It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
When looking at a list of recommended dystopia books to read, this book stood out to me for a couple of reasons. One, there was already a copy of it in the house and two, my other half had read it a couple of times and really enjoyed it. As he’s not a big reader, if he likes something, it’s usually worth reading (except To Kill a Mockingbird which is his favouyrite book, and not one I really liked if I’m honest.) I have to admit… I was a bit disappointed by it. Yes, I’ve given it a 4* rating, and I’ll explain that, but overall, I kind of expected more.
The world that Cline has created is, like most Dystopia books, is something that a reader could imagine happening in the future, even the Easter Egg hunt that our main character, Wade (Parzival), is on along with almost every other person in the world.
Imagine a world where near enough everything you do is done via the OASIS, a virtual reality created by two people. Go to school, work, entertainment, and even romance. In the technological age we’re in today, something like this isn’t that far fetched. The world building Cline has done, is immense and brilliant. The 80’s references will appeal to readers of a certain age just for the nostalgia factor, where gamers in particular (the other half) will get a kick out of the entire storyline.
The character of Wade, and his friend Aech and love interest, Art3mis, are regular people who have been sucked into the hunt. Wade does it to escape his crappy real life, which isn’t surprising. The mix of supporting characters, both good and bad, are well thought out and support the story really well, but the best character of the all is the elusive James Halliday. The co-creator of the OASIS, and the instigator of the hunt is fascinating and mysterious. Cline certainly makes the reader want to know more about him, sometimes more so than the living characters taking part in the story arc.
The reason I was quite a bit disappointed was the sheer amount of detail. A lot of the back story and other detail felt like info dumps in places. There’s a lot of information that Cline gives us, and I often found myself skimming small sections.
For me, the best part of the book is the third part. This is where the action that has slowly been building, really amps up. This is the part the readers want to get to, to know how the egg hunt s going to pan out.
If you like dystopia, then I would definitely say give this a shot, but be prepared for information overload. If you’re a movie buff, 80’s music fan, or a gamer, then this is certainly a book you’d get a kick out of. There are talks about this being made into a film, and that could be amazing (or downright awful), but how the studio will get round all the copyrights makes me wonder if it’ll ever happen.