Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I feel I should explain my history with this book before I actually review it. My cousin [OK, my wife's cousin's husband, who is also an elementary teacher] works at a bookstore and got a pre-release copy of this book. At the time, he was finishing up his Master's degree, working a full-time and part-time job, and reading other books so he passed it on to me thinking I might enjoy it. I was not as busy as he was, but I am a slow reader and prefer to listen to books and I put it off for a while, but had it sitting on the shelf of my classroom. Eventually a high school student of mine picked it up and loved it. I decided at that point, since the book had been released for real, that it would be OK to donate the book to my school's library. The librarian later told me that the book was never on the shelf and the student who read it first told me that he read it multiple times. I decided in the end that I should give it a shot and since I managed to find it on audio, and especially since the audiobook was read by Wil Wheaton. Lastly, I did hear that it was being turned into a movie.
I ended up listening to the book while on vacation and most of it while coming home from vacation. The book produced in me a nostalgia for old video games and the desire to have been immersed in that culture during the age of Atari and just a little before my time. This was somewhat reminiscent of when I read Console Wars which was more of my era of video games. Despite not being able to fully relate to the book, I did enjoy it. I have not made light of my disdain of dystopian novels. However, this one did not annoy me as much as many others have. I think that is in part because a lot of it took place in a virtual world and by the end of the virtual conflict (view spoiler)[the real-world was not suddenly better or perfect (hide spoiler)].
Having said that with as much as the timeline drug out in the novel there were then times where things seemed to get solved way too quickly. Also, the book was of course more than just a story, and I was startled and put-off by the number of agendas that this book was trying to push on youth. I am not opposed to these messages necessarily, but even so I kind of was offended by how vehemently the messages were thrust on me, especially since I'm not sure a young adult would pick up on this so in the end the book left a bad taste in my mouth, despite having been a fairly enjoyable dystopian novel.
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