An inspiring and intriguing novel, the book “Ready Player One” is filled with thousands of video game and movie references from the 1980’s and is a page turner for anyone who likes video games, music, or nostalgic pop culture of the 1980’s. The book’s setting revolves around the year 2045, and the world is an ugly place in a desperate energy crisis with unemployment rates higher than ever. There are places called stacks around the world which are like trailer parks, but with thousands of trailers in them, all stacked on top of each other row after row. Almost every single person in this unattractive world uses the OASIS as a means of escape from his or her miserable real life; even school takes place in this immense virtual world.
Right away we meet our main character Wade Watts, also known as “Parzival” in the OASIS. He lives in the stacks of Oklahoma City with his aunt and her boyfriend. Every day, he goes to his hideout which is a van hidden between a pile of cars. In this hideout is his school issued OASIS console and visor. The reader gets a very important message about the creator of the OASIS, James Donovan Halliday, as he or she finds out that he died but put an easter egg into the OASIS. In a recorded message, Halliday explains that the prize for finding the egg is complete control over the OASIS as well as Halliday’s complete fortune. This statement sparks a massive competition around the world to find the egg. “Gunters” are what independent “Egg Hunters” call themselves, but corporations hire scores of professional players to attempt to gain control over the OASIS which is so important and so valuable to almost everyone on Earth. There are three keys hidden that open three separate gates; each key leads to a gate which, when opened, leads to the next key, and both key and gate are hidden by a riddle that must be solved. Five years after the start of the hunt it seems as people have given up on it. One day, Parzival finds the first key and gate, and this causes the whole world to focus on the hunt once again. One corporation called I.O.I is the antagonist in this story, as their goal is to find the easter egg and gain control over the OASIS and the fortune. As if that is not enough, they wish to institute a fee to use the OASIS.
Throughout the course of the book, the reader follows Parzival, discovering the locations of the keys and gates, and additionally, the trials needed to open the gates. The reader also gets to meet the supporting characters of the book which include Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto; this group of four help Parzival in the quest to find the easter egg and defeat I.O.I. The group of five goes through many struggles but together works through these problems, and as a result of the quest becoming extremely dangerous, the reader even witnesses tragedy among the friends.
Without spoiling the ending, the story fascinating; for students who grew up in the 2000’s with parents who play music and movies from the 1980’s, Ready Player One encapsulates all of those interesting aspects of the 20th Century. If one likes science fiction, video games, movies, or really anything pop culture related, he or she should read this book; filled with action, adventure, drama, and even a bit of romance, Ready Player One is perfect for anyone. This book is also being made into a movie on March 30th, 2018; the trailer looks incredible and contains many references to ‘80s pop culture. The movie is directed by Steven Spielberg, so it is sure to be amazing! But if students and members of the Garnet Valley community want to get a vision of the plot before the movie comes out, then grab a copy at the library and read Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”!