Ernest Cline

Ready Play Two (Ready Play One #2)

Ready Play Two (Ready Play One #2)

By: Ernest Cline

Blurb:

An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?

Days after Oasis founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Review:

Did Cline increase the references, or did Ready Player One really have this many? Holy shit, Ready Player Two was almost unreadable. Every single page was talking about some kind of 80s entertainment. Oh, they need to go to this place because of…cue a two-page explanation about an obscure arcade game. There had to be twenty pages alone on John Hughes movies and at least double that on Prince. The information dumps were at best mildly interesting, but they did not move the story forward. There were supposed to be relationships between characters, and I was meant to believe that Wade and Samantha were still in love, but that part of the story could have filled two pages.

Also, somehow, Wade became an even bigger asshole. The first chapter is you relieving every stupid decision he’s made in the last three years, and he refuses to acknowledge he might have been wrong. Then at the end of the book, he’s supposed to have changed when he experienced memories from a long-dead woman. I just—no.

I truly wanted to like this book. I wanted past me to have enjoyed something good, but after reading Ready Player Two, I can’t even go back to read Ready Player One to see if it’s better.

I could almost get past all of the references if the ending wasn’t just sooooooo bad. He’s spent the entire book learning why it was a bad idea to upgrade the OASIS, even goes so far as to say that he never logged into it again with the ONI system. Yet, he still “steals” the brain scans of all the dead people who’d used an ONI and sent them off into space. He says they struggled with the decision, wondering if they should ask, but decided that it would take too long to get an answer, so they’d do it anyway. Are you fucking kidding me??? He knew it was wrong, but did it anyway because it’s what he wanted to do.

Then magically, Samantha meets him halfway and says that she may have been wrong about her judgments of him, and he says that she was partially right. Then they’re back together again. Basically, Samantha changes completely during a quest that she wasn’t on half of the time.

They all lived happily ever after, having found love again. Even though they still lived in a world on the brink of total collapse that was addicted to their machine. A world that was suffering from extreme overpopulation, but they all had kids. I just—I can’t understand the complete lack of logic and the character’s absolute selfishness. Wade is the definition of a Gary Stu. Which, I normally have no issues with a Mary Sue character, but he is just so damn unlikeable. I can’t think of a single redeeming quality that he has. Yet in his universe, there are now two versions of him, and he’s getting everything he’s ever wanted.

I love the idea of the OASIS, even the ONI, to a degree. However, there is no denying that they’re drug pushers. They’re selling a drug at cost and then doing little to help their addicts. They have unlimited billions, trillions between the four of them, they’re the largest company in the world, and yet they can’t help with climate change? They know that people are being killed when they log into the OASIS using an ONI, yet they provide only a couple of places around the world for protection? They own the company, a company that makes unheard-of amounts of money through micro-transactions. Why can’t they use that money for good? It talks about the charities that the characters have created, but they’re so focused that it leaves out a considerable section of the population. Basically, they are children and make decisions like children. It was frustrating.

I’m giving this two stars instead of one because I was able to read the whole thing. I skimmed a lot, but I did make it through to the end. I’m being generous because of how much I remember loving the first book.

2/5

Library Haul 02-06-21

I got to go to the library today! It feels like forever, but maybe that’s because the last time was with my kids.

I had Ready Player 2 by Ernest Cline on hold and ready to pickup. While there I picked out two urban fantasies that are supposed to have strong female leads. I don’t have high hopes, mainly because I’m always looking for something like an Ilona Andrews book and so far the closest I’ve gotten is Patricia Briggs. Whom I like, but I haven’t been a fan of her last couple of books. So fingers crossed I love these.

I also found a Jasper Fforde book I’ve never read. So that’s awesome!

I finished the fiction books I had checked out so they’re all returned. Now I just need to read all the nonfiction. I’m working my way through Stuff You Should Know but I keep getting distracted by the paper the book is made out of. I can’t explain it but I freaking love the texture and I keep finding myself stroking it. I’m weird.

Ready Player One (2018)


Ready Player One (2018)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Starring:

Ty Sheridan

Olivia Cooke

Ben Mendelsohn

Lena Waithe

Mark Rylance

Plot:

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

Review:

I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline back in 2011 when it came out and I freaking loved it. I gave it to my dad as a Christmas gift that year and everything. Sure it was packed full of 80s references but it was fun! I will judge all VR by the VR in the game and it will probably never live up to that in my lifetime. I never went back and read it again, even though I own it on hardback, and after watching the movie I’ve realized it did not age well.

Wade Watts, Ty Sheridan, lives in the stacks in Columbus, OH. His parents are dead and his aunt is “raising” him, her abusive boyfriend is clearly the priority though. Wade spends all of his time in the OASIS, which is the VR world. That’s where everyone lives. Wade doesn’t seem to have a job or go to school instead he is a gunter, he hunts for Easter eggs to unlock the dead creator of the OASIS billions.

Wade is a pretty one note character, there is almost no depth here. He lives and breathes Halliday, Mark Rylance, and everything that Halliday loved so that he can win the contest. Somehow, even after thirty years or so, Wade figures it all out and against all odds wins.

Naturally, there’s a girl, Olivia Cooke. There’s a romance here, but you never really figure out why Samantha likes him. She seems to have more depth than him, she wants more, and is leading a resistance or something, and yet she falls for the nerd that can’t tell you anything about the real world. It’s very wish fulfillment and disappointing.

Visually, the movie is shot beautifully, of course, Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really save the movie for me. It was nice to hear the random 80s theme song notes every now and then too. It’s just…the world has changed since this book came out. I’ve changed. Seeing a white boy with no thought to anything outside of old pop culture just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There were lots of changes from the book, there would have to be in something like this, however, I felt like most of the changes were not for the better. All in all, it was a pretty disappointing movie and I’m kind of scared to ever go back and read the book.

2/5

Armada By: Ernest Cline

Armada

Armada By: Ernest Cline

Plot:

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
Review:

This book was ridiculous, right now I’m not sure if it was a good or bad ridiculous, though.

Even though the book started with Zack seeing an alien ship it seemed to take forever for anything to actually happen. There was a lot of explaining about the fact that his dad was dead and how that had impacted his entire life and Cline walked you through Zack’s levels of obsession over his father.

*Spoilers*

A lot of very farfetched things happened in the book, which is fine, sometimes that’s fun, but I think some things went too far overboard. The aliens in this book acted like video game aliens, which Zack realized but no one else seemed to pick up on. Well a couple other people but they hadn’t done anything about it which considering the whole world was in the balance seemed very irresponsible and stupid.

The ending was filled with needless death and while I was crying at the loss I was also pissed off. A lot of people made some very stupid decisions considering they had literally decades to think up solutions. Are we really that stupid as a species?

I think the icing on the cake of over the top ridiculous was when Zack’s mom gets pregnant after one bout of sex with her long dead husband. Seriously? That was unnecessary and more than a bit stupid.

The way the book ended it could very well lead to more books and the creation of a series but that’s exactly how Ready Player One ended and so far we’ve got nothing. The last thing I read was that Cline wanted to write something similar to Catcher in the Rye, but that could have been a joke. God I hope it was. Other places are saying he’s working on a sequel to RP1 so we’ll see what happens. He’s not a particularly fast writer so we have some time.

Anyway, I knew going in that this book wasn’t going to resonate with me like Ready Player One did, the plot just didn’t do it for me, but I loved RP1 so much that I wanted to like this one. All in all I felt like it was okay, but not something I have to own or would likely recommend to people. It’s an idea that’s been done before and I honestly don’t think Cline brought enough new to the table.

I look forward to more by Cline, but I’m keeping my excitement in check for now.

3/5