Ready Player One - Ernest Cline Ready Player One was a pleasant surprise for me. I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own, and it's not the kind of thing I typically read … but fortunately, it was a book club read for one of my Goodreads groups, and because of that I picked it up and ultimately really enjoyed it.The story is about a future society in which everyone is dependent upon a virtual reality world called the OASIS. People spend immense amounts of time in this virtual reality, using it for various purposes––from playing games, to hanging out with people, to going to virtual school. (It's a bit like the Japanese film Summer Wars.)The man who created the OASIS––named James Halliday––has died, and left behind a video will stating that whoever can find a specific easter egg in the virtual world will receive his enormous fortune. Wade Watts is a "Gunter"––slang for an "egg hunter," that is, a person who has been determinedly searching for the hidden easter egg since Halliday's death. It's been years since Halliday's death, and most people have given up the search. But just when everyone is starting to believe the egg is impossible to find, Wade finds the first clue. Suddenly, thousands of competitors are picking up the search again––and some of them are willing to commit real-life murder in order to get to the egg first. As I said, this wasn't the type of book I would normally pick up. I mean … it's pretty darn nerdy. And I'm not really a video game nerd. I'm sure that gamers could find more to relate to in this book than I could. However, I was still able to find the world-building very interesting. I know a lot of people have complained that this book is full of info-dumps … and, well, that is true. A lot of space is taken up by Wade just explaining how the OASIS works and all the details of it and whatnot. I normally loathe info dumps, but in the case of this book I actually didn't mind it that much. It could get dull at points, but in general it managed to hold my attention even if there was more explanation than action going on. I really liked the details of the OASIS; obviously Ernest Cline had given it a tremendous amount of thought, and it showed. It was easy to imagine what the OASIS was like.Probably the most original and amusing part of the OASIS is that it's full of 80s references––since James Halliday was obsessed with the 80s and therefore inserted a lot of 80s references into his virtual reality world. I wasn't alive yet during the 80s––however, I've seen enough movies from the decade that I was able to catch a good deal of the references anyway. I liked the characters, for the most part. Wade is funny––kind of conceited and annoying at times, but likable most of the time. His main competitors are also really cool characters, especially Aech and Art3mis. I totally saw it coming that Aech was a girl. However, I didn't see it coming that she was also a black lesbian. So … that was cool. :)I also really liked the romance between Wade and Art3mis. It felt realistic, and it was really sweet … especially the ending. It occurred to me then that for the first time in as long as I could remember, I had absolutely no desire to log back into the OASIS. D'aww!I think this book risked being just totally nerdy in the shallow type of way. That is, it could have just been like "AW YEAH, VIDEO GAMES ARE AWESOME. WOOHOO. EXPLOSIONS AND SHIT." But ultimately, the message of the book is more like, "You know, video games are cool, but real life is also important." And I thought that was very significant.Like this bittersweet speech Halliday gives: “I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”Over all, I thought this book was a lot of fun to read. The further I got into it, the more invested in the story and characters I became. And in the end, I found it to be more touching and thought-provoking than I expected it would be. Good stuff.