Ready Player One

Posted July 19, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 20 Comments

The title, moreso than this cover, says it all. Video games.

Ready Player One
By Ernest Cline
Library Overdrive E-book
[#51 in my 75 Book Challenge]

In the year 2044, the world sucks. Most people live their lives in OASIS, an entire virtual world where players can do, buy, and play almost anything. When the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, dies, he leaves behind all of his wealth and control of the company to the person who can locate three hidden keys and open three hidden gates with in the virtual world he created. Our hero, Wade Watts, may live a crappy life in an Oklahoma trailer park, but he’s up for the challenge. He just may be the one to finally win Halliday’s challenge, but quickly he realizes he up against more than casual competitors.

Let the games begin.

If you love the 80’s or video games, you’ll love this book. Since Halliday was a child of the 80’s and was completely obsessed with 80’s culture, there are 80’s culture references and video games galore. However, I’m not obsessed with video games or 80’s culture and I STILL loved the story.  While Wade is everything I don’t want to be (obsessive, reckless, and reclusive), I still had to root for him through the non-stop action. I loved the world building, both within OASIS and outside of it.

Essentially, this is a classic quest novel, just inside a virtual world. You have your hero (Wade), your hunting group of companions (fellow “gunters” Aech, Art3mis, Shoto, and Daito), the enemy (Sorrento and the Sixers, from a corporation that wants to own OASIS at all costs), and the grail (the final Easter Egg). Add in some techy gadgets, giant robots, teleportation, magical talismans…basically anything goes in this world. The novel is kind of like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in way, and I think it can be enjoyed by more than just video game enthusiasts.  

FINAL GRADE:   A   I’m on a good book roll this summer. I don’t know if it’s that I have time to really enjoy my books or because I’m just having a lucky streak, but Ready Player One had me ignoring people around me just to find out what happened next. Wow, you guys. I also see why Ready Player One has been recommended as an adult book for teenagers, since the content would definitely appeal to this age group. I would by it for my library for my more mature middle school students, and recommend it to my friends who like fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian books.

Oh, and the book gets a GLBT tag, but I can’t tell you why. Just trust me that there is an awesome GLBT character and read the book to find out more.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to the bloggers and readers who reviewed and recommended this book, inspiring me to read it. Here are their reviews if you want to know more:

Lucy @ The Reading Date (she reviewed the audio book, narrated by Wil Wheaton)

Heidi @ Bunbury in the Stacks reviewed it on Goodreads

Stephanie @ Misprinted Pages (she’s also a gamer)

April @ Good Books and Good Wine (she compared it to The Westing Game)


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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20 responses to “Ready Player One

  1. Yay glad RPO did not disappoint, even though you are not an 80s enthusiast. It really does have a lot of crossover appeal. Love the Willy Wonka comparison too- very appropriate. And yes glad you gave a nod to the awesome GLBT character. Thanks for the shout-out too 🙂

  2. I’ve heard about this book and it sounds like it’d be something I’d want to read. If you could, could you please follow me at

  3. I also liked this book, but only to a B. I read it quickly and had a great time doing so, but still thought some of the writing could have been… more polished.

    Still, great fun.

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