Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant
Genre: Science Fiction
Suggested Age: Adult (with crossover/Young Adult appeal)
What is the book about?: On Earth, in the near future, the economy has collapsed. Most of humanity has turned to a virtual world called the OASIS for solace. The OASIS began as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), but rapidly became a fully immersive virtual world that most people spend so much time in; they consider it their real life. In the OASIS, you can be anyone. You can create a character and live your life almost completely within the virtual world – and most do. This creation made the eccentric, reclusive, 80s obsessed creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, a billionaire many times over. Everyone was happy living in their virtual utopia until the day James Halliday died. With no heirs to his estate, he created a Quest – an elaborate system of riddles, games and puzzles within the OASIS. Whoever could solve them all and reach the Egg at the end would inherit James Halliday’s entire fortune. The catch – the only way to make it to the end is to become a true expert on nearly every imaginable pop culture and entertainment topic from the 1980s. It has been 5 years since Halliday died and no one has been able to crack even the first clue. Until now…
My review: Let me start by saying that this has quickly become my go-to book. I read it for inspiration and comfort the way others might read a religious manuscript and snuggle up with a blanket and pillow. Okay enough of the mushy stuff. I’ve read the book 3 times now and listened to the audiobook twice, in addition to the countless times that I’ve referenced various sections and reread specific chapters. The audio book is also incredible. Wil Wheaton reads it, and if that name means anything to you, I can nearly promise you that this book is for you. If you were between the ages of 5 and 25 at any point during the 1980s (and look back on the time fondly), this book is for you. It’s a lovingly nostalgic joyride down memory lane set against the backdrop of a virtual world that is probably only a few years from becoming a reality. I will admit I am the definitive target audience for this book, but I feel like it has a broad appeal across various genres and age groups. If you enjoy immersing yourself in a story that feels familiar yet is new and exciting, do yourself a favor, and give this book a try.
There is some mild violence that takes place “off camera” but the descriptions of the events are not overly graphic. If this book were targeted towards teens, I would consider the content very mild. Given that it’s targeted to adult readers, I don’t see any cause for concern.
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!