rule the virtual world. The motivations that book this book didn't move me. In the end, it's not bad, but I just don't understand the raging hype for this one.

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