- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 46 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 16, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005HG7BWC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Ready Player One Audiobook – Unabridged
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I will admit that when I first read the synopsis of this book I didn’t think it was my jam. My best friend convinced me otherwise and boy was she right! I loved it! Like really loved it. I am not sure if I would have felt the same way reading the book versus listening; I think since I enjoyed the narration that I was more engaged. Either way I now can’t wait for the movie coming out in March.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is about a highly introverted billionaire, James Halliday, whom leaves his fortune and control of his company to one lucky winner of a treasure hunt he has created inside the virtual reality environment (the Oasis) that he has also created (Wow, realized I wrote a sentence that could easily become some sort of tongue twister). Halliday loves the 80’s: its music, movies and video games…if you don’t, well then you probably would not have had a chance at winning the prize (and would not enjoy this book/audiobook as much).
As someone who is not typically a fan of this genre, what Cline and Wheaton did with this story kept my attention. I did not harp too much on the numerous stereotypes within the book (stereotypical traits of gamers, nerds, and the like) and took the story for what it was (well, to me at least): an entertaining story that brought me into a new world that had me fully engaged from the start. I will certainly be expanding my reading selections moving forward.
Still need convincing (or just enjoying my review)?: One of the book’s main characters is a strong female heroine who is super smart and kicks butt.
Movie will be released March 29, 2018…countdown is on! Who’s coming with me?
Here comes the plot set-up, and maybe a ***SPOILER ALERT*** now.
The year is 2044, and the global population endures its fourth decade of economic collapse. Huzzah. In a world of fading prospects and rapidly dwindling natural resources, everyone's favorite pastime is the Oasis, a massive, all-inclusive multiplayer online game that had metamorphosed into a globally networked virtual reality universe what's now habitually accessed by nearly everyone on the planet. The Oasis has become such a panoptic entity, it's become synonymous with the Internet. In the Oasis, kids attend virtual school, business offices can purchase virtual landscape to promote their wares, virtual concerts are staged. Who wouldn't prefer this utopian cyberspace over bleak reality? When they can look for James Halliday's fabled Easter egg, nestled somewhere in the vastness of Oasis?
Eccentric genius video game designer - and creator of Oasis - James Halliday, before dying, recorded a video in which he challenges all comers to seek out his hidden treasure, to first unearth and then figure out the clues he'd embedded in the fabric of his Oasis program. His Easter egg, when found, conveys untold riches and power and unfettered administrative control over the Oasis. Overnight, the hunt for Halliday's treasure became the new global recreation. Halliday's addiction with 1980s pop culture was well documented, and so, too, in their feverish pursuit did these Easter egg hunters - nicknamed "gunters" - immerse themselves in Halliday's obsession, triggering a global revival of 1980s culture. But years and years would elapse before the elusive first clue would surface. Meanwhile, the gunters developed into figures of ridicule.
In the slums of Oklahoma City, in the Stacks - a decaying community in which run-down trailer homes are stacked on top of each other - 18-year-old orphan Wade Watts ekes out a miserable existence. Reclusive and anti-social, Wade is a low-level but dedicated gunter, a walking talking encyclopedia of vintage 1980s facts and trivia. He realizes that his only hope for a better life is to win the game. And so he perseveres when so many have given up. And, even though he's only a self-declared "third level wimp," he works out the location of the first clue. It's a life-changing thing.
The virtual scoreboard allows everyone to track his and other competitors' progress. Wade - or, rather, his avatar Parzival - becomes an instant worldwide celebrity - making him the target of fellow gunters and groupies and the media and, worse, of sinister corporations hungry to seize control of the Oasis. In his quest for Halliday's holy grail, Wade Watts - alliteratively named by his comic book-reading father - must call on every bit of his tech savvy and knowledge of 1980s culture to outwit his competitors and enemies. He is an awesome character that boasts impressive measures of pluck and resourcefulness and audacity in the face of frightening odds. And Wade Watts only becomes more awesome once he's compelled to venture out into the real world for survival's sake.
If the cyberpunk yarns of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson tend to intimidate you, be at ease with Ready Player One. Ernie Cline has crafted an immensely accessible story. He makes you swim in nostalgia. I'm not a 1980s buff, but I'm an old cat who actually lived his childhood thru the '80s, and it is so much fun trying to catch all of Cline's references. Ready Player One is a well-told, richly realized, and incredibly satisfying adventure, one populated by appealing characters. There's even a sweet love story. Wade engages in an online flirtation with a talented fellow gunter named Art3mis, and so we get a peek into Wade's gnawing doubts as to what the person beneath the Art3mis avatar is really like (and even what she really looks like). But that's just misdirection. It's another character who drops the startling reveal.
"Unputdownable" isn't a real word, yet it's the perfect adjective for this book. I think that everyone, at some level, has a grain of geekness in them. If you've ever envisioned scenes of your favorite cartoons or animes interacting, if you've once loved a movie so much that you've memorized entire passages of its dialogue, or been influenced by a rock song to the extent that you'd picked up a guitar to learn the chords... Ernie Cline revives these feelings. Ready Player One moves like a locomotive, and there are scenes in it that will absolutely explode your nerdy brain. Ready Player One was a New York Times Bestseller. It's soon to be a blockbuster motion picture what's directed by Steven Spielberg, and, self-deprecating guy that he is, good luck to him trying to tamp down on the book's references to his movies. I'm hyped for the movie. But the book came first, and the book will have an even more special place in my nerd heart. It's easily in my top five favorite reads ever. Ready Player One, yeah, an immersive, imaginative, childhood-mining, unputdownable read. Armada, not so much.
I probably would have given it 3.5 stars had there been that option. But if you are looking here to see if it might interest a reader outside of the genre, I say give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.