Top critical review
A divisive book for a divided nation
Reviewed in Australia on 2 December 2020
It's hard to know if Clines recent exposite that Roblox is as close to the real Oasis as he can *sic* imagine, or if Spielberg's takeover of the movie has somewhat tainted my view, but as someone who was pleasantly surprised by Ready Player I - RPII is at times a joyless slog through more nauseating movie and music pop culture.
Cline has seemingly borrowed a lot more from the success of the movie, expanding his universe away from 80's arcade video games and into love-it-or hate it referances to Ferris Beuler, Prince and Lord of the Rings. Honestly I almost put the book down during the sections on Prince, because whilst I can deal with the Pleasantville nostalgia of a perfect Americana circa Ferris Beulers Day off, the analogy of Prince = Love was wholly on the nose to the point of offence.
The bones of clines premises riffing on me culture, and the next generation of online celebrities, YouTube stars and Influencers is apt. Notions of transcending your own conciencessness to exist solely in cyberspace and defeat death, is an obvious next step in his saga.
The race to find 7 shards and reunite them is obvious, immature, unnecessary and bloated with Clines typical sychophantic style of talking at the audiance, spelling everything out and repeating the 'ain't it cool' referances every other line.
RPII is devisive because in RPI Cline posited a credible MMO style user world that was part role playing part consumer, microtransaction development heaven for gamers. Usurping this for a world where people watch each other interact with celebrities who film themselves and otherwise can have sex and take drugs without consequences is ...not as relatable to his original audiance.
Maybe this book appeals to current tweens and teens, however just like the main character, the original novel now appears out of date, antiquated and old, wallowing in more self reflection and self pity than you can shake a wamp rat at.
OK but not great and lacking the impact of the original