Plot (From back cover): 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. But 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.
My thoughts: If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be fun. This is the book you want to pick up if you want to get lost in a fun world of adventure. I really loved almost everything about this book.
The Good: This book has tons of 80s pop culture references, which made it so much fun. I was born in 1980 and remember playing some of the Atari games mentioned in the book…I also loved the movie references. I found myself googling some of the unfamiliar ones and loved learning things that I didn’t know. Wade, the protagonist, was extremely likeable…he was the kind of character that you have to root for. The world building was perfect, I was able to picture everything that was described so vividly and found myself wishing that OASIS was a real thing. The author points out some of the negative things about living in a virtual world, which I really appreciated. It was a bit scary to realize that the world in this book could easily become a reality based on where we are today.
What I didn’t Like: My main gripe about this book was with 2 pages in the beginning of the book. The author presents his political and religious views in a very “ranty” kind of way that seemed very out of place and uncharacteristic for Wade, the narrator. These pages weren’t relevant to the story and seemed out of place. After reading this, I became very disenchanted with the story and it took me a while to start enjoying it (I even considered dropping it because I found it very offensive). If those 2 pages would have been omitted, this would have easily been a 5 star book for me. I also felt like the last 100 pages dragged a little bit, the action scenes felt a bit too long (but I’m not a huge fan of action scenes).
My Rating: 4/5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book to almost anyone, especially if you loved the 80s (who doesn’t???) or if you’re a gamer.