In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Honestly, I’m not really sure where to start with this review. I guess I need to preface by saying that I wanted to like this book. I mean REALLY wanted to like it. I love video games, I love the 80’s and the idea of living almost exclusively in virtual reality sounds like an amazing combination for a story. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me… at all. I totally respect that there is a HUGE following for this book, and I am sooooooooooooo glad that so many people loved this book. I think that’s great. I really wanted to like it.
The author’s writing style was the biggest problem for me. The book started off strong for the first couple of chapters, but then became a huge info-dump for about 6 chapters. Then it would get interesting again, and then another mega epic info-dump was upon us, until about the last 6-8 chapters. It was great that the author wanted to give detail to world build and help you become part of the book/game, but at times it was just too much for me.
I also found that the author did a poor job of explaining what life was like outside of the major cities, it was almost as if we were supposed to just know that it was a wasteland. The author also was not consistent with their acronyms (GSS, PVP, MMO, etc). He would use the acronym and provide no explanation, and then the next page he would spell it out with the acronym, and then the page after that it would be spelled out with no acronym… It was all over the place.
The other glaring issue for me was the fact that Wade was fighting the sixers and their huge corporation but then was trying to find the egg and in the end became the head of a super-mega-corporation. It didn’t jive for me at all.