Action and Adventure,  Book Review,  Dystopian,  Science Fiction,  Speculative Fiction,  Young Adult

Ready Player Two

Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Ready Player One. It hit all the marks for me, so of course—like most fans—I had high expectations for Ready Player Two. I was prepared for a plot without a quest, since the quest had already been done, but much to my delight, we had another quest! This time the stakes were incredibly high and the consequences of failure absolutely horrifying.

Most of the action takes place on three virtual planets in the OASIS. Shermer Illinois is a tribute to the John Hughes films of the ’80’s. I was amused by the needle drops – music from the movies that would start playing to match the setting. I’m a big fan of Hughes films and would even say I know a lot of trivia about them – but I learned a LOT more as our questers worked their way through to the goal.

The Prince world was a *trip* and one heck of a tribute to His Royal Badness. The mental eye-candy was non-stop stunning, and the writing was smartly snarky. I can’t even begin to describe it all, I’d wear out a keyboard or two trying.

And then we rode off to Arda – or as you might know it, Tolkien’s world from Lord of the Rings. I’d expected to enjoy this jaunt the most, but as it turns out, I found it to be rather tedious. The battle scenes seemed to go on forever. I found myself skimming a lot of the overly-described action.

And speaking of overly described and tedious. I have to be honest. I nearly gave up on the book early on. The first 60-ish pages were filled with dry, unemotional exposition that seemed to go on forever before the story actually kicked into gear. I felt like I was reading a dull academic paper, not an adventure novel! But when it finally revved up and the characters started actually speaking, I loved it. I just wish those opening chapters could have been handled in a more entertaining fashion.

What’s handled well, though, and beautifully, are the love stories. They made my sappy, sentimental heart very happy.

If it wasn’t for those first 60-ish pages, I’d give this one five stars. As it is, I’m giving it three. And I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to a Ready Player Three… but I know myself well enough to know that if it gets published, I’ll read it.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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