B is for Book Blurb Review!

Book blurbs are almost as important as book covers to me. I judge books by their covers. Sue me. But I also judge them by the content of their blurbs. If the blurb is merely ‘meh’ but the cover is stellar, I’ll still read a random selection of pages from within the book before deciding if I’ll be reading it.

But if the cover is ‘meh’ I might not even get to the blurb. However. the ‘B’ of the week is for ‘Book Blurb Review’ and not ‘Book Cover Review’ so here we are. Here we blurb.

Today I will be reviewing the blurb for the fiction novel Ready Player One.

The blurb:

“At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. 

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.   

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?”

This is an excellent blurb – a blurb that will lead to a buy. Let us examine the blurb. It starts off with a bang, telling us the book is super fun and super cool – due both to it’s wacky and adventurous spirit and it’s rampant use of nostalgia. If there’s one thing folks love, it’s nostalgia. It then milks the nostalgia mention to the extreme, managing to wedge in references to Blade Runner and Back to the Future. Also mentioned are robots and magic. This blurb basically covers it’s butt in appealing to every type of nerd imaginable. And I’m LOVIN’ IT!!

Next paragraph – we find out the novel is set in a dystopian future…yes, please, and thank you!

And the next paragraph? We find out people hook into a virtual world to escape the horror of their daily lives. Escapist fantasy within an escapist fantasy? Yes, please, and thank you – AGAIN!

Can it get any better? It does! We find out if we dare to read this book we’re going to join our hero on a journey to hunt down a lottery ticket hidden in the virtual world. And not only do we join him on a series of virtual adventures, but also on a journey of solving fiendish puzzles! You might think I’m mocking the use of puzzles as a means of piquing my interest. But I am not. I am most certainly not. At this point in the blurb, I am sold on this book. My wallet is open and the dollar bills are a-waving to my local book merchant.

But wait! There’s even MORE! The puzzles are all pop-culture based! From the late twentieth century! I know that century! I lived it! I loved it! More pop culture references abound in this paragraph and I’m throwing my credit card to the heavens in hopes that they’ll send down a copy of Ready Player One.

Surely it can get no better? Surely there is no way they can make me want to read this book even more. But THERE IS! Others are out to kill our hero to win the prize for themselves! Bloodthirsty pop culture enthusiasts on the prowl for a prize wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in a lottery for the promise of power and cash?? Sign me up! Sign me up post-haste! Sign me up and throw away the key!! And our hero might have to break from this virtual paradise and face the real world? Well, chuck my sledge hammer at a giant computer monitor and call me Apple computers because I’m ready to break free! I want to break free! Queen style. Exclamation points.

The book blurb for Ready Player One gets an A+. An A++. An A+++.

“A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?”


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