It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
I ended up enjoying this book much more than I thought I would! I’m not a gamer, so I wasn’t sure if I would ‘get’ the story. While I may have gotten more out of the story if I was a little more into video games and 80’s pop culture, I certainly loved it regardless of my naivety.
I loved the complexity of the contest and how it was paced throughout the book. The info-dump of the contest at the beginning didn’t feel excessive because it was told in context – through Halliday explaining it to the world. I loved all the details we were given regarding OASIS but, again, it wasn’t excessive or pointless.
I thought that it would be another ‘Chosen One’ type of story when we found out that Wade was the first person to get the first clue in the five years since the contest began, but the reasoning for
almost no one else finding it made total sense. However, I did think that after the location of the first key became known, some other ‘gunters’ would’ve been able to find the second one, instead of just the original group. I think that would’ve been a great way to introduce another character or two.
I quite liked Wade as a narrator. He wasn’t an amazing character, but he was decent. He was loyal, honest, respectful, and kind to those who deserved it. All the other main ‘gunters’ were great, too. I loved when we found out who the people behind these avatars were, particularly Aech.
I though Wade and Art3mis’s relationship was really nice. In particular, I liked that it was a side plot and didn’t take too much focus away from the main story. It suited Wade’s character to not have it take precedence over the contest.
Overall, this is a really intense and entertaining story. I was kept on the edge of my seat for a lot of the book – it was incredibly hard to put down. I’d definitely recommend it!