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    « Fiendishly Reading: The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark | Main | Currently Reading: "Blood Rights" by Kristen Painter »

    Frodo Lives...err...Long Live Parzival!

    Book:                  Ready Player One

    Author:               Ernest Cline

    Publisher:           Crown

    ISBN/ASIN:         978-0307887436

    Release Date:    Out Now

    Rating:                  Five Stars, Top Eleven of 2011

    Read an Excerpt

    Is it the lure of nostalgia or simply the epic feel of Ready Player One that makes it so deliciously entertaining? It is perhaps, a bit of both. Ernest Cline playfully reminisces while offering up a heady eighties banquet in his futuristic piece about a quest to end all quests that jet-propels the minds and hearts of readers from the very first page.

    I can still remember the very first time I saw Star Wars and Tron, the first time I delved into books that epically moved meWatership Down, The Hobbit, Neuromancer, Holy Fire, Heart of Darkness, even Harry Potter…diving into Ready Player One, with my haptic gloves, visor, and OASIS immersion rig was no different-an absolutely electrifying and unforgettable experience.

    Cline manages to convey a bit of prescience in his portrayal of the world that Wade Watts lives in…a virtual world that is more comforting than a bleak future, where millions grow up in the OASIS, through its schools, its libraries, and its simulated cities and towns-all digitally recreated-its seamless worlds-within-worlds offering up a never-ending adventure. Sound familiar?

    Clines’ futuristic grail quest takes off when the creator of the OASIS and owner of Gregarious Simulation Systems James Halliday dies, thrusting the entire planet into a frenzy (much in the same way Steve Jobs’ demise did). 

    Within the OASIS, Halliday has programmed clues to unraveling a treasure-his treasure-roughly two hundred and forty billion dollars’ worth and a controlling interest of the most powerful company on the planet. All are at stake and up for grabs. One only needs to have an excellent knowledge of the eighties, the background of Halliday’s life memorized, and an unbeatable strategy to unravel the scavenger hunt-like clues hidden within the OASIS.

    Cline plays up his inexhaustible eighties references, as Wade Watts does his pasty-white-best to unravel the clues to three keys left by his idol Halliday-whether it is acting out the scenes in War Games, playing Joust, Dungeons of Daggorath, or playing a perfect game of Pac Man (which is still on my bucket list) on top of competitively racing against thousands of gunters bent on finding the keys for themselves. At their heels an evil multinational company lurks in the wings willing to do anything, include kill, to get at all three keys.

    Cline manages to craft a formidable opponent out of the Sixers, those cretinous suits from innovative Online Industries (IOI) bent on sussing out the keys for their own motely gain and the inevitable control and monetization of the OASIS. 

    With the emergence of the Sixers, Wade must pit his smarts and knowledge against them, and band together his friends and fellow gunters worldwide. With Wade’s selfless perseverance to save the spirit of the OASIS from the Sixers, Ready Player One becomes ceases to be a quest and morphs into a worldwide mission.

    Instead of the billions at stake, the very life blood of the OASIS is threatened and the unified front that Wade and his teammates drum up conjures up visions of every epic fictional battle fought: the war of Middle Earth, the Battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker launching his torpedo into the Death Star’s reactor…to Cline’s Battle of Chthonia and Castle Anorak all thrust the reader from apathy to become a part of something greater. Cline has managed to imaginatively deliver the most essential ingredients to a great story or movie in a shiny, new, wrapper: charity, hope and faith.

    Ready Player One is striking, unstoppable and epically good. There are so many good and genuine aspects to Cline’s novel that I don’t even know where to start.

    Cline’s peak at the future is believable at times with a hint of wry humor (i.e. the Portland Avenue Stacks where Wade lives…is freakishly comical…and yet just a bit sad) Who could imagine poverty-stricken families scraping out a meager existence in RVs stacked high in the sky? Visually it’s like the Jetson’s in HELL or the great garbage avalanche of 2505 in Idiocracy (2006).

    As is his reference to a C-section (cutting an OASIS user out of their apartment and haptic chair) nearly made me roll on the floor laughing and Wades’ stint as an IOI indentured Tech Support employee was insanely good, (almost as good as his maniacal plot to somehow crack the hold of the Orb of Osuvox over Castle Anorak).

    After reading Ready Player One FIVE times, I have to say without a doubt it’s been the best book I’ve read all year. Hopefully, Ernest Cline will channel Yoda’s last words “…there is another Skyw-…”  and deliver an equally geek-worthy sequel. Bravo! Frodo Parzival Lives!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

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