In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
I REALLY enjoyed this ready. Was this the most unique premise? No. Did it fall into some stereotypes? Yes. But overall, I found the read a really enjoyable experience. I know some folks were disappointed with the way the book unfolded, but when you read it as a young adult book a lot of those annoyances drop away for me. This is not a science fiction novel on the same level of, say Heinlein, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not a great book in its own right.
Wade is an imperfect hero who grows and develops through the story and I really enjoyed seeing how he changed. I also felt that some of the stereotypes fell away or were lessoned as the characters were discovered in real life. In a sense, the competition forces all of them to become more engaged in the real world and learn how to handle everything associated with it. You can have an epic video game experience, embrace your nerd-dom AND still have a pretty fantastic life.
Warning: Contains references to violence.
Rating: 5 stars!
Who should read it? Science Fiction, 80’s and young adult fans!