Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Reader Friends, I have a confession.  I am woefully lacking in knowledge regarding 80's and early 90's pop culture, especially given that those were my formative years.  The thing is, I grew up in a very conservative Christian home and I was very sheltered.  If you have questions about Psalty the Singing Psalm Book or the Donut Man or need the lyrics to DC Talk's Nu Thang album, you should come to me.  I also consider myself something of an expert on Christian video games released by Wisdom Tree.  We had them all: King of Kings, Exodus, Spiritual Warfare, Bible Buffet, and Bible Adventures.  We also had a few secular games (the arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), but my knowledge of other pop culture (songs, movies, bands, etc) is really limited. 

::Fifteen minutes later, after finding I can play ALL THE CHRSTIAN GAMES here::

So I knew I was handicapped going in to Ready Player One, which is, basically an homage to all things 80's and early 90's pop culture, especially video games.  However, I had heard wonderful things about the book and figured I could enjoy it even if I didn't get all of the in jokes.  The basic plot is a future dystopian-ish world where everyone pretty much lives within a Virtual Reality construct that is like a mash-up of Warcraft and Second Life/Sims.  In this world, an egg has been hidden that contains a secret puzzle that will lead users to a multi-million dollar inheritance left by the creator of the video game.  It just so happens that the creator grew up in the 80's and the clues to the puzzle all revolve around 80's trivia and pop culture.

The writing was fine - typical to me of most best-sellers.  It wasn't particularly impressive, but there was nothing wrong with it either.  The story is the main focus of the book, not the writing.  I think the writing can appeal to a wide range of readers, however, which is always a positive.  It's not so difficult that younger readers won't be able to understand or appreciate it, but it's also mature enough for adults to enjoy.  Luke read it too and loved it, but commented that the writing felt "young" to him.  It should be noted that the narrator is in high school, which could be why he felt this way.  I thought the book had a pretty wide appeal.

Entertainment Value
This is where the book excelled for me.  I was totally wrapped up in the story and characters.  Even though I didn't get a lot of the 80's references, I got enough to be fascinated by how detailed the author went.  I also loved the concept of hidden eggs within a video game and the puzzles that the narrator had to solve.  I think the author really committed to the story and LOVED that there were several jaw-dropping moments for me.  Lots of twists and turns and unexpected happenings, which are my favorite sort of happenings.

I highly recommend reading it, even if you aren't a huge fan of 80's pop culture, but especially if you are.  Luke loved reading all the video game references and the storyline is intriguing and exciting even if you aren't as knowledgeable.

I read this one in e-book format from my not-so-local library.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Julie- I'm happy to see that someone else out there knows about Psalty!

  3. I am SO excited that you know who Psalty is! I can still sing every word from Psalty's Camping Adventure.

  4. I love this book soooo much!!! One of my favorite books of all time!!! I have no idea what Psalty is by the way! hahahah!


  5. I requested this book at my library. Thanks for the rec! I appreciate your reviews. You help me sort through and find the best books.
    KD from SC

  6. I've wondered if this is the right book for me but am glad to see that even though you're not super familiar with the pop culture then that you still enjoyed this. I may have to add this to the list for my hubby for Christmas because he expressed interest in it!

  7. My biggest frustration about the book is that it took this long for it to cross my path. I can't figure out how I've never heard of Ready Player One and it was published back in 2011! I think this book appeals not just to people who enjoy gaming, but also to those looking for easier reads with deep meaning.
    Best Reviews for Divorce Lawyer Seattle service