Today’s review is on Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline.
If you are interested in reading my thoughts on the first book, click here.
Ready Player Two follows Wade as he takes on his role as Halliday’s heir and now a co-owner of the OASIS. The first chapter shows him discovering a headset that Halliday created which allows users to have their brain uploaded into and be able to fully experience the OASIS. Even though there is some rebuff to the release of the ONI headset, it becomes a hit! We then fast forward three years later and find out that Halliday created another Easter egg hunt – called The Search for the Seven Shards of the Siren. This sends Wade on an obsessive quest to find the shards even though he doesn’t know what the end goal is. However, things take a strange turn when a sinister being forces Wade and his friends to search for the shards or they, and several million other people, will die.
I’ll be honest and say that I had very low expectations for this just because of some of the other reviews I had read, however I really enjoyed it. Yes, it had some similar plot elements to the first book, however it took a sinister twist that I wasn’t expecting. I can understand why people didn’t like it, however those are the things that I enjoyed. Yes, there were a lot of pop culture references again, but it definitely did not seem as much as in the first book.
It took me about 80 pages to get into it, but once I did I was hooked until the end. The first 80 pages remind readers of what happened in the first book and what has happened over the last three years since Wade won Halliday’s contest.
Ready Player Two does explore some of the ethical questions concerning VR and AI and whether or not they cause more than goo, as well as briefly exploring what a posthuman world could look like, it was interesting to read, although slightly confusing. Some of these explorations took back toward the beginning of the novel seemed very similar to some of the discussions that we are having in regards to social media today. For example, Samantha (and Og’s) arguments against the release of ONI seem really pertinent, especially in light of discussion that are taking place about the effects of social media – especially since some of the creators and founders are telling people to get off social media. Although we are not at the point where we have headsets that literally take over our brains.
However, while this book does pose some interesting questions, it still provided an escape for the reader, or at least for this reader!
It was interesting how this scavenger hun, while similar to the first book, is slightly more sinister, and Wade comes to discover that his hero, James Halliday is not the person he thought he was. The different challenges they had to complete were interesting, however, I do feel too much times was spent on the Prince Afterworld challenge – if you’ve read the book you know what I’m referring too. It just seemed to drag on and I felt like the challenges after that were rushed because it dragged on.
Overall, this was a fun read that also made me think a lot about technology and our dependence on it, as well as the concept of escapism. This book isn’t for everyone, but it hit the right notes for me and I enjoyed it! 4/5 Stars.
Janelle L. C.