I have to preface this review by saying that I really really really enjoyed the intrigue, high tension, pop culture nerdery and all the oodles of easter eggs that Mr. Cline dropped into the first book. That was some prime world and character building.
This effort, however, just doesn’t get out of the gate, and I think the editorial team is who is ultimately to blame.
Ready Player Two opens with the High Five having taken over GSS and setting everything in motion to advance technology and provide a more realistic experience in the OASIS thanks to another discovery of some tech that Halliday created before his death.
Where everything starts to tumble is when we drop into what I like to call “poor Wade” mode. I’m not going to go into a lot of it because it was a complete drudge, but the most infuriating part of the entire first half of the book was the complete overuse of foreshadowing, and a total lack of action. This is what was most disappointing: Ready Player One was all about action and survival while Ready Player Two presents us an OASIS-addicted hermit with a shitty attitude and a rigorous workout regime.
In the second half of the book, however, we go back into quest mode and the reading becomes enjoyable again. Once again we have the pop culture mega-nerdery with tricky puzzles and strange quest fights, and all is right with the world. The problem is, half of the readers have already rage quit the book before getting to this halfway point.
Honestly, the first half of the book could have been summarized in just a couple of chapters. Hell, it could have all been done in an introduction; and a good editor would have pointed that out.
Ready Player Two is a huge case of an author overestimating the patience of his audience. I pray there is no Ready Player Three.