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Ready Player One Review

    Think of what you did for entertainment when you were a kid. What comes to mind? Did you pile into your car and head to the movies and arcades, or did you stay at home and listen to music, or play ball with your friends? These were the sort of things people did for entertainment back before the internet was as prominent as it is. But if you asked anybody what they did for entertainment today, I feel like a lot of them would respond with: “I played video games.”

    Video games have evolved to become an enormous part of our modern culture, drawing more and more people into its fold every day, and undergoing constant evolution to keep up with its growth. From tournaments that draw more viewers than the NBA finals, to small indie games exploding in popularity, there is nothing more satisfying than solving the trials and tribulations of a video game. And nowhere else do I feel that the thrill of a good video game is presented better than in the book, Ready Player One. Of course, in this book, the stakes are life or death. Not just in the game, but in real life.

    Written by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is the best book I've ever read, period. In my eyes, this incredible, reference-packed book outdoes the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, JK Rowling, and even the legendary Neil Gaiman. Nothing I write in this review can do this book justice, but I'm going to attempt to anyways.

    However, before we begin, I should give you some context. Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future, twenty five years or so from our present day. In this world, there is only one way for people to escape their horrible lives. The OASIS is a MMO Simulation that has become the way humanity accesses the internet. In its world, you can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, and escape the crumbling scaffolding that once held up the great human civilizations.

    The story follows Wade Watts, or Parzival, who was born and raised in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately for Wade, his father and mother end up dead before he became a teenager. After these terrible facts are faced, Wade is slowly losing the will to live… That is, until the creator of the OASIS, James Donovan Halliday, passes away. I know, it may seem morbid, but this event changed the world everybody lives in forever.

    Halliday, an autistic savant and well known eighties enthusiast, sets up a gigantic contest to take place after his death. The grand prize? His entire fortune, which is a couple hundred billion dollars and change, and even more valuable, a controlling share of stock in Gregarius Simulation, aka the company that runs the Oasis. He also places a scoreboard on his website, that tracks the real time achievements of players in the contest. Five years go by, and nothing tangible is found… Until the name Parzival pops up at the top of the scoreboard. The rest of the book becomes Wade’s recounting of everything that happened next.

    From an orphan growing up in a multi-story trailer park (akathe Stacks), to the most well known person in the world, Ready Player One describes the journey in painstaking detail. Offering up humorous diatribes, unpredictable yet believable twists, and one of the best plots I’ve ever read. Everything, from the dialogue, to the action, to the quiet moments of personal reflection is done masterfully.

    Of course, Wade isn't the only main character in this story at the time. There are several other major characters as well. First off, we have Aech (pronounced just like the letter H), who is Wade’s best friend and a popular Gladiator in PVP arenas. Aech is one of the only people that didn't discount Wade immediately because he was such a low level. Then, we have Shoto and Daito, a brother duo from Japan, working together in order to complete the contest. When a tragedy strikes the duo, leading to Daito being unable to complete the quest, Shoto takes it upon himself to get vengeance on those who have wronged him.

    This leads us to our primary antagonist. Nolan Sorrento, who is a former game developer turned corporate lackey. Nolan works for a company known as IOI, or Innovative Online Industries. Sorrento is the worst kind of asshole. He's unlikable, untrustworthy, and a flat out evil bastard. How evil, you ask? Well, let's put it like this. Sorrento used the ISP’s his company owned in order to spy on his competition, arranged an attempt to kidnap several major characters, and ordered several attempts to murder his competition. In one of these attempts, several dozen innocent civilians are killed. Does that give you an idea of just how bad Nolan is?

    Finally, we have Art3mis. She is one of the best players in the contest, arguably the best. Art3mis is a talented writer, and undeniable genius. She and Wade end up interested in each other, though she ends up leaving him around the middle of the book in an attempt to ensure that she wins the contest. Art3mis is also the only person in the contest whose goals are truly noble. She wants to use the money to help save the planet, and make sure everyone has power, shelter, and food.

    I’ve wracked my brain for the last twenty minutes to find something, ANYTHING worth criticism in this book, and for the life of me, I can’t. It could be a bias, because this is my favorite book, but if you were to read it yourself, I feel as though you’d be hard pressed to find something jarring. It’s a book that, like a good game or movie, absorbs your focus, and makes you feel like you’re really there, watching from afar. Like your the person Wade is speaking to in the future.

    All I can say now is that if you haven't read this book, you really should. It's a brilliant, bold, and vibrant story. One that you will never forget. So what are you waiting for? Go to your local bookstore or load up your kindle, and buy this book. In fact, even if you've already read the book, go ahead and reread it. Because in 2018, the movie is coming out, and the director is the man, the myth, the legend, Steven Spielberg. So get ready for an adventure, get Ready, Player One. Because you are in for a treat. After all, if there's a player one, there's always a player two.
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