The year is 2044, and everyone is hooked up to an all-encompassing virtual reality program called the OASIS. The world itself has become broken and desolate beyond repair, thus pushing humans to full involvement in virtual living. Everything is available on the program. And the original creator, upon his death, left his entire fortune to the one lucky player who can beat all his challenges and find the egg at the end of the hunt. The prize? $280 billion. And an all-powerful, eternal avatar on the OASIS.
I really wasn’t sure if I would like this book, but seeing the movie trailer recently piqued my interest. I am glad I gave it a shot, as it was a delightful and enthralling departure from my usual reading. This one reveals in geek culture. I don’t game at all, nor do I hold any sort of nostalgia for the 1980s, but I still had buckets of fun. The main character, Wade, is a cool cat, as are his online friends. I was with them from the start.
I did have a few minor problems, though. I could have done with perhaps a bit more character development — I’m thinking all the characters not named Wade. His friends are fleshed out a bit, but not enough for my liking. Still, this is primarily an action/adventure/techno thriller, which means in-depth character development isn’t the first priority. That’s fine.
There’s also a bit of instalove here, and that grates my nerves. In fact, said instalove almost wrecked the ending for me, but whatever. These characters are teenagers and teenagers are prone to cheesy displays of affection and emotion. It’s fine. I sort of expected it from this, a YA novel in adult fiction clothing.
I enjoyed this one a lot. Cline’s sheer imagination is a power to behold, and the futuristic universe he has created is awe-inspiring and a lot of fun, even to someone who doesn’t like sci-fi — like me. If you’re feeling a rollicking geeky ride filled with 1980s references, try this out.