Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

I read this book in the span of a few hours in one sitting and I found it pretty fascinating. It’s a pretty basic premise – future dystopian world in which the main character – a straight, white male feels “different” from everyone else and ends up being the savior of the planet. What sets it apart (or what’s supposed to set it apart) is that it’s chock full of references to ’80s American culture – video games, music, and TV shows. And the most of the plot is set inside a virtual reality game that most humans spend most of their time in (hence future dystopian world, the planet’s destroyed so everyone escapes into the VR world).

Right after finishing it I thought it was pretty great but now that a day has past and I’ve had a chance to digest, it’s not that great. I mean if someone understood all of the references, I can see how it would be 5/5 but I only understood a few of the references. And the basic premise I described above is exactly that – basic. Formulaic. White kid feels isolated from everyone and ends up becomes super special savior of the planet because he’s different and gains a love interest on the way (the main character is a teenager, after all). Plus the sheer impossibility of such a future takes away some of the shine. You definitely have to suspend a bit of disbelief to thoroughly enjoy the book. I can tell that if I was in high school I would have enjoyed the book a lot more but I’m older and not as easily impressed (but not old enough to have been alive in the ’80s and instantly recognize all of the references, which, as I said, would also have made the book more enjoyable).

Probably never going to reread this book. And I’m glad I rented it from the library instead of buying it.

Originally published on BookLikes on June 16, 2015.


One thought on “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  1. Ready Player One is one of my favourite books – one of the few books I have read more than once. I knew a lot of the references in the story because I lived through most of them (I’m from Halliday’s era), which may be half the reason I liked it so much.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the movie isn’t going to be dreadful, but having seen the leaked excerpts of the script, I’m not holding out much hope.


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