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This book was a nice surprise. For some reason, I went in with very low expectations despite the major hype that's always surrounded this novel.
I'll be honest, it started off a little slow and there were massive chunks of exposition that I skimmed right through because my brain couldn't handle that much information. But, once you got past that point and the action finally started, I wasn't able to stop.
This book is perfect for gaming geeks and, even if you aren't one (like me), you'll still enjoy this book. Sure, a lot of the gaming references went over my head, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment at all.
SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD
It took me a little bit of time to fully get into the story because there was a lot- and I mean a lot- of exposition. Sometimes, they was literally just pages of backgrounds and histories and information and, while I tried to focus on it as best as I could, it pretty much went over my head. I skim read all of those parts and it made the beginning feel a tad slow for me.
But when Wade finally got the Copper Key, things started heating up and I was finally in it for the long haul. I love how Art3mis was the first person to actually figure out the riddle to find the Copper Key but it was super funny how Wade won at Joust on his first try! And honestly, if were Wade, I wouldn't have given her a hint of how to win so Art3mis should be thankful he gave her that heads up.
Wade completed the First Gate task by fulfilling the role of a movie and that actually sounds quite fun- I'd love to be a character in a movie! Although, I think it may be a bit harder than it sounds. Sure, I know a few lines of my favourites but not every single one!
I loved when we first saw the Scoreboard change with Wade and Art3mis' new scores. I know it's only a few numbers but it was really intense for me! It was that full realisation that, this was it, the entire world was going to know they were winning and they'd become public targets. It was a powerful feeling.
And, indeed, Wade became public enemy number 1. The IOI offered him lots in exchange to recruit him on their team and I loved this whole interaction. It was intense, intriguing and exciting but... at the same time, Wade could've been a little less of a smart-ass and it may have saved his aunt. The IOI blew up his home and, while I didn't really care about Wade's aunt or anyone else there, it was such an extravagant proof of the IOI's power.
Wade creates a chatroom where the High Five can finally meet and it was so fun to see them all interact! I especially loved Aech because 'he' was so funny and charming as always. They kind of propose an alliance but they're all too hesitant to trust each other and continue to go their separate paths.
While Wade was trying to decipher the quatrain, his crush on Art3mis really started to grow and they spent a lot of time together which was cute, if not completely unproductive in the grand scheme of things. At this point, I was shaking the book as if I could shake some sense into Wade because he was letting his stupid crush get in the way of the contest he'd been working on for years! You can clearly see where my priorities are.
Art3mis was smart, though, and after Wade's confession of love, she broke off communication, knowing it'd be better off for both of them if they focused on the game first. At least Art3mis has her head screwed on straight!
Art3mis manages to get the Jade Key while Wade is screwing around in self-pity and Aech is not far behind. Aech, being the good 'guy' that 'he' is, gives Wade a hint so he can also acquire the Jade Key. Through this, Wade also receives a quarter for playing the perfect game of Pacman which was obviously going to play a bigger part in the future plot.
This was when the book sped up pace for me and I was totally invested in everything happening. The pages seemed to turn themselves at this point and it was oh, so good.
Wade completed the genius plan of infiltrating the IOI in order to hack his way through their system and take down the protective shield they have up. I'm still completely amazed how he managed to pull that off. He warns the others of his plan and Og Morrow jumps in to give them a convenient helping hand- giving them a place to stay so their real bodies are safe while they fight in the Oasis.
This was when we had a major plot twist that hit me straight in the face because I wasn't expecting it at all!! Aech is a girl!! I loved this plot twist- it was so clever and brilliantly done.
It's revealed that three people are needed to open the Third Gate and, let's face it, we all knew that Wade, Art3mis and Aech were going to be the ones that did it.
But, with the epic fight going on with robots, Gunters and Sixers alike, everyone ends up dying... apart from Wade because that sneaky quarter was obviously going to give him some hidden advantage! Wade gets through multiple challenges to win and I was on edge. I really felt the pressure that Wade did because everyone was watching him... and that's a scary thought when you're trying not to screw up.
Wade inherits all the money and Oasis in a Willy Wonka feeling scene at the end and Wade openly broadcasts that he's going to share the money between all of his friends- because sharing is caring, right?
Wade comes out of the Oasis and we have a really nice ending scene with him and Art3mis finally meeting in person and finally kissing. Ahh.
Overall, this was a great book that was so cleverly created. The only place it fell down a little for me was the huge chunks of exposition and dozens of gaming references that went over my head.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment your thoughts. Stay amazing!