Rating: 3 out of 5⭐️
Title: Ready Player Two (Sequel to Ready Player One (2011))
Author: Ernest Cline
Published: 2020 (Ballantine Books)
Pages: 367 (Hardcover)
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction, Adventure
CW: strong language, adult situations and themes, references to sex
Hi everyone, I hope you’re all hanging in there and having a good weekend! I’m getting ready to move homes soon so I haven’t had as much time for reading recently. The last time I moved was a couple years ago, but I definitely forgot how hard it was… Anyways, this week I finished the especially anticipated science fiction read, Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. This book is the sequel to Ready Player One, the first novel by the author written in 2011. I read Ready Player One shortly after it was released, and I loved it. I was grossly entertained by the story, and the references to different nerdoms were well represented and covered. The book was basically a homage to different types of nerds, and how technology impacts society on a civic, economic and cultural level. Ready Player One, as many of you may know, was turned into a movie of the same title released in 2018 and directed by Steven Spielberg. Side note: I did NOT like the movie at all, like many people who read and loved the book. Basically half the plot was changed around, and it become more commercially driven than I expected, plus the pacing was just terrible… But can you tell how much I liked the first book?
“And sometimes, when you think you’ve finally reached the end of the game, suddenly you find yourself standing at the start of a whole new level. A level that you’ve never seen before. And the only thing you can do is keep right on playing. Because the gamer that is your life still isn’t over yet..” – Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two
Ready Player Two continues from the first book in the sci-fi series a couple years after contest winner heir, Wade Watts, inherits his tech empire in a not-so-distant dystopian future where a VR world called the OASIS is a way of life for the global population. After Wade stumbles upon a new and groundbreaking technology created by deceased OASIS creator, James Halliday, to further push the world into the tech realm of possibilities, a new contest is born. This contest was also created before Halliday passed away, and the prize is unknown both to Wade and the rest of the world. As he continues down a dangerous and perilous path while learning more about Halliday’s motives, a new enemy emerges, and Wade and his friends must face them together or allow this enemy to kill millions in order to find the prize.
“Maybe every time an intelligent species grew advanced enough to invent a global computer network, they would then develop some form of social media, which would immediately fill these beings with such an intense hatred for one another that they ended up wiping themselves out within four or five decades” – Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two
When I started seeing others’ reports on this book, I saw many bad reviews. There were a variety of reasons why across the board, some more unfair and ridiculous than others. I tried to go into this one with an open mind, unbiased from the first book (key word is tried). Overall by the end, it was not bad, but it also was not great. I agree with the consensus that the first book was better, like many series with sequels are. I enjoyed the story and general plot, and how it connected and continued with the first book. The story flowed well, and at certain times I could not put the book down. I also enjoyed the discussion of dangerous and grey-area ethics surrounding new and groundbreaking technology. But honestly, I thought the author was trying too hard to push current social issues into themes for this book that were obviously lacking in the first book to appeal towards a current audience. The idea of questioning social representation in science fiction and fantasy books/movies is fantastic (as we should be doing), but it felt forced in this story to try to appeal to a current, young audience. This was not done or at least was not transparent in Ready Player One. To be fair, the first book also questioned gender roles and toxicity in science fiction, but Ready Player Two takes this a step further. I also thought the side characters’ roles were unnecessarily drier, and the romance between Wade and Samantha/Art3mis was lacking and a little forced in this story.
“If it weren’t for Tolkien, all of us nerds would’ve had a lot less fun during the last ninety years” – Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two
I’m glad I read this one, but I would not say this was a worthwhile read. In my opinion, Cline could have done more with this story, and focused less on Wade and more on some of the badass and new side characters. Why should you read this book? If you like science fiction or have read Ready Player One and are ready to be potentially disappointed but equally entertained, this is the book for you. I wouldn’t believe all the negative reviews, the book is still written well and the pacing was good. But definitely go into this one skeptically.
I give this one a 3 out of 5! (I’m still a fan of the series… I admit)
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2 thoughts on “Book Review #40: Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline (2020)”
Excellent review. I suspected that book two wouldn’t be as good as book one. Still, I’ll go ahead and read it just so I can say I did and develop my own thoughts.
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Thank you, and as you should! 🙂