Select one of the keywords
Ready Player Two    by Ernest Cline order for
Ready Player Two
by Ernest Cline
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ready Player Two follows Ready Player One in Ernest Cline's quest series set in a near future dystopian world. It's a must read for gaming nerds and SF & fantasy fans of all ages.

Wade Watts and his friends and gunters (including the love of his life Sam/Art3mis) don't get much of a break from their previous exploits as the action here starts only a few days after the first episode ended. The foursome are now co-owners of Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS), that runs OASIS, the virtual universe created by billionaire videogame designer James Halliday. Most of humanity escape the real world into OASIS on a daily basis.

Gazing at the silver Easter egg he won in Ready Player One, Wade notices an inscription that sends him to find an OASIS neural interface or ONI. This new peripheral is a game changer that allows the user 'to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel their avatar's virtual environment'. It make the simulation indistinguishable from real life, but can only be safely used for twelve hours at a time.

In a video recording, Halliday tells Wade to choose wisely when to open this Pandora's box and release the addictive device. Of course Wade tests the technology himself, and is immediately hooked. The co-owners quickly meet and vote, all but Sam in favor. Sales are immediate and increase exponentially. A few days later, Halliday's website posts a new quest, the Shard Riddle, spawning a new generation of gunters.

Years pass and the world changes in many ways. Against ONI's deployment, Sam broke up with Wade and spends her time and resources on her charitable organization. Then Halliday's OASIS avatar, Anorak, hijacks a GSS board meeting. The AI had rewritten its programming, released Wade's nemesis Sorrento from prison, and now has its own agenda.

Anorak has disabled the ability to log out of ONI. Wade must complete the Shard Riddle quest in twelve hours or multitudes logged on will suffer severe brain damage - the ultimate race against time! Fortunately, Sam never used the ONI and still has her friends' backs, as does a new team of gunters. It's quite a ride in both the virtual and the real world, but our heroes do succeed and end up with 'the best of both worlds.'

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews