Ernest Cline is celebrating this culture in a way that’s not just adding another book to the genre, but actually truly celebrating it, the possibilities, wonders and madness of it all.
Fans of READY PLAYER ONE, I give you the one piece of advice needed before reading this: This is not Ready Player One, and accepting that before going into the process is key.
And here’s why. For years, when people ask that generic “What’s your favourite book?” question, I’d clamour for a bunch of books I quite liked over the years and just be like “Well, I do read a lot…”, but then, I read Ready Player One, and it’s become the sole, shining beacon to answer that question. So a follow-up is living under some serious pressure, and that’s why, for the first little while, Armada sucks. (I say it for effect, but for a while, I was just ehhhhh….)
Geeks shall inherit the earth, so they say, but here it looks like they’ll defend it. And given any other background, it would have probably flew right off the bat. But Ready Player One niggled away at it.
Bam. Gone. At some point, the story overtook the reservations that kept rearing their heads and suddenly Zack Attack and his motley crew are, you know, owning their own story. And, sure, the previous book relied on references, so at times the fact that everyone seems to talk almost solely in overdone geek-references and Yoda mantras becomes a bit odd given that it’s just day-to-day chat, but. But.
It’s a work of geeky wonder. Imagine your sci-fi fantasies coming to life, imagine walking outside of work to see the spaceship from your favourite game there. The world is a lie, a conspiracy theorist’s dream, and few can fathom quite how the world is set to change. That’s why it’s forgivable – if this had been a debut, it would be reference-heavy, but it would be fun, and that’s the point. I mean, if you’re saving the world, why wouldn’t you listen to Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust to get into the zone?
It has its bumps, it’s cheesy as hell, but who doesn’t like a little bit of cheese when you’re facing the end of the world as you know it and your lifetime of nerdiness is your main salvation? It is a fun read, it reads with the ease of Ernie’s last book, and it’s ultimately something I’d recommend to any fan of Ready Player One, or just games and sci-fi in general, but only with my disclaimer. You’ve got to factor in that he happened to write the greatest book ever for fans of the genre and games (in my opinion), so everything else will suffer the tiniest bit because of it.
Phew, this is going on a bit. I had my reservations (did I mention?) but I ended up really enjoying this. I like the fact Ernest Cline is celebrating this culture in a way that’s not just adding another book to the genre, but actually truly celebrating it, the possibilities, wonders and madness of it all.
tl;dr Your geekiest, sci-fi fantasies come to life.
16th July 2015 | Random House UK, Cornerstone