Written by: Ernest Cline
Ready Player One takes place in the near future. Earth has been mostly destroyed by various things and basically corporations rule. But there’s one safe-haven: The Oasis. Oasis is a virtual reality game that ultimately became a place where people lived out their whole lives. In game currency is worth more than real countries, and you can do everything from shop to go to school in it. Anything you could previously do in the real world, plus more is available in the Oasis, which is free to use. When the creator of The Oasis dies, he leaves a video will behind that is automatically sent to all players. This 80′s obsessed, Steve Jobs-esque character says that he has hidden an easter egg in the game and the first person to find it gets control over the company, his own personal fortune, and everything that comes with it. So now people known as “gunters” spend their time analyzing every detail of his life and searching the game and 80′s pop culture to find clues to where the keys and gates may be. And after 5 years of no progress, Wade Watts, a teenager and our hero finds the first puzzle.
Are you a big fan of the 80′s? Particularly things like old video games and systems, movies, and things of that nature? Then you’ll probably love this book. Are you a big fan of a well done adventure? Then you’ll probably love this book. Are you a big fan of video games and/or post-apocalyptic settings? Then you’ll probably love this book. Ready Player One has a ton going for it straight off the bat. Just the set up of the story, introducing us to this particular future and what the Oasis is and who it’s creator and our protagonist are, which is covered in only a few pages, grabs you and will leave you devouring everything that comes after.
Beyond the great premise, Ready Player One delivers a full and satisfying story that at every step seems to always be making the right decision. It takes us into a horrible future and then gives us characters to root for and stand behind. It’s also incredibly detailed and well written. Ernest Cline has done a wonderful job creating this world, or actually 2 worlds since there’s the real and the virtual. It all feels very realistic and like it could be something that could happen in the future. It’s not so incredibly far-fetched. And it’s further grounded by it’s dependence on real world 80′s references, all of which are explained in case you didn’t live through them.
I absolutely loved following Wade as he tries to solve the puzzles set by the creator and trying to solve them along with him. It gave a nice mystery component to the book that added a lot. Also adding a lot is Wade’s characterization. We’re told a lot about his circumstances by how he’s forced to live. And he’s also a teenage boy and the book explores his first romance which is happening while all of this other stuff is going on, with one of his competitors no less. The romantic sub-plot doesn’t ever get in the way and in fact enhances the main plot.
I really don’t have a single bad thing to say about Ready Player One. It’s really an incredible book that I highly suggest you check out. From big action sequences to small character moments, you will not be disappointed.
Audiobook also available from and Audible.