Source: Library (Audio)
Description: In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Genre: Science Fiction
Why I Picked This Book: I heard this was a science fiction book for people who didn't really like science fiction and I was curious about Wil Wheaton's narration.
My Impression: This one took awhile to figure out how to rate. There were several times throughout the book where I really just didn't care and was seriously thinking about DNFing it and then there were other times where all I wanted to do was find out what happened next. To be honest I'm not sure I would have made it through if I wasn't listening to the audio version. There's a lot of world building and setup at the beginning and it took forever for me to get into the story. I think this is one of those "it's not you, it's me" moments as the world building is really excellent and well done but that aspect in general just doesn't hold my interest. There's a reason why I've only read a handful of dystopian and science fiction books. When the quest starts up I was fully in and started enjoying the story. Then around halfway through it stalls and it seems like Wade does a LOT of whining for awhile. Just as I was about to give up it starts back up again and for the last third or so I was completely hooked and couldn't wait to find out just what happened next.
I enjoyed the 80s pop culture references though not being super into arcade games I didn't get quite as much enjoyment as I would have otherwise. The friendships between Wade, Aech, Art3mis and Shoto, and Daito was one of my favorite elements of the story and I loved the moments where they were working together. The quest itself was my favorite part. I enjoyed being inside Wade's head as he figured out the different clues and came up with different plans. While the ending was satisfying I would've loved an epilogue to get a little glimpse about what happens next but that's more the fact I like my endings overly completed.
While there were lots of slow parts for me I ended up enjoying this story very much. If you're not sure it's for you I highly recommend the audio as Wil Wheaton does a spectacular job and just his voice and interpretation alone got me through a few times where I really felt the story was dragging.
Now the big question now - will I go see this in film form? Answer - probably not. While I did enjoy this in book form I don't really have a desire to revisit this world. If it came on HBO I'd probably give it a try but I won't go out of my way.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Probably. I did enjoy this one and if Wil Wheaton was narrating another book I'd give it a try.
Would I Recommend this Book? Yes with reservations. If you like quest type books I think you'd enjoy the bulk of this book. And I highly recommend the audio version.