Friday, April 17, 2020

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The audiobook of Ready Player One wowed me. The story beautifully wove together a tale of friendship, courage, love, and yes, '80s trivia. It added in evil corporations and the many ills facing society and the planet, ramped up a good bit.

It was heavy on '80s video game references, which isn't something I'm normally all that interested in, but the way it played out in the book worked for me. I was alive and well in the '80s, but was never that interested in games, and we were way too poor to have a home system. I did hit the arcade a few times, though, and was all about the Pac-Man and Galaga. That's about as deep as I go into '80s video games. And yet this story, based largely around games, worked for me.

The audiobook narration by Wil Wheaton elevated what was already a good story. He knocked it out of the park and then some. If you've listened to many audiobooks, you know the narration can add or detract from your enjoyment. In some cases great narration gives the audio version a separate life from the printed form. I think that's the case here – if you've already read the book, you'd likely enjoy giving it another pass in audio format to find a whole new pleasure in the tale.

I also have to add that yes, I was a Star Trek fan back in the day, and remember watching Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher. Lest you think that's why I rave about his star-turn as a narrator here, I have to admit that, well, I always found the character of Wesley Crusher a bit annoying. I initially saw that as a possible argument against hearing him read this book. But then I played the short sample on Audible and decided the audiobook was worth a go due to the glowing reviews. I'm ashamed to admit now that I doubted him, but I do so to illustrate that my opinion of his performance here is not distorted by a Trek fan's rose-colored headphones.

Another plus is the book didn't forget to include the female gamer (smart, funny, kick-ass) and didn't feel the need to make female characters look like your typical video game vixens, either. Nice touch.

I tip my hat in deference to Ernest Cline and Wil Wheaton for the wonderful work done on this book, in both the writing and the narration. But also, screw you guys! You know how much sleep I lost staying up too late listening to this?! I didn't turn it off until 4 am one night! But, ya know, thanks. Really.

Note: I read this book in 2015 shortly before I started book blogging. I reviewed it for Goodreads, though, and am belatedly adding the review of this wonderful book here.

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