‘Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard of the contest. I was in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in, on my video feed that James Halliday had died during the night.
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.
When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune – and control of the OASIS itself.
Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on – and the only way to survive is to win.
What I thought:
I should preface this by saying I’m a geek. I’m a Ravenclaw and will dream of where I would travel in the TARDIS. I read fanfic. I write fanfic. Being a geek is part of who am and although I’m not a massive game player I’ll play the odd few (mostly 2D RPGs) and when I get into them, I really get into them. On that note this book was made for people like me. It’s all about the enjoyment of fandoms, of knowing the smallest detail about your favourite film, or exploring all of the side lines of a quest before bothering with the story line. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else apart from a puzzle adventure RPG Game in a virtual reality. Yes there are guns and places where it can and does become more of a ‘shoot em up’ type of game although it’s more Wade trying to get out of those situations then actually shooting. He gets loads of gold for solving the first clue and one of the first things he does is buy himself a flying Delorean, just because it’s cool.
Set 30 years in the future in a world where you spend almost all of your life, including education, in a virtual reality you can see that although technology has moved on people haven’t. There are whole planets where you can be in Middle Earth, or go to Hogwarts. Places where magic works and tech doesn’t or places the other way round. For the right money people can visit wherever they want, and the only cost is travelling around the OASIS (virtual world), accessing it is free.
This is where the ‘rebellion’ section of the book comes in, if any of the I-5’s (people who are playing on behalf of a company) win the contest then the company will own the OASIS and make people pay for access, suddenly this world, and knowledge, is not longer free. Wade has a few friends through the contest but they are all lone players, refusing to share information with each other. For me although the stakes are high it’s not about rebelling against a system, it’s about the difference between a lone player playing a game and a guild playing with access to, and using, all the cheat codes. Wade and his friends are all aware of what will happen if one of the I-5s win but they still want to go alone.
(On this note this is where the film trailer MASSIVELY worried me. They looked like they were making it more about a rebellion and going down the ‘Hunger Games’ route. Which is a great book, but a very different type of book)
Why I read it:
I wanted to read it before the film came out. It’s a book I had previously kept picking up and putting back whenever I went book shopping. And then the poster came out. That ugly poster. Can we all just look at his leg for a minute? URGH. I HATE this poster so I did something I would never normally do and I bought the book with the film cover to fulfill the ‘ugly cover’ category. Luckily I can’t see it when it’s in my bookcase but while I was reading it, I would pull a face every time I saw it.
(They have now changed the poster and although it’s not great it is MUCH better)
I loved the unabashed geeky-ness of this book. And the amount of depth that the characters go into in their hunt for the Easter Egg and the keys. It’s almost all 80’s references so a large chunk of them went over my head – I’m a 90s girl – but that didn’t change the fact I had a ball reading this book. I’ve now bought Cline’s other book and am looking forward to reading that too.
Would I recommend: If you’re geeky and enjoy puzzle sci-fi type of adventures then I think this book is for you.
Popsugar: Set on a different planet, book with an ugly cover, cyberpunk.
Read Harder: Cover you hate.
As always please let me know if you enjoyed the book or if you now want to read it. Let me know if you didn’t like the book either, I’d love to know why
In a break from just reviewing books I think I’ll do a short follow up blog for what I think of the film when I go to see it in the next week or so. Like I said, the trailer massively worried me because I think this book deserves a good film but it’s all about referencing other franchises so I’m not sure how they are going to pull it off.
TaTa for now