Writing a book review is similar to giving a restaurant recommendation, if I don’t know what you like to eat, chances are you are walking away disappointed, or even worse, hungry. Framing my reviews that way allows me to hold up my oath to anyone willing to read it, if you aren’t a fan of the material presented, why read about it? Certainly not here to waste anyone’s time (even if this website survives on views), which is why we should knock a few questions right off the bat. Did you read the first one? If yes, continue on, if no, I would encourage you to give it a read for the warming bits of pop-culture and possibly skim over the cringe-inducing moments of ‘so nerdy, it’s cool’. Now, for those who watched the film, you may be a bit lost as the challenges in the film and book are different, and there is some backstory that is clipped in true Hollywood style, so I suggest the same, read the first one and then move on. For fans of the first one, if you are looking for more of the same, then are you in luck because Ernest Cline tries to out member berries himself in this one. Lost on the member berries reference? Google the clip from South Park, I’ll wait. See what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, Cline himself even acknowledges the difficulty of writing a sequel to Ready Player One in the section aptly named Acknowledgements, but I don’t think even he can get around the allure of another bag of cash for the rights to this future movie sequel. Weary traveler, there be spoilers ahead, so stop now or forever hold the I told you so.
The book itself is laid out very similarly to the first, we see that the original members of the High Five (RIP DAITO) are rolling deep in the cash, with Art3mis and Wade having a falling out due to Wade’s major discovery of ONI, Halliday’s last secret. Aside from the difficulties of IRL dating that the two lovebirds had to face, the implications of ONI could (do) change the landscape of the OASIS forever! WHAT IS ONI? I’m glad you never asked. It’s a super head band that links your brain directly into the OASIS, no haptic suit or visor required, YOU ARE THERE. Eat an apple? You taste it. Make love? You feel it, with the added bonus of safe sex. Aside from the inability to feel true pain, only slight dullness, you can do anything. It also allows users to basically copy experiences for others to try safely, from surfing a wave to shooting up heroin (No bullshit, it’s in the book). So, while AECH, Shoto, and Wade are all on board, Art3mis deems it too much of an unnecessary addition to a population already addicted to the OASIS. The vote to release the ONI to the masses pushes through and after the 7,777,777 user logs in, a new quest for the Seven Shards of the Soul of the Siren appears. Is there a new villain? Yes. Is there an old villain? Yes. Do you wonder how this quest is going to translate to the big screen? HELL YES!
If this taste of a summary has already got your finger on that Amazon Buy Now button, then enjoy, but if you need more, then here it is. Lord of the Rings, John Hughes, Prince, Tragic Backstory, 80s Arcade Games, 80s Music, Redemption, and the dumbest named sword in literary history are just a few of the many packed references you will find in Cline’s sequel. I for one did appreciate that this novel addresses the inert creepiness of James Halliday and his obsession with his best friends’ wife. So far to say that it forces Wade and the reader to maybe reevaluate some of the ‘heroes’ we look up to in the present time and try not to create a very undeserving pedestal for them to rest on. There were a few other bright spots, but that one definitely did it for me. Not convinced to read it? Perhaps the first trip around the OASIS was enough for you, or maybe just sit back and wait for this to hit theaters (you know it will). As JJ Abrams once said, probably as a lens flare was happening somewhere: “There’s nothing wrong with doing sequels, they’re just easier to sell” Do I think Cline wanted to write a sequel? Probably Not. Was it an easy sell? Absolutely. I’ll see you all back for my review of Ready Player Three: The Search for More Money.
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline