Ready Play Two (Ready Play One #2)
By: Ernest Cline
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.
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.