Book Review: Ready Player One

This book has become very popular in the last year. I was curious as to why. I read the entire thing in a single weekend; incidentally, the same weekend I listened to the entirety of The Martian. This gave me a unique perspective on exposition in novels. The Martian is chock full of exposition, literally the first person narrative of Mark Watney telling us what he has done to survive. Ready Player One also uses a great deal of exposition, but in a detracted sort of way.

Let me explain. As I was reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I found that I enjoyed the story immensely, however, I was consistently distracted by Cline’s break from story to give world building exposition. Perhaps I am keenly aware of this because in my first novel I tend towards the same, giving the reader what I think they need to know about the universe and world I’ve created. I’ve read a good deal many books on writing, plot, character development, etc. over the past weeks and one thing they all comment about is having too much, or badly placed, exposition. Ready Player One I think uses some badly placed, and sometimes too much, exposition. The redeeming factor is that the exposition written certainly plays in the next part of the story, but there is something about it as a whole that detracts from the flow of the story.

That being said, Cline weaves a tale worth telling. At first I was irritated with his style of breaking the fourth wall as to speak directly to the reader and give a history lesson, but after having read the afterward of the book, I realized this is Cline’s first novel, and to that I say Bravo. To have woven a tale worth reading, even with the amount of exposition, is a feat in of itself.

Despite my scathing review of the author’s style of writing, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was a part of the character, telling the MC not to do something while wondering what the outcome would be. I was enthralled. So, I, with my Kindle Paperwhite and hours on the beach sat and read. I enjoyed the novel so much that I did not put it down until midnight, when I had finally finished reading it. It is rare that I devote an entire day to a single novel. As I often make the argument, a novel is like a pie, if you eat it in its entirety in one sitting you’ll feel stuffed later. Using the same analogy I like to read my novels in slices, taking several days to finish a novel. When I do find a novel (pie) that I want to devour in one sitting it is a rare thing.

Ready Player One, which is getting its own movie in 2017, is a novel worth reading; especially for the avid video gamer. With post-apocalyptic elements and some good whimsical fun, Ready Player One is a must read. Although I fear that the movie will probably be better than the book, which is something I would not normally believe. So in short, good book worth reading, too much exposition, should be an interesting film. That’s my take on it anyway. Until next time.

Your friendly neighborhood author,

DJ Morand