Where to even being? I went into this book expecting it to be a good read, what i didn’t expect was for it to fulfil my every Geeky dream. While it was a slow burn, it was the kind of slow burn that made you glad you waited every second you did, because the ending is immensely satisfying. This story follows the journey of Wade Owen Watts, a kid with the coolest initials ever living in the futuristic equivalent of a trailer park (trailer vans stacked onto of each other high enough to tower over skyscrapers) who is attempting to be the winner of the ultimate treasure hunt. But first some context.
The world that Ernest writes about has basically gone to hell, there’s pollution, poverty, starvation, drug abuse and the eradication of society as we know it. Not exactly “Disney Land” material. Everyone’s way of escaping their crappy reality is to login to this gaming system called OASIS. This system works as an online digital world which people use as both a gaming platform, and education platform and a business platform. Its basically a world embedded in 1’s and 0’s. The man responsible for the success of this game is named James Halliday who is a billionaire in a world of poverty. Upon his death, instead of a will leaving the company, OASIS and his wealth to someone he knew, he left a trail of three keys leading to three gates that all lead to the final prize. To find a key, gives the clue to the corresponding gate and completing the challenge within the gate reveals the next clue to find the next key. This sparked a culture amongst those who live in the OASIS. The people who spend their lives trying to find the first key and being their journey to finding the final gate are called “Gunters”. These Gunters live by a shared code of respect for each other, Halliday’s creation and a love of 80’s pop culture. They also share a hatred for a group of people also on the quest to the finish line who are called “Sixers”. These “Sixers” work for a company called “IOI” and whose bosses wish to turn this free platform into a way of making money and making sure that only the rich could use OASIS.
The general flow of the book is a slow burn leading up to a satisfying ending was admittedly a little hard to read. As someone who has not yet picked up a gaming console the vocabulary was a little difficult to grasp at first; but once I got into the flow of the story it was relatively easy to understand the lingo and get into the character’s from of mind. Wade Watts is a beautifully written character who is both relatable and sweet. He is a very dedicated and wholesome nerd who lives and breathes OASIS, being only in his teenage years he has seen a lot of what the world has to offer and is quite happy with living in a virtual reality, and has given up on any ideas of trying to save the world, in fact, he reveals that if he were to inherit Halliday’s fortune he would build a rocket-ship to try and find a new world to populate. So, essentially in the beginning he is an overweight, nerdy character with only one friend to calls his own and a low level character. Throughout the book he evolves as a character enormously, he is still loveable nerd, but his friendship circle has expanded, he started caring more about his health and safety and he found a home to call his own; he also power-ups his character enormously. his evolution is one that makes your heart warm, but is subtle enough to be believable and to have a strong emotive response as it feels as if you as a person and the reader are growing along with Wade.
Even though it feels at some point within the novel that the ending is pretty obvious, the book does not cease to surprise by adding plot twists and turns throughout the story that really turn all of your assumptions about the characters and story on your head. Each new character that Wade befriends or interacts with has a compelling outline that really evokes emotions within the reader and makes you want to get to know the world and the gamers within it even more. It is definitely a book I would recommend and consider re-reading.
Til next time,