A Review of: Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline

When I read Ready Player One, I loved it. So much detail, and such an interesting, intriguing world! And of course the nostalgia that takes one back to being young ( if you’re old enough to connect in the same era the author did – and I am.) 

I was very excited to see where Ready Player Two would go. 

Overall…. I felt pretty Meh about this book. Especially compared to book 1. I still “enjoyed” it.. But not as much as I thought I would. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

** Mild Spoilers Ahead **

The beginning of the book covers many years of time, in a few short chapters. Which is ok, it sums up the high points, in sort of a fast real time first person account, from Wade. But oh, heavens. The tone. A nonstop info dump narration of POOR WADE. OMG. What a tragic, sad, sorry, sack, of a human being. Poor me!!!!!! Ugh. Sorry, Wade, I do not feel sorry for you. You are ‘one of the richest, most influential’ people on the planet. Pick yourself up and do something about it! So you’re sad you got dumped… a few short days after consummating your relationship with Samantha. Get. Over. It. You’re not special. We all have had tragic heart breaks. Without being bottomlessly wealthy and endless possibilities in front of us. It’s called life….. 

The story, on the story side, starts out with an immediate new technology, left from the creator, Halliday in a hidden safe. Direct brain interface (of the non-invasive style) to the OASIS. But is it safe? Heavy foreshadowing that it’s not. 

However, I did enjoy the backstory of how it came into existence, and all the good brought to disadvantaged people as a result of the R & D to get there, over the preceding couple decades. We could only hope to do such good, in the Real World. 

The world building laid out in the kind of experiences the new interface brings to people- called the ONI (OASIS Neural Interface) – is fantastic – with the added ability of not just having everything ‘seem real’ in every way – but being able to ‘record’ your experiences. To relive – or share. A whole new landscape opens up of people buying, selling, sharing these experiences – anything you can experience – can be captured. Anything. Everything. (I can imagine how gangbusters that would be if it happened IRL today.) 

Oh, and there’s a new quest in OASIS, triggered, of course. In a search for the ‘Seven Shards to the Siren’s Soul’

Another plot bomb – Wade builds a prepper space ship. Well, He, Aech, and Shoto – can afford to, and do. (But not Samantha, because she’s too mad at Wade for birthing the ONI into the world.) You know, to escape the Earth when it all goes to sh*t, for a 47 year ride to the nearest planetary system to start over. Complete with its own smaller version of OASIS backed up, of course, into it.…. (*The Ship is mentioned exactly once in the beginning of the book; not at all I the entirety after; until shocker, turns up as a plot device at the end. )

Assorted musings:

-*My biggest pet peeve with this book – was it seemed like 98% of Wade just telling us how it was. Not much for feeling like the story was happening ( show, don’t tell,) and dialog. Yes, there was some of that – but it was highly diminished by the tell tell tell tone of it. 

*The first 5 chapters are a very painful slow, pathetic read of Wade being a sad sorry sack of being. Way to drag out the misery. Exposition. Just Wade telling us how miserable he is. How miserable everything is. 

*Chapter 8, shifts gears. From sad sorry sac exposition: to overdrive. Begin quest! Og gets kidnapped (though first they make it seem like he’s just disappeared), and Sorrento ‘somehow’ escapes prison, presumably related. And we learn Hallidays’ NPC has actually become sentient, and has hijacked everything. To start. 

*The quest for the seven shards… feels ‘in line’ with the kind of story book 1 was, but at the same time it feels like it’s trying way too hard, and grasping way too much. Not nearly as enjoyable. But yet still interesting.

* Sorrento apparently has all the war power at his disposal, and the most advanced technology. But yet… he has so little impact, and really, is taken out in just a couple pages of battle. Felt pretty anticlimactic. 

*After Samantha being 1000% against the ONI system the entire book…. All the sudden at the end she flips on a dime, with not a second of thought given to
1) scan her own brain,
2) resurrect her grandmother. This seems like a pretty unlikely turn of events – in the least, not true to her story arc – she would have thought long and hard before resurrecting her grandmother… and also about scanner her brain [just once] so she could be backed up & also ‘alive’ on the ship brain. 

*Aside from the ‘brain scans = resurrected sentient artificial in-system beings’ plot shocker, I’m not sure how I felt about the end. The ‘we’ll just put them on the computer on the prepper spaceship and send them to a new planet thing, where they’ll live happily every after together, for eternity, and possibly on a new planet, with new alien civilizations’ thing… felt just too big of a gear switch at the end. Nice, interesting, possibly satisfying.. But unhinged?!?! Did I open a different book by accident here? 

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