Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This entire book is an unashamed homage to geek culture from the 80's. Since I _was_ a geek in the 80's, most of it is pretty nostalgic for me. Cline spends a chapter or two setting up the premise - that the ultra-rich creator of WoW's successor hides an easter egg in one of his games that will award his entire fortune to the first person who finds it, and that the guy is an introverted obsessive barely-functional Aspbergers case who is obsessed with obscure 80's culture. So when he finally trots out the riddle that is the first clue in this ultra-obscure treasure hunt, it was almost disappointing to immediately say to myself "Oh, _that_ D&D module". Some of the other references I only got after they were explained, but there wasn't a one that I didn't already know... (which says more about how much of a geek I am and was than about the relative obscurity of the info.)

But I think that it would still be a fun story even if you aren't as big a geek as I; Cline spins an engaging tale with badguys and compadres and dangers and villains and love interest. He paints a striking - if depressing - vision of the future, but gives our heroes hope in the end. Its a good read.

My biggest problem with the book was probably the ending. Do you ever read a book, and think you know how its going to end, and then the author completely surprises you and does something different? Well several times throughout this book Cline had me convinced that something was going to turn out one way, and then he surprised me by doing something _less_ interesting. (Does it count as a spoiler to say how a book _doesn't_ end? Well if you think so then spoilers below...)

I was sure at one point that the evil bad guy (Sorrento? I'm terrible with names) was going to turn out to be Aech. Aech's real story is also kind of interesting, but nowhere near as compelling as _that_ confrontation would have been. I was also convinced for a bit that Art3mis was going to turn out to be a paraplegic or something, and Wade would have to do some serious soul-searching to find out if his intellectual attraction would overcome his boyish sexual infatuation with her cute avatar. But no worries, she's cute as a button in RL too, so nevermind that. Its not that I hate what happens, its just that what he made me think was _going_ to happen seemed so much cooler...

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