Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, Book 2)
By: Earnest Cline
My Rating: Two out of five stars
Best for: Adults only who like to read disappointing books
Yep. Just as I thought.
We were fine with Ready Player One.
Ready Player Two is a disappointment I’m going to pretend doesn’t exist.
Ready Player One was my JAM back in 2011. I remember reading it for the first time and wanting to immediately start over and experience it again. It’s brilliant, awesome, amazing, hyperbole, hyperbole, hyperbole. I loved it, and I still do. Everyone loves the underdog, and the rags-to-riches story of the underdog-“geek who inherits the earth” was the magic that made Ready Player One special. The 80’s culture and the it-could-be-real video game stuff made it fun–but the magic was in the story.
Ready Player Two tried to replicate the fun, but failed because it forgot the magic.
The story in RP2 picks up days after RP1 ends, and then through 100 pages of no plot development we learn our heroes are now fabulously wealthy, control the world, have emotional issues, and discover there’s yet another puzzle to solve hidden around Oasis.
Guys, there are so many problems. The once-layered characters and now annoying and flat. The conflicts are solved with minimal effort. There’s no drama–someone knows every answer or has just the right tool, everytime. The romantic relationship makes zero sense. It was painfully obvious someone went down the checklist of WOKENESS and made sure every hot-button social issue was represented, whether they added value to the plot or not. (Spoiler: they never did.)
RP2 did blow away RP1 in one thing: The F-Bombs flowed freely– and pointlessly. I understand the use of strong language in books when it serves a purpose or fits a character. But when it’s gratuitous and serves no purpose it’s lazy to me. For perspective:
RP1 used F*** 9 times, or once every 42 pages. Sh** was used 33 times, or once every 11 pages.
RP2 used F*** 30 times, or once every 12 pages, and sh** 44 times, or once every 8 pages.
That’s a lot of swearing, and it pushed me to the very edge of my tolerance because it lacked purpose in the narrative. There are also discussions of sex and PG level violence.
I went into RP2 with low expectations, and I was still disappointed. Read it if you’re curious, just lower your expectations–then lower them some more. I should have known better after Armada. Hopefully Ernest Cline got a big payday for writing this unwelcome sequel, because I’m not going to read anything he writes ever again.
My opinion? Don’t bother with RP2. Thank me for taking this bullet for you and go read Ready Player One again.
Happy Reading–of something else!