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?
I'm probably the last person on the planet to read this. I definitely feel like it, especially considering the only reason why I even heard of this book was because of the booktube community who preach it.
There are a few things that I loved about this book, and a few things that I definitely had problems with. Mainly the writing and info dump. This book is littered with 1980s pop culture references and a lot of those references are explained right after they are mentioned because this is a book and every of all ages is going to read this and will need to understand. While I definitely felt like we needed the information and background to the most relevant references, I felt like the execution was flat.
The writing style is very plain, almost reading like a textbook but centred around characters. There really isn't much dialogue to begin with (or at all really) and I struggled with that. It took me a fair few sitting to get through this, even though by the end I thought it was a really smart idea/read.
Also, a quick touch on the romance. I wasn't entirely feeling it. Their entire relationship is developed and experienced in the OASIS, which is this virtual reality. They don't even know what the other person looks like. It just felt a little too... Well, I'm a believer in stranger danger and I don't online date so I guess that says where I stand.
However, I felt like this book was really smart, which is where I really enjoyed it.
It's not the smart kind of book where you see it as you read it. It's the kind of smart where you finish it, you sit back, and you go 'yeah, that's... Wow, that's smart'. It makes you think andquestion things. About society, technology, friendships, the value and importance of teamwork where a lot of things nowadays are very much individual or 'on your own'.
Like I said, it's smart.