Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
* * * * * Stars (Amazing!)
Wade (aka Parzival), 18, spends most of his time in the OASIS, the massive virtual world created by Jim Halliday and Ogden Morrow. He attends a virtual school – which is way better than a bricks and mortar school for so many reasons (not the least of which is that there’s no PvP on school grounds, and you can mute your classmates) – and spends most of his free time searching for Halliday’s egg. When Halliday died, he challenged his fellow OASIS players to find his hidden Easter egg – winner take all (Halliday’s fortune, and control of OASIS). Thus was an epic quest born and undertaken by millions. Because Halliday was such a fan of 80s pop culture (music, games, movies, and more) there was a huge revival in interest in those times, and, in particular, Halliday’s favorites, as “gunters” (egg-hunters) scrambled to decipher his first clue (an obscure riddle that was sure to have its roots in some 80’s ephemera). It is Parzival, however, who finds the copper key – after nearly 5 years of searching – and once his name pops up on Halliday’s scoreboard the Game Is On.
I love this book. It is full of everything I loved as a teenager (and more) with all kinds of insider information and references to the pop culture of that age. *SIGH* I am not much of a gamer or a video game player (and those that consider themselves such – at least the old school ones – will possibly love this even more than I did), but the movie references alone (Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, Monty Python, Blade Runner) were enough to make me quietly squee. There’s action, adventure, suspense, romance, and Cline’s rather terrifying, yet still hopeful vision of the future. I want to start over at the beginning just to experience it again. THAT’S a feeling I haven’t had in a long time.
Reviewed by YA Librarian