Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline is the unwanted sequel to the divisive Ready Player One. I, for my part, really enjoy RP1. It's got a great world, a great plot, and sure, the characters were paper thin and the main character himself a bit dimwitted and sexist, but he was determined and focused and I could forgive many of his faults. I also think RP1 is a great intro into sci-fi for reluctant high school readers, particularly young men. I have recommended this to two of my tutoring students who then asked for more (I steer them toward Ender's Game and after that they have to figure it out for themselves). What I am telling you is that I genuinely enjoy and recommend RP1.
And then there was the extreme disappointment of Cline's sophomore book Armada, of which the least said the better.
I went in to this book having heard it was bad, but Ready Player One also has a fair number of detractors who have legitimate criticisms, but seem to really miss the fun. So I was cautiously optimistic that haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, and I put the book on hold and was pleased when my Libby hold came through.
I was ten pages in and I knew, I KNEW, this is a bad book.
What makes the first book so good is that it is all action all the time. There's some world building, but that world building is done in service of the action. We are dropped into the action immediately and it never stops.
This book is a SEQUEL with the first 100 pages devoted to MORE WORLD BUILDING we don't need. I was bored. And then it turns out that we're back on the exact same narrative as the first book in which we're going after these Easter eggs, but the quests are far less fun or interesting.
(Tangent: I know I lived in Minneapolis, but I don't care for most of the music stylings of Prince and despite my love of the Twin Cities, even I thought the whole Prince storyline took 3948239048 years and put me to sleep for three nights in a row.)
I wish the novel just dropped us into the action, like we are dropped in the middle of the Prince task and then there were flashbacks to the previous tasks and then we could move forward. Nix the first 100 pages of world building and then just weave the narrative of technological developments that are different from the first novel into descriptions of what happened.
So disappointing. It's really a bad book.