The Book Junkie

"Ready Player One" is a fun book. It tells the story of a world in the near future that has lost hope, where many people can only find happiness inside a global MMORPG world known as OASIS. They interact with each other via VR goggles and haptic gloves. In this fantasy multiverse, people make friends and enemies via their avatars. Our hero is a teen named Wade (who goes by the avatar name Parzival, after Arthur's knight Parcival), who lives unhappily with his Aunt (and 10 other RV-mates), who attends the public school system that's provided in OASIS. Parzival, as he is known to everyone other than his classmates & teachers in OASIS, is a "gunter." Gunters are OASIS players who, after the death of James Halliday (the creator of OASIS, who was obsessed with all things 1980s) and Halliday's video announcement of a world-wide quest for a secret hidden in somewhere in OASIS, takes on the quest of finding this "Easter egg". Five years after Halliday's death and the start of the quest, Parzival is the first to find the first key to the egg. In the course of his adventures, Parzival becomes friends with several other gunters, who become co-heroes (and heroines).

There's a lot at stake in the hunt for the egg; whoever finds it first will inherit the entire fortune of James Halliday--which is astronomical. The person who wins will have enough money to solve the worlds problems. Or take over the world. Parzival, Aech, Art3mis, and Daito & Shoto, while not a team, are united against IOI, a huge corporation with plans to win the egg and take over OASIS, making it a boring and meaningless sales pitch for itself. Through dangerous--and 80s pop culture-trivia saturated--exploits (including navigating classic video games as part of the game, not just players controlling characters on a screen; as well as battles with enemy gunters), Parzival et al get to exercise their knowledge of gaming and 80s movies, TV, music, and culture to solve puzzles and go further into the maze of the egg hunt.

I really enjoyed reading "Ready Player One." The characters are dynamic and the plot, while not 100% original (multiverses and video game plots aren't new), is a fun twist. The ending was satisfying; the players have learned important lessons through their adventures and have grown as a result. The message of the book is a good one: it's fun to immerse yourself in virtual worlds, but it's a mistake to avoid living your real life in so doing. If you're looking for a book that's fun, well written, and thought-provoking, "Ready Player One" is a good choice. 

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