It's the year 2044 and the world has drastically gone down hill. Most people escape to a virtual reality world known as OASIS, and our main character Wade Watts is no different. OASIS is basically his childhood, his home. He has most of his memories in OASIS, including ones of his late mother. OASIS was created by James Halliday, who dies and in his death leaves an egg hunt inside the program with a large sum of money waiting for someone to crack the riddles. Wade dreams to win the prize and use the money to get himself and the people he cares about safely away from the wreck that is Earth.
I read this book back in college, and when I discovered there was going to be a movie adaptation I really wanted to refresh my memory of what happens. The recent trailer that came out motivated me to finally read it, and although I liked it, I found myself not liking it as much as I did when I read it in college.
First, the characters. I really found myself not liking Wade. He kind of drove me insane for a good chunk of the book. His obsession with Art3mis was borderline creepy and made him stop focusing on the contest, which really annoyed me. The amount of time between the first gate and the second gate was insane, especially since he was half-assing it. I did like his friends Aech and Art3mis but we don't get a lot of them until the third act.
There's a lot of waiting around, which got boring and I found myself skimming. Because we are in Wade's perspective, and since I am not the biggest Wade fan, I found myself not caring as much. I would have liked to see more of his friendship with Aech. Also, the romance between Wade and Art3mis felt forced. Time passes in chunks, and we are told that they've been kind of dating for a while. But we as readers haven't had enough time with them as friends, never mind a possible romance. So it was hard to believe that Wade was already at the "I love you" phase, which enforces how creepy he was with her.
I was mostly interested in the actual contest parts. The challenges and riddles were really fun to read but they seemed to be over really quickly and then we were back to more of the boring areas of the story. I do have to say, despite being annoyed with Wade, I did find myself really wanting him to succeed. I was rooting for him and his friends, so I must have liked him enough to have these feelings. The last act was the best part, and I wish the rest of the book was as good, because then I'd easily give this a higher rating.
I think this book is going to be a fantastic movie and I'm really excited to see how it translates into film. Although I am happy I was able to re-read the book, a part of me kind of regrets doing it. The reason being I absolutely loved it in college. So although I did enjoy it this time around, I must have changed as either a person or a reader (or both) because it didn't click with me the way it did originally. Either way, this book isn't as much of a favorite as it once was, which is a bummer. Especially since I went into re-reading this book completely sure I'd love it.
Overall, I do recommend Ready Player One. I think it has a really awesome concept and although I had some issues with the characters and pacing, I am mostly happy I got to experience the story again. I cannot wait to see the movie.