Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)

By Ernest Cline

948,835 ratings - 4.25* vote

Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found hereIN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found hereIN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an

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Book details

Hardcover, 374 pages
August 16th 2011 by Crown Publishers
Original Title
Ready Player One
ISBN
030788743X (ISBN13: 9780307887436)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Kemper

I originally gave this book 3 stars as harmless lightweight fun, but my opinion of it declined as time went by. Then after reading Armada I fully realized what a talentless one-trick hack that Cline really is so I changed this rating. Plus, his outraged hardcore fans kept coming on here and telling me that I missed the point since I didn't give it 5 stars so I might as well give them something to really be mad about. If you're one of those Cline fans who wants to whine about it in the comments I will just delete it and block you.

Adventures in Time Mowing

After my laptop fused to my lawn mower due to a freak lightning strike, I discovered that I could use it to travel through time.

“Wow, where’d you come from?”

“I’m from 2011. Got a time mower and decided to come to the future. I’ll spare you the full origin story. My name’s Kemper.”

“I’m Wade Watts. Welcome to 2044.”

“Thanks. I gotta say, things are looking kind of grim around here. Are those mobile homes stacked up like hillbilly skyscrapers?”

“Yeah, I live in one of them. We’ve had a lot of problems once the cheap fossil fuels started running out. Life kinda sucks ass these days. Fortunately, we’ve got the OASIS.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s this virtual reality that’s kind of a combination of the Internet and the biggest MMORPG ever made. Here put this on, and I’ll show you.”

“Hey, this is pretty sweet, Wade. But what’s with all this old stuff here in your virtual room. It looks like the ‘80s vomited in here.”

“Oh, it’s part of my research for the contest. See the guy who invented the OASIS was this old nerd named James Halliday. He left an Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS and whoever finds it wins the prize. He was totally obsessed with the ‘80s and nerdly stuff like computers, sci-fi, cartoons, movies, comics and video games. He left three keys to three gates hidden in here, and the clues have to be stuff that he loved. So a lot of people like me have to know all about the '80s to hunt for the egg."

“How long has this been going on?”

“For years now. Nobody has found the first key yet.”

“And you what? Watch movies from the ‘80s? Listen to the music? Read his favorite books? Play old video games?”

“It‘s even bigger than that. Because of the contest, the entire world is obsessed with the ‘80s. The clothes and hairstyles are considered cool again.”

“Really? Well, I gotta get the hell out of here then. Thanks for showing me this, Wade. How do I log out?”

“You’re leaving already? Don’t you want to…Oh, my god! You said you were from 2011? And you’re in your 40s, right?”

“Well, just barely…”

“So you actually lived through the ‘80s?”

“Afraid so. High school class of 1988.”

“That’s awesome! You gotta tell me all about it, Kemper.”

“Kid, why would you want to hear about that? You’re sitting here with enough computer power to download everything from the collected works of Shakespeare to the entire run of The Wire and you want to hear about the ’80s? Just for a contest?”

“I love the ’80s. It was the coolest time ever!”

“Uh, not really. In fact, I think the ’90s beat the shit out of them. That not worrying about the Cold War thing was a relief and the music was a lot better. Plus we got to wear flannel. That was fun.”

“But… you got to play the old video games in the actual arcades, and you saw the first generation of home computers come out. Plus, music videos and John Hughes movies and Rubik’s Cubes and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and….”

“Yeah, Wade. I lived through it all. I remember when MTV played music videos and when Eddie Murphy was funny. But you’re making me sad, kid.”

“Why?”

“Lemme tell you a story, Wade. About ten years after I got out of high school, an old buddy I had stayed in touch with had a birthday bash and invited a bunch of us that used to run around together. So we’re at his house drinking and playing cards just like the old days and catching up and playing ‘Remember when?”. It was a lot of fun, but we’d been listening to hair metal and classic rock all night, and at one point, I was flipping through the CD’s.”

“Actual CD’s! Not downloads?”

“Hell, I’m so old even my post-high school stories are dated now. Yes, Wade, real CD’s. Anyhow, I found a new Foo Fighters album, and I put it in. And this one guy made a face and asked me why I had taken the Guns-n-Roses out. And I said something like the nostalgia had been fun but I needed something from that decade. Being completely serious he said that he didn’t know how I could listen to that stuff, and that he still listened to the same exact music we did in high school. He had just replaced his old cassettes with CD’s. The guy had completely managed to miss grunge and was perfectly happy with the same play list in 1998 that he’d been listening to in 1988. And that was one of the saddest things I ever heard, Wade.”

“But maybe he just really liked that stuff.”

“I liked it too, once upon a time. And I can still belt out a pretty good version of Relax when Frankie Goes to Hollywood comes on the radio, but it was a certain time and place. Now it’s done. I find it depressing that someone of Gen X would want to be stuck there and never moved on to anything new. But it got worse after that, Wade. Because we got older and then the media started catering to us by going for nostalgia trips on everything from trying to remake the Knight Rider TV show to shitty movies like The Transformers and G.I. Joe to the goddamn Smurfs. I’m tired of it in 2011, Wade. I don’t want a new Indiana Jones movie, I want the NEXT Indiana Jones. But no one is working on that because all of us got obsessed with regurgitating our childhoods over and over.”

“That is kind of sad, Kemper.”

“What’s even sadder is seeing it happen to a generation that didn’t even live through it. When I was a teenager, I got sick to death of baby boomer nostalgia and there’d be these kids my age who tried to be like damn dirty hippies by wearing tie-dye shirts and going to listen to Grateful Dead tribute bands. They were nostalgic for an era that wasn’t even theirs, and I always thought it was a waste. Don’t be like that, Wade. You seem like a nice kid. Don’t sit here watching Family Ties reruns and playing Space Invaders and making jokes about Ewoks. That was then. This is now. It’s your time and you should be out there trying to find the stuff that will become part of your own memories of growing up, not rehashing ours.”

“Gee, Kemper. That’s a really good point. You’ve opened my eyes. Thanks a lot.”

“You’re welcome, Wade. By the way, what the hell was this prize that was so good that it got the entire world doing the safety dance again?”

“Oh, the winner gets the controlling interest in Halliday’s company and his personal fortune which is about $240 billion dollars.”

“Did you say $240 billion? Dollars?”

“Yes, so how about we log off. Maybe I’ll take a walk and see if I can find this girl I like. I’ve been…”

“Screw that. Fire this rig up, Wade. Put on some Def Leppard and find me a pair of acid washed jeans and some high top Reeboks. Let’s start looking for clues. For $240 billion I’ll live through the ‘80s again.”

**************************************************

I didn’t actually hate this book. It did a lot of very clever stuff regarding an entire virtual universe. And for a member of Gen X, it was a fast and fun romp down memory lane. It was kind of like Snow Crash meets the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World movie.

But I’ve got a personal pet peeve against people trying to live in the past and since this book is nostalgia porn*, the basic premise did rub me the wrong way. The idea that the kids of the 2040s are just watching episodes of ‘80s TV shows and playing Donkey Kong really kind of depressed me.

*I stole that phrase from Flannery’s review. Sorry, Flannery! It was just too good.

I might have been able to get past it a little easier if at least one of the kids said something like, “Jesus, I hate this ‘80s bullshit. I can’t wait until his freakin’ contest is over so I can live in the here and now.” But instead all of them treat it like it’s the greatest entertainment ever. So even though a few post ’80s things like Firefly or the Lord of the Rings movies get mentioned, we’re supposed to believe that nerd pop culture reached a zenith in the ’80s and nothing worth geek obsession happened between 1990 and 2040? Sorry, but that seems kind of unlikely and the kind of wishful thinking that an aging Gen Xer would write as he pines for his glory days.

Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

This book is a geek fantasy. A nerd utopia. Speaking as a formerly addicted World of Warcraft player (among others), I loved it.

I believe you can tell the author's passion from what he's written, and it is clear from this book that Ernest Cline is a fellow gamer and geek. I salute him. His ardor for games is so clearly felt within this book. A fellow fangirl/fanboy can sniff out a fake one like a dead fish within a Bath and Body Works (ok, that may be a bad example, but you catch my drift). Ernest Cline is a real-deal fanboy. I salute you, sir.

This book is for fanboys and fangirls. There are those who don't like it. There are those who feel that there are needless references, inserted solely for a wink and a nudge from the author to the reader. To those people, I say: SO WHAT?! I welcomed those references. It makes me feel good because I know what they are. Is there something wrong with feeling good and getting an innocent giggle out of understanding a reference?
GSS had also licensed preexisting virtual worlds from their competitors, so content that had already been created for games like Everquest and World of Warcraft was ported over to the OASIS, and copies of Norrath and Azeroth were added to the growing catalog of OASIS planets. Other virtual worlds soon followed suit, from the Metaverse to the Matrix. The Firefly universe was anchored in a sector adjacent to the Star Wars galaxy, with a detailed re-creation of the Star Trek universe in the sector adjacent to that.
IN ONE PARAGRAPH, HE REFERENCED SO MANY THINGS THAT I LOVE. How could I hate the references? I have a soul!!!!!!!! I get excited, ok? ._.

So here's what I liked about this book:
1. I liked the main character
2. I liked the future world
3. I liked the realistic feeling of an online gaming scene

Wade is a good kid. He's had a rough life. He's depressed, but he never reaches martyr status.
The year after my mom died, I spent a lot of time wallowing in self-pity and despair. I tried to look on the bright side, to remind myself that, orphaned or not, I was still better off than most of the kids in Africa. And Asia. And North America, too. I’d always had a roof over my head and more than enough food to eat. And I had the OASIS. My life wasn’t so bad. At least that’s what I kept telling myself, in a vain attempt to stave off the epic loneliness I now felt.
He's nothing special. He's an overweight (and simultaneously malnourished) kid. He doesn't do too well in school. He could be any of my friends who have played games.

He is a nice kid. He doesn't blame people for circumstances that are beyond their control. It would have been the easiest thing to hate his mom for being drug-addicted, yet he doesn't.
I never blamed my mom for the way things were. She was a victim of fate and cruel circumstance, like everyone else. Her generation had it the hardest. She’d been born into a world of plenty, then had to watch it all slowly vanish.
It's a shitty world. People have to survive the best way they know how, sometimes those ways are self-destructive.

A lot of the problems with dystopian fiction is that they're too drastic. Barely 100 years into the future, the world has created a new society, etc. The world in this book is set in 2044, and admittedly, it is pretty grim, but I still found it believable.

There's been an energy crisis, there's global warming, civilization is decline but not completely in the shithole yet. Life is crappy. I've always thought that life would be awful for my grandchildren, and this book pretty much tells it how I believe it could be. And god help us if Trump is elected president.

I also love Cline's explanation of the way online gaming works, down to its community. He clearly knows his shit, from user names to avatars. There are some funny tidbits.
Students weren’t allowed to use their avatar names while they were at school. This was to prevent teachers from having to say ridiculous things like “Pimp_Grease, please pay attention!” or “BigWang69, would you stand up and give us your book report?”
But really, it's the nostalgia of my gaming days that clinches this book for me. The online camaraderie. The late nights gaming together, the bonding that takes place over Ventrilo after defeating a difficult challenge. I got to know many friends whom I wouldn't ordinary have talked to in the real world. It's a bonding experience that is as much a part of the game as the game itself. Often, it's community that truly makes the experience memorable. And yes, the online romances. This book portrays all of that, and so what if it banks on my nostalgia? I'll take it.

Granted, it is overly long, and too detailed at times. It does lack complexity, and would be more of a middle-grade book if not for its length and content, but overall, it was a solidly good book.

Melissa McShane

ETA: At the risk of getting this more attention by editing it, I'm no longer responding to comments made on this review. It's four years old, and while I stand by what I wrote, I'm not interested in discussing it, either positively or negatively. And I'm really glad they made it into a movie.

So disappointing. The premise of a treasure hunt inside a gigantic immersive online environment is interesting. I like the idea of the people of 2044 being fixated on '80s culture for clues to solving the puzzle. The execution simply doesn't live up to the promise. The writing goes like this:

interestinginterestinginteresting

INFODUMP

interesti-

BIGGER INFODUMP

...and so forth. I honestly don't know who the intended audience is. The author overexplains all the '80s references as if he expects readers to be too young or too disconnected from geek culture not to get them, but my experience with SF fandom is that no element of fandom, however old, ever completely dies out; all of us old farts who were teens in the '80s (and, interesting fact, the creator of the book's treasure hunt has the same birth year I do) make sure the young sprouts experience all the golden oldies. This is a first novel, and I make allowances for first novels, but this stretches my tolerance quite a bit.

More difficult for me to get past was the poorly-conceived dystopian future from which the story arises; to the bugaboos of environmental destruction, overpopulation, and economic collapse is added the fear of giant, evil corporations. This despite the fact that the guy who set up the enormous online multiverse AND created the treasure hunt did so by creating an enormous corporation of his own. His online creation is lauded (in one of those massive infodumps) as being so egalitarian because they don't charge anything for access, just for the things you buy inside it, but the corporation couldn't have set it up in the first place without needing a grundle of cash. (My computer programmer friends will fall on the floor laughing at the idea that all of those virtual items people buy are pure profit for the company because they "don't cost anything to make.") Every time I started to get interested in the story, I came up against some background element that only made sense in a tautological way--it is because it's said to be so.

But what really killed it for me, what caused me to finally give up about halfway through, has always been a deal-breaker for me in any work of speculative fiction. I don't like books that seem to exist independently of the great body of work that has explored the same issues or ideas. In this case, it's as if the author has never heard of Tad Williams' Otherland or (despite the hero's homage to Stephenson) The Diamond Age and Snow Crash. These books (I except Stephenson's more recent book Reamde because it was released the same year as Ready Player One) raised and evaluated issues with virtual reality, and yet Ready Player One does a lot of unnecessary reinventing of the cybernetic wheel. And yes, I do think this is a valid criticism; science fiction is interconnected to a degree that trumps any other genre, except possibly experimental literary fiction. There's an expectation that readers will be familiar with concepts raised elsewhere and have more than a passing familiarity with other SF novels. Ready Player One doesn't do much more than revisit ideas that other authors have explored, and the addition of a high-tech fantasy quest (an admittedly very cool idea) isn't enough to elevate it beyond the ordinary.

Patrick

I got to read an ARC of this, and it appealed to every geeky part of me.

I'll probably write a blog about it later, but for now, a brief review:

Simply said? This book was fucking awesome.

Rick

Back in 2011, Ready Player One was, perhaps, the year's most well-reviewed book. It received glowing commendations from the likes of NPR, The New York Times, Wired, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss, and many, many more. It maintains a 4.3 average score on Goodreads.com (a significant accomplishment given its 20,000+ reviews), and you'd be hard pressed to find a negative review in any major publication.

In no way can I make any sense of this. Please believe what I am about to write, as it is not even close to hyperbole:

Ready Player One was the most disappointing reading experience of my entire life.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of puzzles that will yield a massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.



For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the 1980s. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize.

And with that, you've just read the best that Ready Player One has to offer: its synopsis.

I should preface the rest of this review by stating that I am, and have always been, a geek at heart. I am as much a byproduct of the 1980s as anyone. I've been a lifelong gamer, a pop culture obsessive, and I once thought I'd married, for real, Princess Peach.

Ready Player One has been hailed by its author, Ernest Cline, as a love letter to anyone who "grew up geek," a sentiment that has been confirmed by every review, in every publication, all over the world. And yet, the Ready Player One that I read was less a love letter to geeks than it was a pat on the back to an 18-year-old Cline, a Stephanie-Meyer-eclipsing Mary Sue that attempts to justify the behavior of an overweight, socially awkward, virginal nerd.

I'm not being mean. It's literally what it is.

At its core, Ready Player One is a fairy tale, a treasure hunt. Albeit, one designed by an 80s-obsessed ultra-nerd whose entire life was steeped in nostalgia. Evidently, human creativity peaked with Zork and Legend. So Wade's hunt for Halladay's "easter egg" is one long excuse for a constant—and I do mean constant—barrage of 80s references.

Actually, scratch that. It's not so much referencing as it is name dropping. 95% of it serves no actual purpose aside from simply mentioning it. At first the references reinforce the story, helping to create a framework that grounds the reader in the "world" Cline has "created" with OASIS. But after the first chapter (yes, the first chapter) these devolve into ceaseless, meaningless throwbacks. The novelty lasts all of ten minutes until you realize that it's all just an annoying form of telling, not showing.

If the point is to re-enact sections of D&D modules and 80s cult classics, then your readers are just getting third-hand retreads of things that aren't even important to begin with. It's sort of like when your socially-awkward friend resolutely recounts a super-sweet TV show for you, word for word, and all you can do is just sit there and wait until he's finished. Pay $20 for that experience and you get Ready Player One.

What makes Ready Player One so disappointing is that these references seem to the be the sole purpose of Cline's writing. The novel doesn't say much of anything. Sure, there are a handful of introspective moments—limp attempts at social commentary—but they're of so little consequence they seem thrown in to fulfill some delusion of grandeur.

Yes, reality really is better and more meaningful than virtual reality. We've been told this in almost every VR-based story known to man. And yet, that's Cline's one takeaway. (Oh, and you should love people for who they are on the inside, even if they have a birthmark on half their face. Thanks Ernest!)

What's confusing about the 80s obsession, though, is the fact that Ready Player One is, at best, a YA-level read. Cline would sit very comfortably beside the likes of Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins. Ready Player One is inelegant and shallow at the best of times, and yet, this novel is clearly targeted at the 30-year-old-and-up-crowd (if you're any younger much of the subject material is simply too obscure). This subject/reading-level conflict, then, makes the whole mess inherently problematic.

And what's worst—no, I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet—is how the entire thing reeks of elitism. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a book about an overweight, unattractive, lazy, delusional, uber-geek elitist, who believes—truly believes—that his knowledge of 80s trivia makes him superior. And Cline basically affirms this! Some guys buy cars, others put socks down their pants, Cline writes 80s trivia novels.

There is a scene, in chapter 3, in which Wade (or Parzival, as his handle goes), engages in a nerdy rat-a-tat-tat with another OASIS player to see who has more knowledge of 80s pop culture. It is the singularly most embarrassing thing I have ever read from a professional. It's just this much above fan fiction. Actually, fuck that. I've actually read fan fiction more entertaining than this. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Add to all this the fact that Cline's characters are uniformly flat. Wade, our narrator, is blatant author wish fulfillment and his lessons are trivial, at best. His love interest is present only to represent Wade's "true" victory (her heart). The unknowable best friend who harbours a secret you'll never guess (meaning, you absolutely will). And the villain … a one-dimensional, nearly faceless corporation as uninteresting as a rival boyfriend in a John Hughes movie.

"If it's a great book, I want to luxuriate in its greatness. And if it's crap, I want it to magically transform itself into genius. This book just stayed crap." – Amy, a reviewer on Amazon.com

Ready Player One exists solely to glorify hollow pop culture from the 1980s, and yet, Ernest Cline does absolutely nothing to convince the reader that the 80s were cool if he/she didn't think so already. The plot is overly simplistic and plods along with inevitability, making The Da Vinci Code read like a Pulitzer Prize winner. Cline's hero, Wade, is the trivia-equivalent of Superman, where he is so overpowered his "quest" becomes tedious, rather than uplifting. And, at the end of the day, Wade is just an arrogant, elitist prick. (He describes his abject poverty and lack of real world opportunities as like "being in the world's greatest video arcade with no quarters." Seriously, fuck you, Wade.)

Every time I think about this book I want to make my rating lower. It started as a 2, then dropped to a 1.5, and by the end of this review I feel I have no choice but to give it a 1. I hated this book with every fibre of my being, and it escapes the dreaded 0 only because Cline managed to form actual sentences.

Never again will I read Ernest Cline. You can count on that.

✨ jamieson ✨

WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINION BECAUSE I DIDN'T FUCKING LIKE READY PLAYER ONE

anyone I saw writing a negative review for this got like, abused in their comments BUT. Im going for it anyway



unmarked spoilers ahead. ft, appearances from the voices of adele and beyonce

sum up Ready Player One in a single word? wanky


replace with: that 400 page book which used 80s references to condescend people not invested in that culture was incomparably wanky

okay, I'm going to start with the good stuff

the worldbuilding around the OASIS, and the setting was really good. I thought that the way that OASIS was built, described and functioned within this world was very well thought out and clever. It was definitely something high-tech enough to be interesting, but also realistic enough to be plausible. The setting in 2044 and the way the Earth/living standards are set up are well thought out.

• The other tech industry was a good "villain" in that I thought their motivations were plausible, and the interaction between them and the OASIS made sense. The gamers motivations to prevent the Sixers from winning and ruining OASIS were believable and the worldbuilding was intertwined with the motivations of characters which I liked

• It was reasonably fast paced

• OG. WHAT A GUY.. HIS NAME IS FUCKING OG THE GREAT AND POWERFUL IM LAUGHIN

OKAY. AND NOW I GET SALTY



First things first, back to my point about it being wanky. I KNEW I was coming into this book to get lots of 80s references, I was fine with that, I was excited for it. I wanted the nostalgic feel of Stranger Things, because thats what people told me I'd get. I wanted that homage.

• things I didn't get: that


What I got instead was a "gate keeping" attitude in which any person/character who didn't have enough knowledge of the 80's was deemed not smart enough and not cool enough. The overabundance of 80s references reached the point of insanity. I can't get over this bit when Art3mis orders some drink and Wade is like 'OH SHE'S GETTING THAT BECAUSE IT'S THE SAME AS *CHARACTER* DRINKS. SO COOL. SHE'S WORTHY'

The 80's references were so oversaturated I couldn't actually separate them from their characters. Like, these characters literally WERE 80's references.

the whole time, it just felt like the author was leaning over me like "yeah, yeah, i know so many references. mhhm, another one, another one. YOU THINK I don't have more ?! HAHA, fooled. Have another, have ten more. I know everything there is to know about the 80's, don't test me kid. you don't know explicit detail of every spider-man comic ever released, FAKE FAN FAKE FAN.'

Anyway, it was really fucking annoying. It should have been a nice throwback to the 80's, not a fucking wank fest in which everyone loses their fucking mind and can't keep it together over pac-man. But seriously, the condescending tone about people who don't LIVE THE EIGHTIES annoyed me so fucking much.



Right, next up: characters.

Wade was ........ so fucking annoying. First of all, his attitude sucked. But that aside, his charactersation was just not good. His knowledge of the 80's was just unbelievable. He mentions at least a dozen shows that he's watched a dozen or so times, now, I'm struggling to believe he actually had time to watch the amount of shit he has, that many times. His knowledge was all-consuming and it was just unrealistic. He has literally no flaws. his main flaw ? he's overweight and a geek boy who can't get girls.
Well do not worry. Welcome to Wade's Biggest Loser Story:
"I spent 4 weeks doing pushups in the morning and now I look like an Abercrombie model :)"


You're a geek boy? well don't worry, you're superior to all those other boys anyway ! You're a nice boy !!!!!! and anyway, *beyonce voice* who run the world ? geeks geeks. Wade owns 5 fedoras.
JFGHFJG HE JUS ANNOYED ME SO MUCH ALWAYS BITCHING ABOUT HOW GIRLS FIND HIM WEIRD WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T LIKE, STALK THEM, FAM.

Wade honestly felt like such a self insert/wish fulfilment type character. He annoyed me so fucking much, he was just rude and weird, and his obsession with Art3mis wasn't healthy. His obsession with Hallidays and OASIS genuinely wasn't healthy.

The female characters were so ghdh WE DESERVE BETTER. Art3mis had potential to be a great character, but she was ultimately reduced to a love interest. She tried to separate from Wade to focus on the Easter Egg but then he stalks her and she ends up with him ??? Also, I found it annoying we were supposed to give Wade Nice Boy Points for thinking her "curvy" avatar was hot, when we ALL KNOW it was the KimK type curvy and SHE LITERALLY IS TINY THIN IRL ANYWAY

Aech is so ?? *adele voice* WE COULD OF HAD IT ALL. Representation, is NOT real when it's a twist. It's so disappointing Aech was a black, female, lesbian and we didn't get to see that AT ALL. We get 1 chapter before she goes back to being a 'male' in the OASIS. Urgh, it's just annoying. I know Ernest Cline was trying to do a "oh look, you treated this person a certain way thinking they were white/male/straight now treat them the same when u know they're black/female/gay BUT IT WOULD HAVE JUST BEEN WAY BETTER IF WADES BEST FRIEND WAS REPRESENTED AS A GAY BLACK GIRL. You can't even say this is a diverse book because thats a "spoiler" urrhtgtjhgkj

also fml because Kira is also the reason Og and Halliday stopped being friends like why do they only exist for male relationships & angst urgh

The main evil guy in the evil corporation who's name I can't remember was so plain? He was such a stock villain and he just ??? died ???



Deus ex Machina

• Can't pass a level? Don't worry, I will magically whip some obscure knowledge out my ass to save the day
• Party got crushed by a sinister army? lucky some guy at this party happens to be able to fight them with unbelievable, rule-defying levels of power
• don't have somewhere to stay? NO WORRIES, a random billionaire is gonna show up in a space thats supposed to be barred to all characters to offer you sanctuary? "didn't the rules of this universe establish this was a private chat room"" yeah, they did. but turns out there's this other rule where thats not true SURPRISE
• Died? Well, no worries. Turns out you're the first person in history to get a FREE LIFE

it annoyed me how convenient some plot points were


OTHER STUFF I JUST DIDN'T LIKE

• There is a bit when a character calls paraplegic people "repulsive"
• YOU CAN'T GO FROM OBESE TO MUSCULAR IN 8 WEEKS FROM DOING 20 MINUTE EXERCISES ACTUALLY FUCK OFF IDK WHY THIS ANNOYED ME SO MUCH BUT IT DID
• the fact he's called Wade like Wade Wilson it says alot tbh
• stalking stalking stalking
• the fact I had to read an entire chapter of Wade talking about the sex he had with a doll and masturbating and how it's like "THE COOLEST BOY THING EVER"
• TOO MUCH detail it felt like a slog. I was skimming entire pages of irrelevent detail about exactly what model of haptic suit Wade decided to buy that day

So yeah, overall I just didn't have a good time with this book it was just so obnoxious and annoying I couldn't get into it at all lmfao worst hype ever

aaaaanddddd....

Sissyneck

That one star is probably misleading...I thought this was going to be a 4-5 star book for a good portion of the time I spent reading it. The 80s pop-culture references are so pervasive and so relevant to my life that, at times, the book felt like it been written specifically for me. (The love interest is described as being like Jordan, from Real Genius...c'mon!)

But.
All of the Star Wars, Ferris Bueller, and Highlander references in the world can't hide that this story is at best, empty, and at worst, ugly. Rote plotting, un-earned dickensian coincidences, clumsy deus ex machina (I still don't know how to pluralize that term), the worst kind of tokenism disguised as actually valuing diversity, a profound neglect of the complexities of the real/virtual world dichotomy...Cline has adopted some of the style of Gibson and Stephenson, but none of the substance.
In a nice manifestation of the novel's lack of self-awareness, Cline at one point derides the villains of the book for simply using "Johnny 5" style robots from Short Circuit instead coming up with their own design. This appropriation, he explaines, demonstrates "a lack of imagination," a valid criticism that only too accurately applies to the ostensible heroes of the book, as well as to Cline himself.

Update: The plural of "deus ex machina" is "dei ex machinis". Thanks, The Awl!

NReads

ladies and gentlemen, from this day this book is my life and I will obsess over it constantly

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