It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based on Halliday’s obsession with 80s pop culture. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
Imagine the world at stake.
An epic struggle between good and evil.
The greatest quest in history.
The fate of humanity resting in your hands.
Are you ready?
—————————————– ** POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD **—————————————-
This book really took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy it but after my boyfriend read it and recommended it to me I thought I might as well give it a go.
I’m so glad I did! I really enjoyed it. Once you get your head around the uber-geeky terminology and 80s pop culture references, it’s a really intriguing story.
Wade Watts (also known as Parzival or ‘Z’) is a Gunter, part of a massive group of Halliday Egg Hunters who devote their time to search for the easter egg hidden in the OASIS.
Wade also happens to be the first person to manage to get his name on the scoreboard after securing the first key in the quest of the egg.
The story follows Wade who is the first Gunter, after 5 years of searching, to find the egg. It also follows Art3mis who is second, Aech (Wade’s best friend) who is third and brothers Daito and Shoto. These five finalists are known to the world as the ‘High Five’ the first ones to reach the gate before the rival collaboration team – the Sixers – reached it and shut it off from the public.
The Sixers are a group of people run by the IOI (Innovative Online Industries) who are after the egg so that they can own the OASIS and rule the world. This means they will stop at nothing to gain access to the keys and the gates further into the OASIS and the game that Halliday created for his legacy.
After Wade gets through the first gate he is famous, he’s being offered anything and everything and more money than he has ever had in his life. He has, however, made a promise to himself that nothing will change, he’ll continue to live in his aunts’ trailer and go to school, the egg hunt will simply be something for his spare time. This is until he has an unfortunate run-in with Nolan Sorento, the head of the IOI who threatens his existence and who almost kills him.
With the hunt hotting up, and the Sixers quickly getting closer to winning, the High Five need to work out a way to reach the final two gates, do they attempt to go against what they believe and work together or do they continue working against each other and risk the chance of the Sixers winning.
There is a small section of the book devoted to a forbidden love story, between Art3mis and Wade, two Gunters who met online in the OASIS and fall in love, but also risk losing the game from being too distracted, so Art3mis comes to her senses and gets her head back in the game, breaks up with Wade and clears the next gate.
This is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Matrix, and like any good game, it starts off slowly and easily, raising in pace and intensity until reaching a crescendo in the final pages.
There were a few parts, mainly the heavily geek-jargon filled pages (which slightly go over my head) were where I got lost but if you stick with it you’ll love the book and not want to put it down.