I loved this book! As a woman in her 40s, I'm definitely not the target market for this. It’s a young adult book, and scifi, both of which I don’t usually read. However, as a bit of a gamer geek and an 80s nut, this was recommended to me by friends, and I’m so glad I read it – it was just brilliant!
It’s set in a dystopian future in 2044 – oil has run out, the climate is a wreck, and most people escape reality by spending their lives inside an immense virtual reality video game called the OASIS (similar to Second Life, if you’ve ever played it). It has its own currency, and kids even go to school inside the game. The creator of the game, James Halliday, died years earlier, without an heir to his immense empire, but left a video will with clues/easter eggs to be tracked in the game. Whoever solves these will inherit the OASIS, and the immense wealth that goes with it, and it’s an international obsession. Halliday was a teenager in the 80s and remained fixated with the era, so this means that everyone who is trying to solve the puzzle is just as fanatical, leading to some wonderful references. Wade Watts, our protagonist, is one of the millions trying to crack this. He’s a teenager, stony broke, living with his aunt, and at the bottom of the OASIS food chain. Through a combination of luck and skill with 80s arcade games, Wade somehow manages to be the first solve the first clue, and that’s when everything changes.
I’m not going to give you any spoilers, but I can’t recommend this highly enough. Great characters, very nasty baddies, loaded with 80s references, and actually worryingly possible – it’s definitely worth a read. Oh, and Steven Spielberg bought the film rights – the movie will be released in 2018. I hope he does it justice.