Review of Ready Player Two

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

This book is getting absolutely trashed. Unfairly. People loved Ready Player One. I did too, and this one is a bit uneven taking a long time actually to reach tempo. It follows on from the first, and there’s no way you could derive anything from this one without reading the first. To my mind, the author has attempted to seize upon the aspects that he surmised to have shared his readers and give them a second helping. The concluding happy ending of the first has fallen apart, and the villain is sprung. Where the original told the tale of a journey in which characters came together through a well-paced discovery, the second attempts to add some maturity to the protagonists who have in some ways mature but also corrupted by their wealth and power. A new generation of gamers growing up in changed circumstances rise to the challenge, and the next stage of human-techno interaction raises new ethical dilemmas.
I enjoyed the book eventually. However, I didn’t attempt to compare it to the first and appreciated a subsequent tale well told. I appreciate Cline’s ingenuity and ability to tease out a creative new twist. I understand why many expected another innovation rather than what might be classified as mere evolution. However, on its merits of timing, development, and twist this novel still stands out as a 4/5 for ability. There’s a bit of a missed trick concerning the clues that Og leaves throughout, and a bit of a deus ex machina moment where the security forces spring in to rescue Og – and this is where the pacing does suffer – everything is solved a little too easily versus the extensive amount of build-up.
My only concern centres around this massive ethical dilemma over the extraction of ‘souls’ via the ONI. It is far too easily solved when it becomes clear that it was all part of a merely evil plot by a twisted personality rather than the gradual product of technologically uncritical users – i.e the explicit Facebook/Google parallels.
Enjoyed and glad to have read.

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