I don’t often deal with sequels because, well, I only get to do this once a month. But I do visit them when I think it gives me something to say about storytelling.
Here’s the short version: This story is fine. If you liked Ready Player One, you’ll like this.
You have probably picked up on my tone without me having spoken a word, though.
Let me put it this way. One problem I have with sequels, especially from breakout stories that find great success but weren’t necessarily planned as a series is this: They tend to learn the wrong lessons about what the audience wants from future stories.
This doesn’t happen as often in books, however. It’s far more common in movies. I feel movies like Pirates of the Caribbean floundered with their sequels because they chose the wrong elements to focus on. I saw the same characters, the same setting, and even some of the same villains, but it didn’t really feel the same. It tried to be more, but more of the wrong things.
I get some of that from Ready Player Two. Part of the charm of the first book was the idea of this entire youth culture that centered around nerd nostalgia from the late 20th century. I even felt it did a decent job of making that feel plausible. When nerds get obsessed with a thing, they tend to go all in. Consider how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has permeated mainstream culture to the point where you could talk comic book heroes with a random person and there’s a good chance they’ll know what you’re talking about.
The RPO setting worked… within the confines of the first book. It was part of the story, the reason for the plot, the motivation of the characters. Now we have a story set in the aftermath and that nerd culture starts to feel a bit tacked on, and a lot more silly.
That said, the story does go in some interesting directions. Wade Watts, the hero of the first book, is now running a company that makes Amazon or Facebook’s grip on our lives look adorably unintrusive by comparison…
Read the rest at: Noah Chinn Reviews: Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline