I’m an 80’s baby – as in I was born smack-bang in the middle of the 80’s. I grew up watching Round the Twist, Degrassi High, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The X-Files and re-runs of the old Doctor Who and Star Trek. I wasn’t much of a gamer, unless you count the Sega Mega Drive built-in Sonic the Hedgehog game, Mario Brothers and Spyro the Dragon. Despite being born in the 80’s, raised in the 90’s, I still grew up watching popular movies and TV shows from the 80’s (Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future are still some of my favourite movies of all time), and listening to 80’s music (my parents loved 4KQ – an Aussie radio show that played the best of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s).
Ready Player Two returns us to the world of the future, the OASIS, and the characters we grew to love and admire in Ready Player One. Cline continues to weave 80’s nostalgia through the story, including games, TV shows, movies and books. Most people in their 30’s and above should definitely recognise and understand most of the references throughout the book – those younger than 30 may need to Wikipedia that shit if they aren’t already into 80’s pop culture. But that’s ok, pop Prince’s Purple Rain on while you read it and enhance the experience of reading this book.
What I love the most about this book is the idea of a virtual reality which allows a person to feel, smell, touch, taste, all from the comfort of their own home, without having to move off the couch. Can you imagine putting on a virtual reality headset, using your brain to wonder around a world created to look, sound, smell and act just like the characters out of a movie? To steal Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari and take it for a spin? The whole idea of this sort of fully-immersive VR is exciting… and terrifying. We have all heard about Skynet, we know what can happen when you give computers too much intelligence…
One thing I really enjoyed about this storyline is reading more about the personal lives of each character – romantic interests, mental health, break-ups, challenges etc. I found that I could relate to each character more, felt more of a connection with each of their individual experiences. I love when I finish a book, put it down and can still remember each of the main character’s names a few months later. It also helps when the character’s avatar names are simple but memorable – Parzival, Aech, Shoto, Art3mis. Who could forget those?
Something new for this book – it made me bloody cry. Cline has woven real-world experiences that many people may encounter in their lives, and created an emotional connection with the book. I found myself blubbering, but not just about the words on the page, but the feelings and memories that it invoked for myself. It was like poking a festering wound that wasn’t healing, and watching the person writhe in emotional pain.
The bad guy – he’s a dick. No, both of them are. One’s just a dick, the other is a “stab him in the eye with a pencil” type dick. You get my drift.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ready Player Two, and recommend it to anyone with a love of 80’s pop culture, science fiction and bad guys who may or may not get their arses whooped.
AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY?
Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous—and addictive—than even Wade dreamed possible.
With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest—a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.
Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
~ Penguin Random House https://www.penguin.com.au/books/ready-player-two-9781780897448