Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready-player-oneReady Player One
by Ernest Cline
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Setting: Oklahoma City, OK and Columbus, OH, 2045
Published by Crown, 2011
E-book, purchased
375 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Then the Hunt for Halliday’s Easter egg began. That was what saved me, I think. Suddenly I’d found something worth doing. A dream worth chasing.

. . .

The moment I began searching for the egg, the future no longer seemed so bleak.


…there was no escaping the truth. In real life, I was nothing but an antisocial hermit. A Recluse. A pale-skinned pop culture-obsessed geek. An agoraphobic shut-in. with no real friends, family, or genuine human contact. I was just another sad, lost, lonely soul, wasting his life on a glorified videogame.


  • I loved this! It’s a love fest for all things 1980’s!
  • This book is so different and original. Great world building.
  • “Real” life is very difficult and depressing and most people live in a virtual world called the OASIS. Many of them play on-line games. That is what Wade Watts does in his free time.
  • Wade even attends school in the OASIS. When the book begins Wade lives with his aunt in a trailer house. The trailer houses are stacked one on top of another with narrow space between the next stack of trailer houses. The mid-twenty-first century slum.
  • We don’t see very much of the “real” world.
  • The book reminds me a little of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because there is a contest in Ready Player One also. However, the stakes are much higher in Ready Player One since the winner in this story inherits everything the creator of the OASIS owned when he died. The whole world goes wild trying to find the clues hidden in the OASIS.
  • James Halliday (creator of the OASIS) was worth billions and was obsessed with the 1980’s–the decade he was a teenager. The contest he has created is filled with 1980’s pop culture references and video games.
  • The contest takes years and individuals aren’t the only ones interested in winning. And not everyone plays nice.
  • As I read the book I could see it as a movie–and now I see it will become a movie!


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I was so surprised when I read this book. I hadn’t heard of the author or the book until a few weeks before I bought and read it. I’m so glad I found it!
  • And I’m happy that Mr. Cline’s second book–Armada–is coming out in July.


  • Prometheus Award for Best Novel (2012)
  • ALA Alex Award (2012)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014),
  • Tähtivaeltaja Award Nominee (2013)
  • Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2015)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Ernest Cline is a novelist, screenwriter and self-confessed geek. This is his first novel and it’s a New York Times bestseller! The book is set to become a movie by Warner Bros. with Steven Spielberg as the director.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with a number in the title)