After the recent release of the movie adaptation of Ready Player One, I thought that it seemed only fitting to combine both of this and the book into one, single review, rather than simply reviewing the book as I would normally do. I find it really interesting comparing books and their movie adaptations, as I am often quite divided over wanting a movie to be exactly like the book that I loved , and also understanding that film is a completely different medium.
Whilst I didn’t love Ready Player One when I read it back in February, strangely as time goes on my opinion of it seems to be becoming more positive, as I’m pretty sure that I judged the entirety of the book pretty harshly just because of my problem with the start of it. Therefore, I also wanted to review the book so that I could better convey my thoughts on it now that I have let it really sink in, and I’ve had time to really think over my initial opinion of it.
Bookidote also recently did a post on Ready Player One: Book Vs Movie so definitely go check it out as well!
As I said above, I read Ready Player One not too long ago back in February, and so if you read my February Wrap Up then you may already be aware of some of my thoughts on it. After knowing that I wanted to read it for so long I finally started it at the very start of February as I knew that the movie was coming out very soon, and so wanted to give this book a go beforehand.
My biggest problem with this book was the huge info-dumping at the very start of it, as it just instantly set me in a negative mindset, as I was just constantly worried that the entirety of the book would have a similar structure, and that was something I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get through or enjoy. However, once I got 100 or so pages in, and moved past all of this, I did start to enjoy this book a lot more. I especially loved the sections that focused entirely on the competition and on finding the the gates over all of the other storylines, most likely because I was just in love with the world of the OASIS. So whilst I definitely wasn’t a fan of all the information we got within the first 50 pages, in the end I was at least partially grateful for it, as it allowed me to really immerse myself in this complex, well-developed world.
Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the characters. I thought Wade was a very interesting narrator as he was pitched as this very normal boy from a poor background, who for once wasn’t this beautifully looking, muscular teenage boy. It was really nice to see an complete underdog achieve so much, especially considering how much Wade worked at the clues and at trying to find the Easter egg. Similarly, I also really liked alot of the other characters, including Shoto, Daito, Sorrento and in particular Artemis and Aech. I just thought they were both really interesting characters who I wish we could have explored a little more, but who I definitely enjoyed reading about nonetheless.
I think the main reason that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I expected to was simply because of that; I went into this one with incredibly high expectations due to the huge amount of hype surrounding it. I was expecting this mind-blowingly spectacular sci-fi novel that would instantly become one of my new favourites, and so I was basically just setting myself up from disappointment from the start. I also think that I would have enjoyed this one more if I was able to understand some more of the video game, and 80’s references, as almost all of these just went straight over my head, something that again was partially my fault as whilst I could still definitely enjoy this book without understanding these, I’m pretty sure that I would have been much more engaged if I wasn’t confused by a reference every other paragraph.
So overall I would definitely say that I enjoyed this book, even if it was not a favourite of mine, and just really liked how much of a fun, action-packed read it was. Once I really got into it, I found the story to be very enjoyable, fast paced and full of some amazing action that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about.
Moving onto the movie, I would say that I had pretty similar feelings towards it as I did for the book, in the fact that once again I enjoyed it, but still had a few little problems with it.
However, to start on a more positive note, I really loved the way the film brought the OASIS to life, and thought that they adapted it so well to a visual format from the descriptions in the novel. Similarly, I really liked just the entire cinematography of it and the way it was filmed, especially in relation to the stacks and the real world setting, as it really felt both dystopian but still not too far off from our world at the minute.
Once again, I was also a fan of the majority of the characters in the film. I quite liked seeing a little more of Artemis as she was one of my favourites from the book, but I was disappointed with the lack from other characters such as Shoto and Daito. I also had just a slight problem with Wade, not because of anything hugely to do with his character or the actor, but just because I felt he fit slightly more into the stereotypical YA male look than he had in the book, and so his character deterred a little more from the role of the underdog because of this.
Another character who I wasn’t as big a fan of in the film was Sorrento, and honestly probably the entire set of IOI as a whole. He seemed a little more like a comic villain in the film than he did in the book, and so I don’t feel like there was the same sense of fear surrounding him and his character as there was in the book.
And whilst I did still enjoy all of the challenges to get the keys and all the changes they made in regard to this, one change I wasn’t entirely sure about was the choice to include some sort of resistance group. I just personally don’t understand what sort of purpose there was behind it, other than to make it more of a dystopian-esque film in the sort of Hunger Games realm, and so I wasn’t really a fan of that choice, especially because again it took away from idea of Wade himself as the underdog.
So in the end, although I would definitely say I enjoyed this adaptation, particularly the cinematography and the larger role Artemis played, I still unfortunately had a few problems with it, particularly in comparison to the book. I do however think what the film did really well was make this quite complex story and world accessible to people who haven’t read the book or have no knowledge of what it is about, and so because I believe that I may have enjoyed slightly more if I wasn’t constantly thinking ‘wait, that didn’t happen in the book?’.
So all in all, I would have to say that I enjoyed the book more than I enjoyed the movie. Although I understand why they changed as many aspects of the film as they did, I just personally much preferred the structure of the book and Wade’s journey to gain the three keys within it.