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Ready Player One Review

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I decided to read Ready Player One after watching the teaser that came out during San Diego Comic Con, and it seemed like the perfect book for a surface level geek like me to read. The teaser was chock full of references to movies I love, had gorgeous visuals, and had enough content hidden inside to keep me watching over and over. I shamelessly watched a 30 minute video that picked out every single easter egg within the 2 minute and 4 second clip.

It wasn’t a surprise when I saw the book that the film is based on at Target and quickly added it to my cart. For the next week, I pored over the entire book, savoring every nerdy detail. It quickly found a place on my list of favorite books for a number of reasons, which I’ll explain below.

In short, Ready Player One is about a devoted underdog’s challenging quest to win a nearly 300 billion dollar fortune and control of the virtual world called the Oasis. It was James Halliday, the creator of the virtual world, who created the quest full of 80’s nostalgia, not only to make the world love what he did, but also to ensure that the ownership of his company would fall to worthy hands. The protagonist is Wade Watts (screen name, Parzival) who takes on the quest with hopes of escaping the poverty stricken world that he’s come to know, but the journey to fortune and fame is never so easy. Up against Parzival and all of the other Egg Hunters (called Gunters) is IOI, a corporation filled with experts on everything James Halliday, hellbent on taking ownership of the Oasis and capitalizing on the escapism of the doomed world.

Because the quest is so filled with 80’s nostalgia, it only makes sense that Parzival and the entire oasis would be obsessed with the 80’s and geeky pop culture. Nearly every page is filled with references to the movies, music, video games, and culture of the era, which is very entertaining for someone like myself, as I was raised by parents who never fell out of love with the 80’s that they grew up in. The 80’s are kind of back in fashion anyway, which can be noticed when looking at the success of It and Stranger Things. It only makes sense that Ready Player One would fit right in with our current pop culture.

What I enjoyed most about Ready Player One wasn’t only all of the nerdy references that were littered throughout the book, but also the commentary on the internet and corporate greed. The Oasis is a virtual world for everyone, and only charges a one time $0.25 fee for use. IOI, the main antagonist, has no bounds when it comes to taking over the Oasis and charging astronomical fees for the world to pay, fees that the average people cannot afford. This plot line grows increasingly relevant, especially with talks of whether Net Neutrality is needed, and the possible repeal of the Obama-era Net Neutrality Act. Ernest Cline conveys an extreme case of corporate greed affecting the internet as a way to promote a free and open internet for all, and this very theme makes the book so much more appealing.

Ready Player One is the choice for the One School One Book Initiative, and can be found at Roma’s for $7, and Half Price Books and Target as well.

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