In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
After hearing so much praise for Ready Player One I finally downloaded the audiobook so I could listen to it while I was working. I figured it would be entertaining and make my sometimes tedious days go by much more quickly, and boy was I right! From the very first chapter introducing Wade and Halliday’s easter egg I was entranced. At first, I didn’t really like Wade (the protagonist) all that much because he seemed so negative and was kind of dampening my enthusiasm, but I grew to like him once the egg hunt began.
If you haven’t read this book you should be aware of a few things, namely that the book is set in a virtual reality video game and the real world is becoming more and more irrelevant. A large percentage of daily life is taking place within the Oasis game including commerce, jobs, schooling, and daily social interaction. The day that the famed designer of the Oasis dies, everything and everyone is shaken by the momentous announcement that runs- James Halliday’s last will and testament. In this, he announces that he has hidden an Easter egg within the game and whoever finds it will inherit his fortune, which is a vast sum of money. This triggers a subculture called the Egg Hunters, or Gunters for short, to arise within the Oasis culture and this is where our protagonist Wade Watts fits. He has been studying 80’s pop culture and video games like it’s a full time job ever since Halliday’s death and he is practically a world class expert.
The whole plot of the story focuses around Wade searching for the fabled egg and the other issues that stem from this hunt. In short, the story was wildly fun to read, but also brought up some very relevant topics like video game addiction and how the lack of face to face interaction impacts society. I was honestly not sure what to expect when I began to listen to this and I ended up being really pleased with the story. Wil Wheaton did a great job narrating Ready Player One and Ernest Cline did a superb job creating a complex and vibrant world and set of characters. I was pretty emotionally invested in the High Five and totally wanted to commence the weeping and gnashing of teeth at some points. If you haven’t yet picked this up out of reluctance or unawareness of the books existence, you should really buy it, borrow it, or check it out of your library because it ROCKS!!!!