Friday, March 23, 2012
Review - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
I don't usually read hype books - books with so much media build-up even non-readers know the title. That makes me a little late to the game on this one. It seems everyone has read this book. It came out last August and after passing by it for months in the bookstore, I finally broke down and read the synopsis. The hook for me was all the 80's and computer gaming trivia hailed as the best throw back since the era itself. Being a huge fan of the 80's, I decided to give this book a try.
The first several chapters were phenomenal. I was completely drawn in and invested. I know a story works for me when I talk about it even when I'm not reading. I was yammering about this book constantly; telling the kiddo he should give it a read; telling the hubby all the interesting bits; and so on and so on - you get the idea. I couldn't shut up about this book.
But then the story flattened. The main character was no longer emotionally interesting and the plot became predictable. The pop-culture references were thrown out like Wikipedia entries. I was disappointed with the direction. The middle of the book was redundant and almost boring. You know, sort of like this post <smirk>.
I held on and finished the story. The end did pick up a bit and even though the reader knew certain things would be key to ending the story, it wasn't always obvious how those things would land. I was sad to end the book without more detail on the real world subplot though. The majority of the action took place inside a virtual world but the most interesting bits were the sneak peaks of the real world in my opinion. I wanted more of those bits. I also wanted more growth from the characters in general. The ending was way too tidy for me and left things all hunky dory which just didn't seem to fit the landscape. I guess money really does change everything to quote the great Ms. Lauper. <Yes, I'm looking for 80's geek pints now.>
Overall, Ready Player One is a descent read, especially for a first novel. It's fast and entertaining. The pop-culture references are great even when they don't fit the 80's craze (um, Firefly, hello) or are delivered without enthusiasm. I do recommend the book - it's just not a "run out and buy it now" endorsement. Who knows, maybe the story will age well - you know like Pac-Man did. O.o