Thursday, September 25, 2014

Audio Book Review: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

It is the not too distant future and the world has pretty much gone to hell.  The real world that is.  Nearly everyone, okay everyone, prefers to "live" in the OASIS - a virtual reality that began as a computer game but has become a way of life.  Wade Watts is no exception.  He is a "gunter", or someone who is hunting for an Easter Egg the creator of the Oasis, James Halliday,  has hidden somewhere in the virtual landscape.  This egg isn't just any little thing though - the person who finds it first wins Halliday's entire fortune and takes control of the OASIS.  The race for the Egg involves critical thinking, intense gameplay, potential alliances, and lots of amazing '80s pop culture/video game references.

I actually purchased this book some time ago, but when I saw that Wil Wheaton narrates the audio book - I knew I had to work that in somehow.  Because, Wil Wheaton.  So I borrowed the audio from the library and brought both on a road trip.  I listened to most of it and finished with the print version.  I'm really glad I did it that way, because  - seriously - WIL WHEATON - and also I would have had no idea how to pronounce some of the words anyway.

The thing is, while I adore 80's pop culture, I have never been a huge gamer.  This did not matter.  I understood plenty of what was going on - the entire novel feels like you are on a quest in a video game - and maybe I understand gamers a bit more now.  This story is exciting, suspenseful, funny, and also kind of scary when you think about it.  It really isn't a huge jump between today's reliance upon near constant connection to the Internet and being fully plugged into something like the OASIS.  It is easy to see the appeal with a virtual world - you can look and sound the way you want, you can project the personality that you find most comfortable and impressive, and you totally get special powers or magic to do some awesome things.  But you just can't forget about the real world.  During this hunt, a greedy corporation with zero morals uses the real world to attack other gunters in order to knock them out of the competition.  The way this is accomplished is horrifying, and can also be a warning to real world today.

I loved this book and really wish I hadn't waited so long to experience it.

*****
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Narrated by Wil Wheaton
Broadway Paperbacks, 2011
Random House Audio, 2011
372 pages
15 hours 46 minutes
Source:  Purchased New & Library
*****

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3 comments:

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I'm always on the lookout for good audio book reviews. AND I've been on the verge of picking this book up many times to read and never quite made it, but now I"ll hold out for the audio. Thanks!

Wesley Hoffmann said...

That seems like the perfect book for Wil Wheaton to narrate!

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

It really really is Wesley :)

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