A mixed bag of holding.
Warning: Spoils everything.
If "nerd empowerment
" isn't a recognized genre yet, it should be, and this is its Great American Novel.
That's both good and bad.
On one hand, this is a hell of a story. The prose is pretty good, the Cast of Snowflakes
keeps things interesting, and the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
is pure genius. I can't imagine how long it must've taken to come up with those thousands of old pop culture references and craft a coherent plot out of them. Cline must've done ten books' worth of research for Halliday's quest alone.
On the other, the relentless assault of geekiness gets old. It's like how I imagine being forced to attend every panel during all three days of ComicCon would feel. At first, it's fascinating, but after a while, the constant "hooray for nerds" moments and self-congratulatory shout outs
to obscure bits of pop trivia get very tired.
Not to mention that after finding the copper key, Parzival heads at warp speed towards the Stu
sector. By halfway through the book, he's taken 99 levels in badass
, become an international celebrity, probably hoarded up half the artifacts, vehicles, and weapons on OASIS all by himself, and is living it up at all the coolest parties. Not to mention he's lost weight in Real Life
, because every fat protagonist has to do that, right?
...And he doesn't stop. By the end of the book, he's infiltrated, exposed, and taken down the Mega Corp.
almost singlehandedly - via a Million-to-One Chance
gambit that worked perfectly, of course - brought every gunter in the world
to his side, become best friends with Og, landed the girl of his dreams, revived all his dead sidekicks, been given total control of the biggest cultural phenomenon in history, become OASIS's God and the richest man on Earth, and played a perfect game of Pac-Man.
I do have the give the book props for averting Hard Work Hardly Works
- he's spent years earning it - but... Damn.
Most people seem to think the book is a troperiffic
masterpiece. I can see why, and in parts, it is. But at other times, it's just a heavily cliched wish-fulfillment fantasy. Still worth a read, though.