“The world I spent my days in was not, in fact, the real one.”
[this post contains spoilers]
I received “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline for Christmas, and finished it three days later. This book was so fantastic, and definitely made the last book of 2015 a good one.
Taking place in the year 2044, the story follows Wade Watts, and his online alter ego Parzival, as he attempts to find the three keys and three gates which are hidden Easter-egg style within the virtual reality game “OASIS”. The prize? $240 billion left by the creator of the game in his will, and control of the game itself. But alas, after five years, nobody has found a single key… until Wade does…
This book was filled to the brim with 80s references, and although I didn’t understand the majority of them, I found the trivia fascinating. However, I did actually pick up on a reference from “The Breakfast Club” in a conversation between Art3mis and Parzival, which I was quite proud of!
Whilst reading, I felt as if I was absorbed in the book just as much as Wade was absorbed in the OASIS. I literally felt compelled to read it non-stop, and was thinking about it constantly.
Wade’s character was very likeable, and I definitely felt sympathy towards him multiple times during the book. When he moved into the apartment, his transformation was quite incredible, and it was almost admirable how he would exercise before playing the game.
But alas, when he admitted that he planned to commit suicide if the Sixers won, I realised just how obsessed he really was with the game, and how his whole life was in a computer. It made me start thinking existential questions, like – Just because he lives his life through technology, does that mean he has no life? Or is it simply just a different way of living? I certainly pitied him when his fixation hit home. A quote that emphasised this is: “We live here, in the OASIS. For us, this is the only reality that has any meaning.” Again, is it truly reality if it’s occurring within technology?
This is why I love dystopian novels; they make you think.
Whilst pondering on what is real and what is not, the blowing up of his aunt’s trailer and Daito’s death really did bring the virtual into the reality. I was horrified; that such a corrupt organisation as the IOI could do something so extreme was terrifying! And when Wade found out that Art3mis and Shoto were also in danger, I was so relieved when he saved them.
The revelation that Aech was, in fact, a gay coloured female was brilliant! It was nice to see a variety in the race of the characters, but this highlights the social injustice of our society, and how it can still be relevant in a possible future. The fact that she made her avatar a white male to get more opportunities really struck home the differences in race and gender, and how they are treated in our society; it was quite enlightening in a sad way.
The ending of the book was fantastic. As soon as Parzival completed the Pac Man game and won the coin, I knew it was going to be of significant importance in the story; to give him an extra life! What a great plot twist when everyone else was killed! All the events leading up to the end were so thrilling and climatic that I didn’t put the book down until it was finished. And then immediately after I finished it, I missed it already. I still miss it. This book was such an adventure and written in such a way that the reader becomes immersed in the story just as Wade is immersed in the OASIS.
I have such high praise for this book. If you have yet to delve into it, then do so as soon as you can! You won’t regret it.