Easter is fast approaching and different people love Easter for different reasons, no Matter what your religion. Some love it because it is the one time of the year they get to bite into a Cadbury cream egg. Some love Easter for the hunt, the challenge to find those hidden little gems that are scattered across your house or yard. No other holiday makes you hunt for you gifts. The turkey is carved and brought out to you on Thanksgiving, where is the fun in that? Christmas? Come on! You know when you wake up where all the gifts are going to be. Pffht, hardly a challenge.
It is the hunt that fuels every character in Ernest Cline‘s READY PLAYER ONE, And it is the hunt that will get you to stay up late to turn the next page. Cline writes a fun novel that is set in the…wait for it…dystopian future where everyone is logging on to play a game called OASIS that was created by a Bill Gates/ Steve Jobs like character, James Halliday. This game is “a massively multiplayer online game that had gradually evolved into the globally networked virtual Reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis”. Halliday’s world is giant homage to the eighties and nineties, specifically the nerdy pop-culture that was emerging at the time.
The book opens some years after Halliday’s death. He, in the most Willy Wonka way possible, has said that there are three hidden Keys to different gates in this virtual world. The first person to open the last portal will inherit all of Halliday’s Wealth And most importantly the keys to OASIS. TurN to Wade Watts, a gamer who lives in one of The many “stacks”, recreational vehicles that are Stacked on top of one another to form a place to live. He’s been plugging away trying to find the first of these hidden Easter eggs that Halliday left behind between classes at the virtual high school planet that is set up in OASIS. That’s right a high school planet, as a future teacher the idea of a world full of high schoolers, virtual or no, is frightening.
If high school is a challenge for Wade, so is beating Innovative Online Industries to the last gate. IOI is An evil corporation that employs egg-hunters, like Wade, and whose ultimate goal is to turn the OASIS into a pay-to-play platform. Only one player can ultimately enter the last gate and become the owner of OASIS, but that doesn’t mean that Wade doesn’t form some uNusual relationships with some of the other players along the way. These friends forge their relationship in a virtual world, a world where your identity is malleable. The Avatar that you see in OASIS is not always a fair representation of the gamer that is in their virtual jumpsuit.
The themes of identity, greed, and community are the core of READY PLAYER ONE. I enjoyed this book immensely. Wade is a cute kid who is trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong in a world made of pixels. I can’t say if this book is for you, but if you’ve ever put a quarter on an arcade-game to call next game, or you love eighties pop culture then maybe you should pick this book up. I’ve included a fan-made trailer for the book, because it is awesome and because apparently fan-made book trailers are a thing that people make nowadays. Before I log off, I have to ask, did you find the three easter eggs in this post? MAS 2015 Alternate book report