Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

February 24, 2014 5 stars, Book Review 26 ★★★★★

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Random House on August 16, 2011
Genres: Adult SFF, Post Apocalyptic, Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Format: Audiobook

It's the year 2044, and the 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 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 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?


Ready Player One is straight up a tribute to all things 80s. If there were one book that a gamer should read it would have to be this one! Not only would gamers love it but any child of the 80s because there are so many movies, games and music references strung throughout the entire book that it was like one big ride of nostalgia for me. I remember fondly every science fiction and fantasy movie or game I played as a child and to have them mentioned in the book and frankly pretty much turned into a guide of all things awesome just blew my mind away.

If you couldn’t guess already I thought Ready Player One was fantastic! Beyond fantastic really because not only is this a great book for teens (the main characters being teenagers) but this is an excellent book for adults – especially those adults like me that are still big kids at heart. That’s right I’m looking at you folks who still like to RPG, Game, Cosplay and do anything at all SFF related. This book was written for us! It didn’t just speak to me as a fan and lover of all things SFF this spoke to my soul. Am I getting sappy there? – Yes, I can’t help it, I’m a big geek and I love what I love.  Each one of those teens I could see reflected back at me anytime I talk to one of my genre loving friends.

I know this might have been hyped up all over the place, even while reading it, my friends who had already read it were all ‘Oh I loved that,” “Oh I couldn’t put it down”…yadda yadda yadda. So it was really hyped up and I admit I was very hesitant to read it because I have been let down in the past by hyped up books and I was scared to be let down again. So I let it flounder on my shelf for 2 years!  Don’t let that be you LOL because man, this is already one I’ll be reading again asap. I’ll give you a moment to go click the buy button…done? Ok good.

So maybe you don’t want to listen to the hype? Good don’t! Don’t listen to the hype, don’t anticipate anything – just go along for the ride and enjoy. Approach and handle with caution because your head might explode in radtastic proportions…ok there I go hyping it up again.

All I have to say is this is more than just a coming of age story. While I think Ready Player One is reaching out to a specific generation, I also think it really could be for everyone. It is simply that entertaining. The comedy, the action, the pain, and pangs of love, there is so much to enjoy. I don’t even want to go into the contents of the book one iota because the description tells you everything you need to know to reel you in – and I guarantee within the first chapter Ernest Cline will have you hook, line and sinker. You don’t stand a chance.

Ready Player One

Find Book:  Goodreads
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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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26 Responses to “Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Yes I’m excited to read his next book Armada as well! I heard today that he also does “slam poetry” on youtube – so I’m going to go check that out.

  1. Laura Plus Books

    I’ve literally heard so so many good things about this book. I really want to read it but I’m scared that I won’t be able to understand all the references. I do play my fair share of games but it’s not that often and not for very long. 🙁 I’m still going to check this one out soon though. Lovely review!
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I think you will be fine on the references. They make it obvious when they are talking about a game or a movie, song – etc. You might enjoy the audio book alot. You should still definitely give it a try, which someone who knows these things would probably love it a whole lot I think anyone could really enjoy it.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      No definitely not just an 80’s trip – I like that he mentioned current games and movies as well. I’m hoping I can convince my husband to read it because he’s a big console gamer and 80’s lover.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It is now among my favorites period. I think it’ll become one of my go-to recommends when people ask me what they need to read. ARMADA! yes – I’m crazy excited for that one as well.

  2. Charleen

    I’m still trying to get my husband to read this. I know he’d absolutely love it, but he’s nowhere near as much a reader as I am. I’ll get there… eventually…
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I have the same issue with my husband. This book was made for him and goodness knows when I’ll be able to get him to read it. He’s so ARGH a non reader. He will only read when traveling by air and even then I’m lucky if he’ll complete ONE book…he’ll start it and get halfway thru and then just NOT finish it. I was thinking of trying to force him to listen to it on audio while he’s driving back and forth to work. But that might not work either.

      • Charleen

        Mine does like to read, but only when he’s in the mood for it. He read Ender’s Game when the movie came out, and then read the next couple in the series… but then he got about twenty pages into the 4th(?) book and just stopped. So, even when in the middle of a continuing story, there’s no guarantee. It seems to come and go so sporadically.
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        • Tabitha the Pabkins

          I know what you mean. Personally I used to never be able to DNF a book but now a days I give myself more leeway. However, I still almost never dnf even when I’m hating. If I’ve made it 50 to 100 pages in I always figure – I might as well push on.

          My husband read The Hunger Games trilogy because of all the hype and I even told him he wouldn’t really like them. He says he can’t handle YA. And I tried to explain to him that this isn’t even really YA! I didn’t feel like it was YA at all. well ok I guess it was but still I totally think it would appeal to adults.

  3. Mogsy

    This book is bloody brilliant, no other book comes close to the most unique stories I’ve read in ages. But then I also have a special love for it since it has to do with video games and I think every MMO player should read it. 🙂 I keep looking at other books on gaming culture etc. now with the same hopes I’ll find another amazing book like this now, and I never do…this book has ruined me!
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I’m not even bothering trying to search out other similar books – they would just end up suffering by comparison. But if I happened on one that sounded good of course….haha. You’re a much bigger MMOer than I am. I get too sucked in when I start playing and then I let it consume my life. I had to go cold turkey from WOW and Final Fantasy. Thank goodness I never played the ones before WOW or after it other than FF. And now I get serious motion sick whenever I try to play ever since I got pregnant and now even almost 2 years later I still get crazy motion sick after awhile. Makes enjoying it hard.

  4. Anya

    So I’m not quite that generation, but I’m totally a sci-fi fantasy geek in every way since I’ve played DnD, video games and obviously read a lot >.>. Think it’s still a me book or do I need to get all the 80’s references? 😉
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  5. fishgirl182

    Glad you liked this one so much. I really wanted to love this one but I only liked it. I think it got bogged down in the minutia of the games and 80s references and I felt like it spent a lot of time describing things instead of advancing the plot. But that was just my opinion. I know lots of people love it and I am looking forward to his next book.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Together!? On audio book? Or both reading your own copies? That would have been so sweet if my hubs would do that with me. but he’s so aggravating how he won’t read.

      • Pamela D

        We read each section separately (we each had our own copy), and then we would talk about it (we set a day for us to both be done with the section). My husband doesn’t read a lot either, so this is the only time that I got him to do this, even though he enjoyed the book. I’m trying to convince him we should do this again for Redshirts. I blame his lack of interest in reading on that he is a monogamous reader and then chooses either really long books to read or books that are short but not really good. *sigh*
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  6. Bibliotropic

    This book was amazingly fun, and I think I’ve read it 3 times over the past couple of years. It’s one of my go-to rereads when I just want to read something fast-paced and endlessly entertaining. Loved it!

  7. Steven M. Long

    I read this book a while ago, and though I thought it was only pretty good as a novel… I loved loved loved it because I did EVERYTHING the book mentioned! I even played through The Tomb of Horrros… repeatedly! Yeah, it’s a bit of a gimmick, but it’s a good, one of a kind gimmick!
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      • Steven M. Long

        It’s hard not to like something that seems as if it was written pretty much FOR YOU. I think I ran about 97%: there were one or two things that he mentioned that friends did, but I didn’t do. It’s pretty much an 80s nerd bible. Kind of makes me wonder how long it’ll be till someone writes the one for the 90s 😉
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        • Tabitha (Pabkins)

          The 90’s if I recall didn’t have as strong of a presence for SFF stuff. I recall that being like the hip hop decade if I remember my sisters music correctly that she would blast all the time. And I can’t even think of many SFF movies for that timeframe either. So that would probably not be a book that would appeal to me LOL
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