An unusual brunch book club recap meeting this time, as Michele from Just a Lil’ Lost and I had the pleasure of visiting Jen from The Misbehavin’ Librarian in Calgary this month. We decided to take the book club on the road, and to hold our discussion in the beautiful Banff Springs Hotel, where we were surrounded by fantastic mountains and exceptional scenery. As with all our book chats, we are discussing plot points – if you haven’t read the book, then be warned – SPOILERS AHOY.
Jen and I had some preliminary discussions about the book, and we both thought it was six kinds of awesome in how it completely captured our teen years. I had wondered to Jen if Michele might feel the same, as she is that little bit younger than us (Jen and I are only a few months apart), and I wasn’t wrong – she liked it, but she didn’t ‘get’ what all the fuss was about, and even found all the 80’s references a little tiresome. For Jen and I, it was a lot like reliving our teenage years, and we excitedly compared notes about the TV shows, movies, music – especially Rush! – and even the video games. Jen recounted how her brother used to literally tie her up and make her listen to Rush’ 2012, so that was a high point for her in the novel 🙂
We all liked the concept of the quest game, although Michele felt that the story dragged a little between solving the first clue and completing the gate quest and the next stage. There was a lot of back story in there, and she wasn’t sure how much of it was actually needed. Jen, like me, felt that it was a logical pacing, although she agreed that there was a lot of detail in there. As I mentioned in my review, I liked that there was a long break because I thought it fit the pattern of the pacing of the game.
Jen commented on how much it bothered her that the characters were so isolated, and we discussed the similarities to Dave Egger’s recent book, “The Circle”. For Michele, because she read that book first, this book club pick was very reminiscent, but with a clearer storyline. The isolation of the characters was, we felt, balanced nicely at the end with the realization that they needed to work together in order to solve the final quest – a good life lesson that the characters took to heart. As well, we all liked the use of the “3 is a magic number” song as a clue for the need for teamwork, even if we realized when that would be significant at different points in the book.
We also discussed the role of Halliday and Og as mysterious all-seeing players in the book. I confessed that I wondered at first if Aech was actually Halliday, who had faked his own death in order to come back and observe, and that I questioned Og’s motives at the end of the book. Michele and Jen were also a little leery about Og and his motivation at the end of the novel – I think that each of us were expecting a mighty twist that would see Og on the side of the Sixers, but we were each relieved when that wasn’t the case.
One interesting point was the role of that mysterious quarter and the seemingly innocent video game that Wade played while searching for one of the gates. I immediately saw the value in the ‘extra life’ but both Michele and Jen confessed that they didn’t see it coming. I guess my misspent youth may have given me a little too much insider knowledge 😉 Michele and I commented that it seemed a lot like the train station interlude at the end of Harry Potter, where Harry had to make decisions about coming back to life – much as Wade had to make the decision to finish the game. It really was a defining point for both books, and I liked the way it played out.
We had an interesting discussion about casting for this book – we all had different people in mind, especially for the part of Sorrento. Michele could picture an Ashton Kutcher style figure for that role – a clinical, Steve Jobs type, while Jen pictured Hugo Weaving as his role of Agent Smith in the Matrix movies. I figured someone a little more military – perhaps a Jeremy Renner type? We had a lot of fun figuring out castings for each of the roles, especially because this book lends itself to visuals so well.
Ultimately, Michele liked it but didn’t love it, Jen really enjoyed it but felt that it was written for a target audience, and I thought it was a great read for any geek. We would all suggest it to people to read, but in greater or limited contexts.
Did you read Ready Player One? Be sure to link up your review over at Just a Lil’ Lost! Join us next month as we read The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey # 1).
Ready Player One was published by Random House, and was read as an audiobook by Wil Wheaton. ISBN: 9780307887436, 374 pages.