Ready Player One is written by Ernest Cline and details the contest to inherit a dead video game mogul’s vast fortune. It makes me think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets World of Warcraft.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I saw a post on Gus Sanchez’s blog discussing whether debut novels should play it safe or be ambitious. Gus asserts this novel is ambitious and suggests others attempt to be so.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I stopped actively reading as the aforementioned video game mogul is playing Atari in his video will. Although if truth be told, I was only scanning at that point; I stopped reading intently at the end of the lump of exposition at the beginning.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
The initial exposition is very ‘tell’ not ‘show’ and while the later video-will does more to ‘show’ the barrage of eighties references are distracting if you don’t remember them. I’m guessing the author was attempting to build a world this way, but he didn’t sell me on it. The thing is, we know someone’s gonna win this money, but since we’re not characters in the book, it won’t be us. Without a character we love to need this money, there’s nothing investing the reader. If I were writing it, I would have done the exposition trough the dialogue of the TV news report and showed a character reacting/interacting.
It’s always a gamble when authors place pop culture references in books; at best, you get a lovely mood-booster, at worst you get a confused reader who quits the book to look up the song you mentioned, and in the middle you get nothing.