How do I begin to review this book? Is it enough if I say - "IT'S FRIGGIN' AWESOME WHAT ARE YOU DOING WASTING TIME READING THIS REVIEW GO READ THE FRIGGIN' BOOK INSTEAD!!!!!"?
I though not. Fine.
It's the year 2045. The world as we know it no longer exists - the ongoing energy crisis has driven everybody poor and on to the streets. Unable to afford a roof over their heads, people are living in trailers stacked on top of each other and sudden gunshots in the dead of the night surprises no one. Wade Watts is a broke, 19-year old orphan who lives with his aunt in one of the trailer "stacks" and hates every minute of that life. To keep his sanity, he regularly escapes his reality and, like millions of people on Earth, enters the OASIS.
OASIS, which started out as a massively multiplayer on-line game, is now a global Virtual Reality which allows people to, literally, have a second life - for free. In the OASIS you can be who you want to be, travel to where ever you want to in the blink of an eye, go on quests (it still retains certain aspects of its original state), get credits for winning them and then trade those credits to buy whatever you want either in the OASIS or the real world, and make friends and interact with other OASIS avatars, all without leaving your couch.
The creator of the OASIS is the eccentric multi-billionaire James Halliday and our story beings when he dies. In his will, he states that somewhere deep within the bowels of the OASIS, he has hidden an Easter Egg
and the person who finds that egg will inherit OASIS as well as his vast fortune. Now Wade just happens to be an avid gamer and worships Halliday. He takes it upon himself to find that egg and joins the quest as an egg hunter or "Gunter". He now has to traverse the length and breadth of OASIS, filled with hidden meanings, 1980's pop culture and video games references, and find that egg before millions of others like him, all hell bent on getting there first.
I LOVED it. You can see by my status updates that I devoured it. Never before have I come across a book plot based on video games and it thrilled me to bits! The book is filled
with references to possibly every video game created before the 90's. Now I'm no gamer geek but I did enjoy Dave and Prince of Persia during the days and I can still whoop anyone's ass at Super Mario Bros. It was sheer fun to read about Wade (or Parzival, his OASIS avatar name) solve the clues set by Halliday and advance through the quest one vintage video game at a time.
One of the things that irked me about the book was the ridiculous amount of name-dropping (Spielberg, Tolkien, Gaiman, Douglas Adams, AC/DC, WHAM!, Rush, Matthew Broderick - you name it!), it got a little too much. Also, the author needs to work on his tension-building skills (between two crucial moments in the book, he wasted about a 100 pages just describing stuff and it threw me off a bit). The evidence of that is in the climax which is a tad, well, anti-climatic.
But you cannot NOT enjoy the rest of the book! You'll want to BE IN the book yourself and solve those clues along with Wade and the rest of the gang. Speaking of which, I loved all three main characters - Wade, Aech and Art3mis. I could relate to Wade and his need for an escape and was rooting for him from the word Go.
I was sad to finish it. I want more! I need more! Gimme a sequel! GIMME A GODDAMN MOVIE!