Let me start this post by assuring you that you don’t have to be a huge video game junkie to like this book. The closest I ever get to a Playstation is for Just Dance games, which isn’t even close to what is mentioned in this novel.
I certainly broke a Book Babies rule with this one…
I judged the book by its cover.
But before I am blocked forever, dear reader, you should know that it was entirely in Cline’s favor!
How can I not pick up a book that has trailers and RVs stacked to the sky in lieu of apartments?! It’s such an imaginative concept! And it’s something I could see being used in a post-apocalyptic future.
The storyline is reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with a dash of The Amazing Race for good measure. But instead of chocolate and candy, iys 2044 and the people of this dank world are competing in a virtual reality called The Oasis for ultimate power and fortune. Wade Watts is our Charlie. He finds the first clue in the game (I’ve got a golden ticket!), launching him to the top of the leader board in a race that some are willing to kill for.
Wade is the perfect protagonist. I couldn’t stop rooting for him, both in his real and virtual states. He had a strong voice, and he was even funny at times. I enjoyed the connections he forged in the virtual utopia, teaming up with various people to win. I think the best part about each character in this story is the fact that they all had their ‘real-self’ and their ‘game-self’. Their avatars were very different from who they are, both in physical appearance and personality. Waiting until the end to reveal the ‘real-self’ of Art3mis and Aech kept me flipping through pages at a rapid pace. I was so surprised by both of their reveals, glad that it was an ending I couldn’t predict. It just made them so much more interesting and three-dimensional! I can’t say anymore, even though I’m dying to discuss it, for I don’t want to spoil the fun you’ll all have reading it for the first time.
The way Cline writes really takes the reader on an adventure. I felt like I was working towards each clue with Wade, and fighting the virtual battles with the team. The end action made my heart race; I was just so excited! Cline paints such a lovely picture in your mind, so vivid that it could be a movie rolling through your mind.
And I really hope this becomes a movie… I’ve heard rumours, but nothing definite yet. Anyone have a confirmation?
The only thing that might throw you off while reader would be some of the references. Cline uses vintage video games to create the virtual reality quests and clues. So unless you grew up in the 80’s or you’re just a huge game history buff, you’ll have to google some of the references. But as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this won’t stop you from enjoying it. Cline explains most of the vintage games as he references them, making sure you know just enough to follow Wade through it. My curiosity took hold, so I hit up google for more details. But this isn’t mandatory! I promise you won’t be lost without a compass… just let Cline be your guide!
Enjoy this sci-fi adventure, Book Babies!