08 June 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: Ready Player One

Every now and then a book comes along that is just a pure and absolute joy to read....Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is that kind of novel.  When I was first invited to participate in a blog tour to celebrate the book's release in paperback on June 5, I was hesitant.  I'm not entirely a child of the 1980s (I was born at the end of 1978) - would I "get" the references, and the humor, and the "in-jokes"?  I've never played Dungeons & Dragons, so would a book about immersive virtual reality antics hold my attention?  I agreed to do the tour because my husband (born in 1975, and a die hard fan of all things 80s) was interested in the book, and I figured at the very least he could read it and tell me about it.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I was hooked by page three.  And that is not hyperbole - I was seriously entranced.  Laughing out loud, reading snippets to my husband, giggling to myself, and stopping to do the whole "remember when.....?" walk down memory lane.   It was next to impossible to put the book down and go to bed.   I got up the next morning and finished it before I did any other household chore.  And then I made my husband start it the second he got home from work.

If you don't have any idea what the book is about, here's a brief synopsis from the book jacket:

In the year 2044, reality is in an ugly place.  The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines - puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize.  The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win - and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

Ok, let me be clear. That little tidbit does not even begin to scratch the surface of the sheer awesomeness of this book.  Cline manages to pack ALL of my childhood favorites (hello - Ms. Pacman at the pizza parlor, anyone?) into this book, without making it seemed contrite or as though the book is pandering to its audience and just trying to cram stuff in there.  These are characters I wanted to root for (and did), villains to be despised, and a reality that wasn't that hard to visualize as possible.  I could not put this book down, and honestly will probably pick it back up to re-read very soon.  Especially since Ernest Cline announced this:

Holy toads!!!  An Easter Egg Hunt??  To win a Delorean?  How cool is that?  The catch is, you can really only play along if you have the book.....and everyone needs to have a copy of this book in their home.  So to help you out, I'm going to give you a chance to win your own copy (courtesy of Broadway Paperbacks)!  Just leave me a comment here by June 13 at 3:00 PM EST and tell me your favorite thing about the 80s (the music? the fashions? the hair? the movies?)!  Leave your email address as well, and I will announce the winner and contact them on June 14th.  You must respond to that announcement no later then June 19th with your mailing address, so I can pass it on to the publisher (contest rules state all winners must have a US address). 

You can check out the book's website for more information, and the Facebook page.  I promise - you will NOT be sorry you read this one!

As a participant in this From Left to Write book blog tour, I received a copy of the book for review. Check out the other stops on the blog tour for a chance to win a copy of Ready Player One.

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