Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Set in the year 2044, when the damage of climate change has become irreversible and people are having to live with the consequences, a teenager named Wade tries desperately to escape into a better reality than the one he’s been born into.
This virtual reality, named the ‘Oasis’, is Wade’s way of living a different life, away from the real life struggles he faces. It is a form of escapism for him, and provides him with adventures he otherwise doesn’t have. These adventures all circulate around one goal: finding the egg. It provides Wade with “a goal and a purpose. A reason to get up in the morning. Something to look forward to.” This virtual egg has remained hidden by the Oasis’ creator Halliday for years, and the path to finding it involves several virtual challenges relating to Halliday’s life and interests, which Wade has dedicated himself to studying. Wade describes finding the egg as “something worth doing. A dream worth chasing”, because not only would it give him happiness through the feeling of accomplishment in the Oasis, but a great deal of power and fortune too. The Hunt to find the egg is the one thing Wade Watts lives for. Until he meets Art3mis…
Art3mis is the avatar name of another player he admires, not only for her power in the Oasis, but her knowledge and dedication to the Hunt also. Throughout the challenges, Wade’s thoughts and feelings towards her grow stronger, yet the pair have never met before face-to-face. During the Hunt, Wade’s mission gradually changes from hunting for the egg to hunting for Art3mis, to find out more about her and meet her in real life. This is when Wade realises, “as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”
Cline’s novel takes the reader on not one, but two types of adventure. Through tense virtual dungeons and dragons labyrinth quests to the adventures of real life. Wade changes from hating the real world feeling like there is no hope left for him, to seeing there is beauty which still lies hidden within it. That is the true egg to be found in this book.
My Goodreads rating: 4/5*