And … I’m back. With Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Thirty years in the future, the ever-worsening energy crisis has made life unbearable for most of the world. Many people retreat into the virtual world of OASIS; they work in there, they go to school in there, and they spend all their free time in there. Then the multi-billionaire creator-owner of OASIS, James Halliday, dies leaving behind a video will stating that all the majority of his wealth and OASIS shares will be left to the OASIS user who can find the Easter egg that he hid in the virtual world. There are three keys and three gates that competitors must find that will lead them to the egg. The video is also filled with tons of references to ’80s movies, music and games. The world goes crazy for the contest but as years go by and no one finds even the first key, interest wanes and only the devoted gunters (as the Easter egg hunters call themselves) are left.
Wade is one of the gunters. Having recently turned eighteen, Wade is unsure of what to do with his dead end life. He lives with his Aunt, who steals anything of value from him, he has no job because the terrible economy, and he’s close to graduate from an OASIS high school. The only friend that he has is Aech, who he met in the virtual world as his avatar, Parzival. Wade has reached a turning point in his life and things get a lot crazier when he figures out the first clue and is the first person to get the first key. But he’s not the only one; a few other gunters figure out the clue and then the evil IOI corporation shows up. IOI means business. They intend to take over Halliday’s company, and thus OASIS, to make it into a money making machine that goes against Halliday’s original vision. And they are willing to do anything to get it, even kill.
I found the two worlds of this book fascinating. The virtual world is richly described and seems limitless. On the other hand, real world is slowly revealed in intriguing bits. This fits in with Wade’s life; he spend most of his time in OASIS, even forsaking sleep at times to avoid going back to his aunt’s trailer. His time is also filled with movies, music, and games from the ’80s. Now, I was born in the ’80s but I am definitely a child of the ’90s but that being said I still got about 90% of the geek reference in this book. It also help that many where more contemporary. I was quite impressed with myself, actually.
Anyway, I loved this book! Will it win the Senior Division of YRCA? I think it has a fighting chance.
What I’m reading now: Thankless in Death by JD Robb, Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann, Mortal Coil (audiobook) by Derek Landy.