“You were born at a pretty crappy time in history.
And it looks like things are only gonna get worse from here on out.”
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
And the biggest let-down of the year goes to… you guessed it. I wanted to love this book, I was so ready for it to blow me away. And then… nothing happened.
Is this a bad book? No.
Is Ernest Cline a bad writer? No.
Did this book nearly bore me to tears? Unfortunately, yes. (Then again, I do cry over pretty much everything nowadays so that’s not really something to go on…)
The biggest problem was that I could not connect to any of the characters, at.. all…. Our main character, Wade, frustrated me constantly. It did get better near the end but by then, the damage was done.
There’s one thing you should probably know about me to fully understand my next point. I do not play games because I get too competitive. I hate them, they make me angry.
Here comes the point.. are you ready? Reading about characters who complete quests while following a step-by-step guide to avoid all challenges… NO. This was mostly the first half of the book, after that it got a little better but seriously… It was all a walk in the park. Just give him the egg already and get it over with.
Once I get annoyed by a book, there’s just no stopping it.
So of course it got worse.
I marked two almost identical passages about sixty pages apart. The first goes: “As I stepped off the bus, I suddenly felt as though a heavy weight were resting on my chest. I was having a hard time breathing. Maybe I was having a panic attack.” The second is: “I suddenly felt ill, and I was also having a difficult time breathing. I realized I must be having some sort of panic attack.” When I read the second one, all I could think was ‘Seriously, you just went through this.. remember?’ You don’t just forget panic attacks. This is something I can not move past. Sorry, it’s either sloppy writing or written by someone who Googled “symptoms panic attack” and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
I get why everyone likes this book, I do. It’s full of 80’s references. There’s action and a quest and a couple of twists and turns. But it did nothing for me. Nothing. In fact, I was glad it was over.
This review got increasingly more negative, didn’t it… Sorry about that. You know I don’t want to tear anyone’s favourites down. I’m mostly disappointed really. Apparently, I don’t like what everyone else likes.. and maybe that’s a good thing.