Book Review – Ready Player Two

I have been so busy recently that I almost forgot to review this book. So while I have a few minutes to spare, I thought I’d finally write out my thoughts on the latest book by Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two. This is, of course, a sequel to Ready Player One which I had ready several years ago, and which was made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

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Here is the blurb:

An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?

Days after Oasis founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vault, 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 will 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.

The plot picks up in the immediate aftermath of the first book’s conclusion. But I also had the same problem getting into this book that I did with the first one. The way the opening third of the story is told is through a first person point of view, with Wade simply telling the reader about all the recent events while he wakes up and goes about his daily routine. It lacks tension and would have been more engaging if written in a more direct way. Listening to this as an audiobook, made it tolerable, but I think if I had been reading a physical copy, I would have stumbled over this approach more.

The way Wade presents everything at the beginning also make him more unlikeable as his tale progresses. He loses his girlfriend, mistreats his friends, and becomes more isolated from society. Once the real antagonist shows up, only the enemy’s evil psychotic nature made me want to cheer Wade on at that point.

I did enjoy the book to some extent, but not as much as the first one. With the exception of the Tolkien-based world at the end, I didn’t relate to the rest of the scenes based on pop culture spheres as much. The tension does build and the characters are forced to work together to solve the new puzzle they are given. There are very real stakes as the author has contrived a way to pull the story out of the purely virtual world of the Oasis and give it real consequences. I did enjoy the way the ending was constructed, but I can’t say more about it without giving away spoilers.

Have you read both Ready Player One and Ready Player Two? Let me know in the comments!

Find more of my reviews here.

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