Review: Ready Player Two (2020)

Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Century / Penguin
Release Date: 24/11/2020

An unexpected quest, two worlds at stake, are you ready? Parzival and the High Five return is the follow up to the bestselling Ready Player One.

SYNOPSIS 

Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find it, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous – and addictive – than even Wade dreamed possible.

With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest: a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants.

Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

REVIEW 

Ready Player Two is every bit as thrilling and entertaining as its predecessor while being equally as layered with popular culture references. Ernest Cline once again creates a tantalising adventure packed full of geek culture quite like no one else.

If you read the original then you will feel very much at home with this book. The pace, the first person narrative, the 80’s and 90’s references all play a part in a slightly more political story. The main story concentrates on a new technology which makes the OASIS even more realistic and with this opens up a discussion about walking in other peoples shows. But it’s also a story about power and how different people use power in different ways.

I liked how the story discusses people’s differences in sexuality, race and cultures and didn’t enforce any specific message on the readers. However I do feel these subjects could have been explored a little deeper as it felt like certain messages about sexuality and race were simply included to tick a box and failed to offer any real substance on the subjects. That being said none of it harmed the overall experience and retained its geeky, open to all personality. 

Ready Player Two is a brilliant read for people who read the original or watched the movie. The movie plot points are quite different to the book but still captured its identity and tone perfectly. With that in mind I don’t think people who only watched the movie will have any issue dropping straight into Ready Player Two. All the characters you met in the first book/movie return like Art3mis, Aech, Shoto and Og with some new intriguing characters which I’m sure one day will transfer well onto screen.

An exciting, well paced story set in a world of fantasy and mystery. I found myself completely gripped from start to finish and struggled to put the book down at times. I loved every time it mentioned movies from my childhood like The Last Starfighter and The Princess Bride and intrigued when there was a reference I didn’t know. 

I read this via an advance preview copy issued by Del Rey / Penguin Random House UK and received no other incentive to review this book.

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