Do You Want to Play a Game?
Well, I’m officially out of my slump. Alright, I admit it, I was not on a mini break, I was in a slump, but that’s all over now, so let’s move past it.
So, why so long between updates you ask? I finally pulled myself out of my slump, but then I couldn’t be bothered to stop reading long enough to write my thoughts down on the books I’d meant to review. Then I’d be 5 books out from the book I’d meant to review and could barely remember the finer points of the previous plots or even my feelings about said points. Oops.
Never fear, I am back and ready to chatter on and on, endlessly about lovely, lovely books, mainly because everyone who knows me is sick to death of me and my books.
Anyway, moving on. A while back I had the chance to see the movie Ready Player One, based on the book by Ernest Cline. The book had been on my TBR for quite a bit of time, I’d actually owned a copy of it for over a year, so I decided to go against reader protocol and see the movie, then decide if I still wanted to read the book. I know, I know, I’m quite shocking indeed (I fear that I’ve been reading far too much historical romance, that last sentence was most assuredly typed with a British accent).
The movie itself was a lot of fun. I enjoyed watching it, sure there were some plot holes and a premature declaration of love, but it was directed by Steven Spielburg and is full of 80s nostalgia and great music. An entertaining time was had by all, enough so that I decided that I would definitely get around to reading the book.
I actually started with the audiobook. It is read by Will Wheaton, who turned out to be the perfect reader. I worked my way through the first quarter of the book very slowly, exclusively on Audible, listening while going about tasks around my home. When I say slowly, I mean slowly, a couple of weeks in fact. After powering through a selection for my book club in one day, I declared my slump officially over and decided then and there that it was high time I finished Ready Player One and so I did.
The book is about Wade Watts, a teenage boy in the nearish future. The world has become a pretty terrible place due to overpopulation, pollution, fuel shortages etc. The only relief can be found in the OASIS, an online virtual reality where the users can be anyone they want. The creator of the game dies, leaving his empire to the whoever can solve his easter eggs and win the ultimate prize. After Wade becomes the first person to complete the first of the three challenges, he faces dangers which have real world consequences.
I will now say in my most lofty bookish tone, the book was better!
The movie had so many odd changes from the book, especially considering that author Ernest Cline is credited as a cowriter on the screenplay, I can only deduce that not having the rights to certain film properties ultimately hampered the film. I really did like the movie, but the book was just so much better.
The characters in the movie are very one dimensional, while the characters in the book are given time to develop and are much more rounded. In the book, the romance feels real, not rash. The game was also much more complex and interesting. While the segment in the movie featuring The Shining was visually very cool, the War Games challenge in the book was much more fun. I’m trying to be relatively spoiler free, so I won’t get into all of the changes, but I will say cryptically that I thought that Wade’s completely mental kamikaze mission at IOI in the real world was so much better than what made it to the screen, especially as it involved a completely different character in the movie. Also, why is Wade’s best friend Ache so much older in the movie? That was weird, Ache and Wade are supposed to be the same age.
It was a difficult book to classify. Is it sci-fi? Fantasy? Let’s just call it Nerd Lit. There were a few times that the details about the retro video games and 80s movies were a little much for me, but all in all, the book received 4 stars from me.