In Ernest Cline’s READY PLAYER TWO, there is a moment when the antagonist asks the heroes: “Don’t you kids ever get tired of picking through the wreckage of a past generation’s nostalgia?” Sadly, this quote perfectly summarizes my feelings about this book! I loved Ready Player One for its originality and fun escapism, though I found that the concept grew tired in this sequel.
Starting right where the first book ends, Wade Watts has just won James Halliday’s contest and is now owner of the VR universe the OASIS. Wade’s new power leads him to discover a secret technology Halliday left behind: the OASIS Neural Interface (ONI) headset. The ONI allows the user to tap into the OASIS directly through the brain, making the senses and experiences in the OASIS feel real. Sounds pretty cool but without going into spoilery detail just know that another Easter egg hunt ensues and the fate of not only the OASIS but the world lies in the balance!
I knew it would be impossible for RP2 to live up to its predecessor, but I was hopeful. Unfortunately, instead of taking the original ideas from RP1 and evolving them into something new and exciting, to its detriment RP2 stuck too closely to the blueprint of the first book. The unapologetic nerd nostalgia of the Easter egg hunt that worked so well in RP1 no longer felt fresh and exciting even with a whole slew of new pop culture references. As well, Wade is hard to root for in RP2. He is no longer the likable underdog but a tech billionaire who comes across as entitled and problematic. Yes, the story provides interesting commentary on artificial intelligence and technology use but the book’s problems distract from any meaningful takeaway.
All that said: if you liked RP1 I say give READY PLAYER TWO a shot! It’s a quick read with entertaining moments, plenty of action, and fun puzzles throughout even if the story felt repetitive and a let down compared to the first book.
Thank you Ballantine Books for providing the book for honest review!
- Title: Ready Player Two (Ready Player One #2)
- Author: Ernest Cline
- Published: November 24, 2020 (Ballantine Books)
- Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian
- Booky Nooky Rating: * * 1/2