REVIEW: Ready Player Two By Ernest Cline
We begin our story after Wade Watts won the James Halliday contest where he won Halliday’s share of the OASIS company. He ended up splitting his winnings with the Gunter’s that helped him along the way, Aech (H), Artemis and Shoto. The gang come together again when Wade is left a piece of information by Halliday about a new technology that he has been hiding for years now and whether people should have the opportunity to experience it, is left in Wade’s hands. Called the Oasis Neural Interface (ONI) it allows users to connect to the Oasis using all five senses and also can record their experiences as video in real life. Shoto and Aech both agree that this technology should be released but Artemis is so against it. Artemis believes that it is dangerous because using it for longer than the recommended 12 hours without a rest of 12 hours can severely damage the brain and so she votes against the release. She gets out voted and artemis is so against it that it causes Wade and Artemis to break up.
After the release of the ONI, Wade pretty much gets addicted to and withdraws himself from society. Shortly after this, a new four line riddle appears in the oasis, known as the shard riddle. The Shard Riddle involves collecting seven shards that would reconstruct the Siren’s Soul. Not knowing where to look, Wade puts out a reward for the location of the first shard, and it takes a while for a promising lead to come up, two years in fact. A Gunter named Lo ends up finding the first shard but only the heir of Halliday’s can pick it up. So she contacts him and he gives her the reward. After grabbing the first shard, he sees memories coming from the now dead Kira Underwood.
Called to a board meeting, Wade decides to tell the gang about the first shard and what happened to him but it is revealed that Halliday created an AI avatar of himself named Anorak and Anorak has now imprisoned every user of the ONI headwear and if they log out, their brain will be destroyed. The only way to stop Anorak is to actually do what he says. Anorak is after the shards but is unable to collect them himself. Anorak does not care at what lengths that he will have to go to and doesn’t care about the collateral damage. He even goes so far to threaten Artemis in real life as she has never put on the ONI and by refusing to do so, it has saved her life. She ends up jumping out of the plane that she was in due to Anorak trying to crash it. Anorak tells them that she has died but she reappears as soon as she has access to a normal headset and tells the rest of them that she is okay.
Wade and the gang start to collect the rest of the shards and as they do so, Wade starts to see more and more of Kira’s memories. Wade has such an idolised version of Halliday in his head and it turns out that they ideal wasn’t actually how the real Halliday was in real life. Wade really looked up to him and he finally realises that he was indeed a truly flawed human being who loved his best friends partner. Wade eventually realises that the ONI is capable of copying a person’s complete memory and that Kira’s was copied without her knowledge in the hopes that the copy would fall in love with Halliday in the oasis. Anorak made Ogden Morrow get the shards but when his health started to fail him, Anorak knew that he had to make Wade do his bidding so Og was taken and hid from the outside world by Anorak.
Og had always been weary of the avatar and the person that was Anorak and James Halliday and had a back up plan if anything went wrong, known as the Dorkslayer. The Dorkslayer is a sword that could kill Anorak but he is the only one who could use it. Knowing that they still have to find the last shard, they call in help in the form of Lo and her friends. Lo and her friends go to find the Dorkslayer whilst Wade and gang go to find the last shard. Coming up with a plan, Wade gives Anorak the shards to form the Siren’s soul but it turns out that Wade had the team back in the real world create a device that would take back all of the items that Anorak had stole from him. This means that he has the power that he originally had taken from him when Anorak took over the ONI headsets. Og is found in the real world and has an ONI headset put on him just in time so that he can destroy Anorak using the dorkslayer. He defeats Anorak and this releases all of the hostages of the ONI. But Og dies due to his real life wounds that he received during captivity. After this battle, Wade puts the pieces of the shards together and Kira’s copy appears. She reveals why Anorak was the way that he was in the end was due to Halliday deleting bits of his personality so that Kira would fall in love with him. But the Kira copy was still in love with Og and so made Halliday realise what he was doing was wrong and that’s why Halliday created this mission and hid Kira until the secret was ready to be revealed. Wade tells Kira that Og died. Knowing that he would never put on the ONI device, she appears sad but Wade tells her that he put it on in order to fight Anorak and so there is a copy of him on the system. So Wade creates a digital copy of Og and the rest of his crew and send them up in the interstellar spaceship that he had planned from himself so that the copies can live a life together in happiness whilst the biological versions of themselves remain on earth. We now realise that this story is being told by the digital copy of Wade and that since all of this he has heard that Artemis and Wade have married and are now expecting a daughter and decide to name the baby after Kira and the rest of the gang are off enjoying their own lives and creating families.
This book was amazing! One thing that I did not mention until now that I truly love is that the character of Lo is actually transgender. I loved the way that Cline put this into his world that they are a youtube type personality and every video, they have a different appearance. I thought this was such a cool way to introduce the ideas to the readers. I loved this follow up sequel to the original novel and was excited when I realised it had finally come out. I knew that I had to read it the way that I did the first, by audiobooking it. I have not regretted that decision one bit and thing that Wil Wheaton gives an amazing performance whilst also adding an atmosphere to the novel that is not there in the original written text. To be honest, I find that sci fi lends really well to audiobooks as it becomes very intriguing by listening to different sound effects that are added and that lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the book.
4 out of 5 stars.