Goodreads Synopsis: 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?
So that is a really long synopsis from Goodreads! (much different than the one from my previous review, huh?)
I really enjoyed this book. A LOT. The references were fantastic; some of my favorite movies were mentioned (Real Genius, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, etc.) and even appeared as major parts to the hunt. I loved reading about the different books, movies, music of the ’80s. Even the explanations for the technology were great. The one thing that I didn’t think was all that necessary was when the record label/production company and year were added (in parentheses) whenever an album or movie was mentioned.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was never a huge video game player, so I didn’t really know a lot of the game systems (and since I was born in the mid-80s I never played most of them). I probably would have had a better appreciation for the book had I been born earlier/played those game systems. But I still really enjoyed the story. I pictured the avatars moving around as if in video games (almost like the Sims, actually), but I’m sure it was cleaner and more realistic-looking than that. hehe
I liked the characters, and especially a certain twist with Wade’s OASIS BFF, Aech. Of course there is a love interest and a bad guy. I think the book would have been just as good without a love interest, though there wasn’t any significant “love” stuff, anyway. The bad guys were seriously bad, no ambiguity at all. Definitely good/bad, black/white, no grey areas when it came to them. But I guess that’s what makes it that much sweeter when the epic battle arises, right?
At first, I was surprised at how the bad guys handled certain situations, not really expecting real attacks in the real world, but then again, with a prize like Halliday’s, some people will do whatever they can, right? And when it’s a corporation with almost unlimited means and resources, it’s practically unstoppable.
The future in this book is very grim and sad. I would want an escape like the OASIS, too. I felt that this book showed what can really happen with computers and technology, not necessarily good or bad, just what is possible. I think it would be great to have a system like OASIS, but maybe not as vast. I mean, kids go to school on there which is all well and good, but actual, physical human interaction is definitely something everyone needs, and I think that is something Wade eventually learns.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and want to thank my blogging friends (Mandy & SJ especially) for recommending it!