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Ready Player Two called "soulless" and "beyond parody" in brutal first reactions

Catherine Earp
·3-min read
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

From Digital Spy

Ready Player Two spoilers follow.

Ready Player Two is out now, and the first reactions are... not good.

The sequel to Ernest Cline's 2011 novel Ready Player One sees the return of Wade Watts after winning James Halliday's hunt, taking over control of the OASIS, and becoming the richest and most powerful man in the world.

Wade finds he's also inherited a new technology invented by Halliday – the ONI headset, which allows Avatars to experience all their senses. It's released to the OASIS, despite pushback from Aech and Wade's girlfriend Art3mis aka Samantha.

Photo credit: Arrow
Photo credit: Arrow

This results in users straight away finding out what it's like to give birth to themselves, taking drugs with no consequences and taking part in 50-person orgies from the view of all the participants.

After becoming a recluse with the technology, Wade is notified of a new quest to retrieve the Seven Shards and reconstruct the Siren's Soul, which he embarks on.

The new book has already been criticised by critics for its clunky plot, shoehorned-in '80s references and Easter eggs, and how unlikeable Wade has become.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Book and Film Globe described the reading experience, saying: "When I finished reading it, I felt physically drained, exhausted after living in Ernest Cline's head for nearly 400 pages of Animotion and Van Hagar, John Hughes movies and bad video games."

Den of Geek added: "The gunters' single-minded '80s obsession felt like clever commentary in Ready Player One; in the sequel, it verges on self-parody."

Readers have also been left unimpressed with the handling of certain characters, particularly trans character Skylar.

Writer Laura Hudson shared an excerpt from the book on Twitter that revealed Wade hacked into Skylar's birth certificate and found she'd been "designated male at birth".

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

"Discovering this minor detail didn't send me spiralling into a sexual-identity crisis, the way it probably would have back when I was younger," the book reads.

"She's trans – which he assures us does not make him feel weird about having a crush on her! Shitty," Laura wrote.

Fans also didn't like the handling of Wade's best friend Aech, who was revealed to be a Black lesbian using the avatar of a white male in the first book.

In the sequel, Aech heads "back to her ancestral homeland" of Senegal, with some readers feeling that Cline makes Aeche's skin colour feel like a parody.

"I've never seen a line in a book that made me so sure not a single Black person was involved in not only the writing but literally any point in the authors life," one wrote.

Ready Player Two is available now.

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