Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: Ready_Player_One

Ready_Player_One is a sci-fi/video-game novel set in the not-to-distant future. The real world has been thoroughly trashed by humanity's continued expansion, and so most people spend all their time logged into a virtual 'world' called OASIS. Then the guy who created OASIS dies, and basicly leaves control of OASIS, as well as his vast personal fortune, to whoever can solve a sequence of puzzles he created (and based off of the eighties of his childhood) as an "Easter Egg".

The book follows one of the fanboys/'professional' egghunters named Parzival. (Well, he has a real-world name, too. It's Wade. But it doesn't really come up.) Years after the first announcement of the contest, Parzival stumbles on the first part of the easter egg, and accidentally tips off everyone else looking for it, including a major megacorporation conglomerate that wants to take control of the OASIS and basicly lock it up forever. Now Parzival and a couple of other 'gunters' are in a race to solve the entire puzzle chain before them.

I greatly enjoyed the book. It knows its popculture, and weaves it together expertly. I found the review-o-blurb inside the front flap kind of disappointing, though. Combined with the cover, it gave me the impression that a fair amount of the book took place in the real world, like James Bond, Bourne, or Spy Kids. But practically the whole thing, including most of the real action, is in OASIS. It does make a few stops out into reality though, and those are good.

[SPOILERS AHEAD] My biggest gripe with the book is actually with the handling of Aech. Aech is Parzival's best friend, at least at the start of the book. In the last fourth or so of the book, they meet up in the real world for the first time, and it turns out that instead of being a guy like her avatar, Aech is actually a girl.

Now, Parzival has fallen for another of their little save-the-world treasurehunting group, Art3mis. This makes her the designated love-interest. Which is fine, don't get me wrong; but at the reveal I was hoping that Aech could challenge that, and by extension the entire Trope. Instead, she's a lesbian. It's handled fairly well I thought, considering it's mostly irelevant and how close it is to the end of the book; but the missed opertunity bugs me, perhaps more than it should. [END SPOILERS]

RATING: A high eight out of ten, would read again.

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