Here is the thing, I haven't had a lot of time to read in the past 6 years. Between having Rory, changing careers, having Jinora, moving to another country, moving back, working full time, being a full time Mom to toddlers, and other general life insanity - there just hasn't been a lot of time for it. Now, I don't mean to make that sounds like I haven't read any books. I have, in fact, devoured a great many books.
However, because I don't have much extra time, I have felt like I need to only read books that are edifying, teaching, nonfiction, biographies, etc. When I finished Ready Player One, my husband pointed out that I have not read a fiction book since I read all three Hunger Games books in under a week when I was pregnant with Rory, over 6 years ago. Now, that isn't exactly true because I read the kids books all the time which are mostly fiction and I have reread a couple of my favorites, but you get it. It's been awhile since I picked up a fiction book for myself.
I recognize that I am a little behind the ball with this one, but it was on the "Recommended" shelf at my local library as I picked up Jurassic World from the Holds section, and curiosity got the best of me. I had seen the trailer for the movie and knew a bit about the premise of the book from other reviews and just general internet chat. I love a good dystopian novel just like the rest of you, so Ready Player One was bound to be my jam.
Ready Player One
Upon flipping open to page one, the concept was what grabbed me more than anything else about this book. Like I said, I am a sucker for dystopian novels. The introduction and creation of the Ready Player One universe is a bit slow and there is almost too much background information given at the start of the book. It's wasn't bad, but I wasn't enthralled either. However, once the plot pace began to quicken, so did my interest.
I'm not going to give a summary or do spoilers - if you don't know anything about the book at this point, you can look the trailer up on YouTube and get a (dramatic and inaccurate) general idea.
I was born in 1989, so I didn't grow up in the 80's - however, like any good punk rock teen, I went through a strong 80's phase in Junior High/High School. I watched the gamut of John Hughes flicks, wore the appropriate gear, listened to a myriad of punk and girl rock, and enjoyed the number of cartoons from that era in syndication. I was also a huge nerd, with an affection for D&D, comics, and obscure Japanese cinema. And then I married an even bigger nerd. Needless to say, the novel's obsessive 1980 references did not fall flat for me.
Initially I was kind of disappointed that there weren't more deep references (things I didn't already know or had to look up), but the further along in the story you get, the more obscure the shout outs become. I enjoy that, it helps me believe the characters and plot.
If Orson Scott Card & John Green had a novelist child, it would be Ernest Cline. His characters and their dynamics are very Looking For Alaska/Paper Towns with a futuristic Ender's Game aspect pushing the novel forward. The characters are consistent, if not deep, and have guiding principles that grow and shift as the individuals grow. The plot is plausible, if not believable, and the villain is a logical one, which helps readers enter into the universe Ernest Cline has created. Nothing about the story was too fantastical, but because of the Virtual Reality game, it allows for the fantastical to occur.
All of these things lend to a solid book. It wasn't the greatest novel ever written, but it was a wonderful book that I devoured and would read again. I also think this book is an excellent stand alone and am pleased that I haven't heard chatter about a second, which might (probably) undermine the quality of this novel. Overall it was great. A fresh perspective on the dystopian future I so love to read about with likable characters and a believable plot inside a plausible universe.
Basically, I dug it.
Join me for July Book Club!
Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World by Ben Hewitt
Pick it up and read along!