Ready Player One

Barbara Vey -- December 21st, 2012

My son, Andrew, is not my big reader.  His brother, Keith, is.  When Andrew called to let me know he read the most amazing book, I paid attention.  Andrew is an artist, so his  books tend to be smaller and have pictures, but this one was different.

Andrew gave me Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I immediately wanted to read it because Andrew wanted to talk about it and I love hearing how others viewed the same book I read.  This would be the first book that Andrew and I will have ever had a discussion about.  Movies…all the time, but books…never.

Yes, I know it’s cliche, but I absolutely could not put it down.  I started it at night and finished it the next morning.

When I called Andrew to tell him, he was shocked that I finished it already and he said it took him about a year to read it (he may have been exaggerating just a bit).  I had a bunch of questions and observations and couldn’t wait to hear his side of it.

Ready Player One is listed as science fiction, but it is so much more than that.

I tried to write a blurb about it, but I couldn’t do it justice, so here’s how the publisher described it.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut — part quest novel, part love story and party virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and teh real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of the ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world.  For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century.  And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into the happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons.  Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize.  Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win.  But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

What did I love about this book?

The hero, Wade, a very ordinary guy in a grim world.
All the references to the 1980s.
The mystery.
The adventure.
And yes, the love story.  Because there is an amazingly sweet love story in this book.

What did I not like about this book?


I would read it again in a heartbeat.  This is the kind of book that screams to have a movie made of it.  I highly recommend it because I want to talk to others about it. What makes this book special is that it’s one of those books that anyone can read.  Male, female, young, old, cranky, happy, there’s something for everyone.  I can’t stop thinking about it and isn’t that the sign of a terrific book?

If you’ve read the book, let me know.  Have you ever had a book recommended that knocked your socks off?  Did you ever get a recommendation from an unexpected source and enjoy it?  Do your kids suggest books to you?

Bottom Line:  So, thank you Andrew for the recommendation and keep ‘em coming.

12 thoughts on “Ready Player One

  1. Tara Kingston

    My son recommended “The Hunger Games” when it first hit the shelves. I was familiar with Suzanne Collins from her elementary/middle grade level books, so I knew what a terrific author she is, but I’d never associated her with anything of that intensity. Wow, I was blown away, and pleased that my son has such good taste.

  2. Danica

    My 12 year old recommends books to me all the time. She really enjoyed the How to Train Your Dragon series (thought the movie didn’t do it justice) and recommended it to me, so now she’s re-reading it and passing the books to me when she’s done.

  3. James

    You’ll be happy to know that RP1 has been optioned for a movie. It is listed as in “pre-production” which basically means that it come come about or be lost in the Hollywood “almost made it” wasteland of film.

    On the plus side, he’s working on his next book now called “Armada” and, from the vague description of it, sounds like it is going to be just as good.

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