Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
It's 2044 and the world is a mess. Oil prices are so high no one can afford to run cars, world politics are in shambles, and all citizens are using an online utopia OASIS like a drug to escape. When the creator of OASIS dies, his will is broadcast to every user and he tells all that there are three keys hidden in the online world that those worthy can find. Once the finder has all three keys and passes three gates, they will receive the creator's inheritance, which is in the multi-billions of dollars. Not surprisingly, many people set off to try and hunt these easter eggs, including one Wade Watts, a teenage boy who lives in the stacks with his aunt. There's also a large corporation hunting the eggs and everyone knows that if they find them, they will take over OASIS and change it forever. This hunt isn't as easy as it seems though, with many different worlds to work through, it's hard to pin point where exactly these eggs could be. Over five years go by until Wade, avatar Parzival, finds one. Then the hunt is really on.
This book focuses on many elements from the 80s, supposedly the favourite decade of the OASIS creator, to help tell the story. I didn't understand all of the references and knew very few of the video games that were being mentioned. Despite this, it didn't take away much from the story for me.
Really, this book was just pure entertainment. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know if Wade was going to get to all of the keys and gates and where they were. Sure, there are tones in the book about how we should prefer reality over virtual reality and shouldn't waste our resources but nothing really tops how exciting this book was. The geeky element added some flair for me, having a background in computers, which probably tipped me more towards liking the premise of the book than the average person.
I think the only thing I could fault this book for was re-using challenges from previous eggs/gates for the next one. I expected each to be different which would make it more challenging and was a little disappointed when there was some repetition.
First Line: "Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest."