Ernest Cline - Shastrix Books

Ernest Cline

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Ready Player Two

Ready Player Two

Ernest Cline

23rd January 2021

In this sequel, Ernest Cline revisits the world that he created, in which a group of youngsters own the world’s dominant corporation and find that capitalism messes with their ideals.

I found it quite hard to get my head into the world at the start of the novel - since reading the first one I have seen the film adaptation twice, and so that version was more prominent in my mind, rather than the events of the book, which is what this is the sequel to.

In general, I think it’s a good setup for a sequel, it expands the world and grows the characters. There’s a message to take away from it.

But in the specifics, it feels rushed and a bit repetitive. In the first book, the challenges presented to the characters felt like they took a lot of effort and time to solve (unlike the film) but here they seem easy and fast. While that might be a plot point, it felt a bit artificial and almost like one element had been added just to mitigate how easy it seemed.

That said, I was once again hooked and loved reading the book. I can’t immediately see scope for another entry in the series but will almost certainly read Cline’s next book, whatever it is.

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Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

11th September 2016

The debut novel from Ernest Cline, though the second of his that I've read, is currently being turned into a film by Steven Spielberg, and it's clear to see why. This is a fantastically rich novel, full of cult references to the early days of computer gaming and the eighties and nineties, that also tells a strong adventure story in a really compelling way.

The cast of characters are very compelling and it's really easy to identify with the main character and his relationships with the world, the computers, and the other characters - he reminded me a lot of Harry Potter in some ways, being slightly bland so you can cast your perspective easily into his head, but also by being the complete accidental hero.

I think what I enjoyed most in this novel though was the worldbuilding. From the post-apocalyptic future of RL to the virtual worlds that the characters visit, Cline has constructed an environment for his story that is amazingly rich and detailed and entirely believable.

It's a great novel and truly deserving of being made into a film by the best filmmakers there are. I look forward to a line continuing to produce amazing novels and will certainly be close to the front of the queue for them.

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Armada

Armada

Ernest Cline

21st August 2015

Armada - the latest computer game that obsessed the youth of the nation, particularly teenager Zack Lightman - the sixth highest ranked player in the global leaderboards. Until he sees one of the game's alien spacecraft for real from his classroom window, and a web of global conspiracies starts to unfold.

There are a lot of elements here that remind me of Terry Pratchett's 'Only You Can Save Mankind' (though it's a long time since I read it and I dot recall the details), and for a while that resemblance made me slightly dubious of this novel, but once thugs got moving and I got into the story I was hooked.

Cline's mastery of popular culture goes a long way to selling the story, tying in major science fiction films, classic (80s) music and computer gaming since it was invented to produce a story of surprising magnitude.

There are area though where the plot feels a little unpolished - some of the plot twists are clear from a mile off, and there isn't quite the emotional depth that I expected in a teenager from some of the scenarios presented. I had trouble following the passage of time correctly in places, and some of the more action-driven scenes were hard for me to follow (though I think this may be because I don't generally visualise what I'm reading).

A good fun read though and I'm very tempted to explore the author's previous novel and keep an eye out for more in future. There's definitely opening here for a sequel which I think could be fascinating and go into some really deep questions.

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