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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ernest Cline

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3,7784291,379 (4.21)3 / 467
brianinbuffalo's review
While creative and even brilliantly inventive in some spots (yes, Saturday Night Live shows are still entertaining audiences a few decades into the future), Cline's book simply is too long for its storyline. Midway through this peek into a bleak futuristic society, it's easy to feel like a computer gamer who realizes that are still 32 grueling levels to conquer before the real payoff occurs. Don't get me wrong. "Ready Player One" is dotted with some eyebrow-raising wow factors, and there are a good number of laugh-out-loud moments. But there are just way too many unnecessary details and diversions from the main story path for my liking. This would have made for a wonderful novella -- or at least a scaled-down novel. I'm usually a fan of dystopian tales (I'm a magnet at parties for folks in search of nuggets of optimism and inspiration), so I was surprised that Cline's yarn wore thin after our gamers started the second leg of their explorations. Still, I think readers with more patience than I have will enjoy this unique journey into a problem-plagued futuristic society. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Feb 12, 2012 |
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Geekgasm ( )
  Gobbers | Sep 28, 2014 |
Surprisingly, one of the most exciting books I have read in a while. I learned a lot of stuff about video games that I probably wouldn't have known about otherwise. The OASIS is both terrifying and awe inspiring. While I would not want to live in the world Cline has created, I wouldn't mind a visit.

Also, I would have given it 5 stars but there was too much unnecessary angsty teen drama in the book for my liking. ( )
  KatieEmilySmith | Sep 23, 2014 |
4.5 Stars

What a fun read! 80's nostalgia mixed with virtual reality from the the 2040's turned out to be something a I really enjoyed. Now don't get me wrong, this is not the book if you are looking for literary fiction and I am pretty sure it was not written to be. It is what I like to call escapist fiction (books written that spur your imagination).

It regales in references from 1980's television, movies, music, books and (especially) video games so if you are a fan of this decade (or even if you were just along for the ride), you will find lot's of familiar names to stimulate memories that make you smile (or at least they did for me). In addition, the main theme of the story is a virtual reality world that is an expanded (and greatly enhanced) version of a MMORPG.

I can recommend this book any fan for "fun read" science fiction or fantasy. I will look to read additional content by the author.

( )
  ConalO | Sep 21, 2014 |
Really a youth sci fi book, but also a paean to 1980s geek culture. I would have liked it more if I were really steeped in all things geek back then (I'm a few years older than the author, so I never got into the anime craze, etc. But I remember lots of the movies and TV shows referenced).

Cool concept, well fleshed out. It imagines a world in which a virtual reality game has basically sucked up everything, leaving lots of people living only for the fantasy world... but it's not clear that that is a bad thing! Great companion to The Unincorporated Man, which includes reference to a history in which virtual reality destroyed the world economy. It seems to be doing the same thing here, but strangely that's not what the book is about! Maybe in a sequel. ( )
  DanTarlin | Sep 18, 2014 |
Tons of fun. As a child of the 80's and a (reformed ha!) gamer, this book was highly enjoyable despite some plot weaknesses here and there. Loved it. ( )
  dulcinea14 | Sep 18, 2014 |
Through five chapters it reads like a Cory Doctorow novel with the didactic bits excised. That isn't actually a bad thing, even though I prefer CD's work. This is an excellent YA TITLE & Wil Wheaton is the ideal narrator.

At the end, the whole thing held up well. It really was a geek-nostalgia love-fest, but it didn't. Fail to deliver. Light reading for certain, but good light reading. I'll be looking forward to seeing what Mr. Klein does w/ his career. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
OMG...I adore this book. Between the video game and pop culture references and the dystopia....I could not put it down.

Basically, everyone lives online, or is there for all their freetime in the OASIS. Costs a quarter to join and you can live your second life. Halliday, the creator of OASIS, dies and leaves the ownership of OASIS up for grabs. But you have to beat his game. And everyone is trying to win. Become rich and own the OASIS? Who wouldn't? However, evil corporations are also trying to win and make it a pay for play site and full of ads...Wade, a young man with nothing to lose finds the first key and now everyone is looking for him.

It is so much better than I can even describe. Pick it up and get lost in this novel. ( )
  bookwormteri | Sep 16, 2014 |
Fast paced and exciting.
I was seriously engaged in the characters and the Hunt the entire time, even to the point where I was frustrated with Wade for slacking off in between the Copper and Jade Gates.

I've seen this book lurking around for a while in a ton of recommendation lists, but I've always ignored it because I usually think pop culture references in books are a little tacky, especially if you're not well-versed in them. And I'm not exactly a child of the 80's. I knew maybe half of the references. But still, that didn't stop this from being a fantastic book.

I love the concept of Easter Eggs in video games put into play in an entire world-wide virtual reality. The pacing of the gate discoveries were great and I like how there was some, but not overwhelming, amounts of romance.
But really, this book has a little bit of everything. A dash of romance, an adventure with a hidden secret, a villain, undercover adventures, etc. I thought it was pretty fantastic how the Wade had to do some real legwork in the real world for the quest when he has to take down the main villain's support.

There are just some really fantastic scenes. The Pacman game with that quarter, the use of giant robots, the actual final Crystal Gate, etc. all come to mind.

I do wish that more emphasis was given on the real world, especially since it seems to be dissolving around their ears with lack of resources and tons of pollution. But I guess that's a little impossible within one book and completely understandable it's not there.

4 stars. Highly recommended. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Originally posted in a review blog of sorts..."


What do you get if you took World of Warcraft, the Sims, and The Surrogates and mixed them in a blender for 80 seconds? If you said that you’d get a world where you could control your own ‘Sim’ in a huge massively multiplayer online world, where you can go on quests, hang out with friends, and even go to school. And in this world, it allows players to be anything that they wanted to be. A hotter body, sure. An awesome warrior with cool weapons and has huge muscles, of course. A player, in both senses, whatever you want you can get. The world offers a better you, a better life, a better world, so much so that some people spend their entire time in the online world that they forget about the real world.

If this was your answer, then you’d be correct. You’d also be correct if you said that you’d get the delightful debut novel, Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.
When James Halliday, the creator of OASIS, passes away it kicks off contest like no other. Since he was never married and has no offspring or friends, his entire fortune is up for grabs. And what better way to do this then with a game? In his will, he left a puzzle. Solve it and you get to do a quest, once you do that, you get another puzzle. Solve that and you do a question...I think you get the idea.

The only way to get this is if you immerse yourself in all things Halliday. He loved the 80s, so even though the year is 2040, the 80s made a huge comeback. The more you know the better chance you have at winning the inheritance and gaining total control over OASIS.

The main character, Wade, goes on this quest, but finds that the further he gets into this puzzle, the deadly it becomes for him, not only in OASIS, but in the real world to.



Ready Player One has a lot of great things going for it. As a gamer, I loved reading about the world that Cline created and seeing how it affected everyday life. Even though I didn’t grow up in the 80s, I did get a lot of the pop culture references and what not. Just a note, there is a lot of 80s references. A lot.

The story, as a whole, is fairly interesting. On one hand, it’s exciting and seeing how Wade figures out the puzzles was fun to read. But on the other hand, the book did tend to tell you things instead of showing them to you. I think with this book it was a bit hard to not have an info dump here and there, because of the nature of the story. I just wish that the info dumps weren’t so much. I wanted to read more about what Wade was doing and even learn more about his dystopian world.

The characters are a bit hit and miss too. I found Wade annoying and stupid, but he was an interesting character. But I think the main problem is that the good guys are clearly labelled; and therefore, they don’t have as much depth to them as I would have liked. The same goes with the bad guys. The Sixers, minus the head honcho, had no personality. The main villain was a touch over the top. You do get some development, but not as much as I'd like.

I think my biggest con of this book is the first few pages. In the prologue, Wade tells us that he was the winner of the competition and is writing this book in order to set the record straight. I felt like this kind of took away from the climax of the story. Instead of wondering whether Wade makes it or not, I already knew that he got it. The sense of surprise was taken out.

This may seem like I hated the novel, but I didn't. I actually liked the story and felt like Cline did a great job for his debut novel. There are problems, but I did like the premise and the gamer in me had fun reading this. I'll be looking forward to Cline's next novel. Definitely check this one out.

3.5 stars ( )
  pdbkwm | Sep 8, 2014 |
Loved this book! It's my fave or all the ones I've read this year. The author has a mixtape list on his website of all the songs mentioned in the book.

http://www.ernestcline.com/blog/2011/09/21/the-official-ready-player-one-soundtr... ( )
  kwbridge | Sep 6, 2014 |
In the year 2044, reality is ugly & the only place of refugee is the online world of Oasis, a virtual utopia (like the Sims games). When the creator dies and leaves behind a maze of puzzles and riddles based on 1980s trivia, Wade’s new mission is to crack the code and win before the evil corporate clones do.

Read more at: http://thenovelworld.com/2014/07/14/ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline/ ( )
  TheNovelWorld | Sep 5, 2014 |
Absolutely fantastic book. If you enjoy gaming, the 80's, or a dystoptian future scape this book is for you. I found its relevance to today's news unsettling but it does show the perceptiveness of the author. Overall, a fantastic read and I really couldn't put it down the entire time I read. ( )
  tklos88 | Aug 27, 2014 |
No, this book is not perfect. It's actually pretty far from perfect and, being an annoying person as I am, I found a couple of story tweaks that I couldn't just let go. But you know what? I forgive all the defects. I forgive them all. Because for a very, very long time, I haven't read a book that was as good as this one. A book that actually gave me a feeling of comfort. A book that made me feel at home. And the experience it gave me, it was marvelous, glorious and fantastic.

I didn't give much importance to it at first just by reading the reviews and summary. And to be honest, I didn't quite care for the book in the beginning. At first, you'll think it is just one of those generic dystopia books. But as read the book and find reference of things that you actually know (and even love), you grow fond of it. When you least expect it, Ready Player One has already become part of you. And even if you don't really like the characters, the universe described in Ready Player One is not only ridiculously familiar, but also... cozy, in a way. It just felt like I have been there before. That I heard all the songs the author mentioned, that I have already played all those games, watched all those movies, read all those books.
You know what's worse? The story only gets better. The references only get better. Tension grows. You feel compelled to keep reading and reading and never stop until you reach the last page.

I don't think I am even able to explain how much I liked this book. I'm already missing OASIS and all of its awesomeness. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
I just finished this and it was fantastic. It wasn't anything deep and profound but it's a fun roller coaster adventure that brings you back in time (even though the book is set in the future). If you didn't grow up in the 80's you might not get all the references and it might not make your nostalgic heart flutter BUT if you did... you will love this book. The Author did an amazing job fitting in so many geeky things I found so dear throughout my life that it's almost like he traveled through my past. Not only is extremely nostalgic but it has great character development and a plot that keeps you wanting more. Every geek who has a soft spot for text adventure games, cheesy movies from the 80's and just plain loves a good adventure book should read this... NOW. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Honestly? What was the fuss about? I thought the premise was good but it dragged. ( )
  TadAD | Aug 21, 2014 |

Great premise, great story. This book was pure joy from the first page to the last.

Any computer nerds like me that spent the 80s playing games like Black Tiger, pac man, various text adventures; watching anime, saturday morning cartoons; movies like war games and back to the future...
...then this book is for you.

If you weren't into your Atari 2600, C64, coin ops, and your obsure 80s trivia then potentially this book may not be your thing, but I would say there is still much to enjoy regardless of the nostalgia factor. The characters are fun, the story is interesting and you're taken on a long and varied adventure.

5 stars. A great and entertaining book.

( )
  JohnEKerry | Aug 20, 2014 |
This book/movie was friggin awesome. I say /movie because it was so visually awesome I felt like I was watching it on IMAX.

I was born in 1980 but had a brother born in 1972 so everything that was 80's was in my face as a kid. This was a real geeky experience and I loved every second of it.

It was one of those books I was surprised at not having spotted years before and after picking it up online, I picked an crappy soft cover for the airplane and then a 1st Edition Hard Cover for the top shelf and future signing.

It's the sort of book whereby if you like the first page you will love the rest and if you don't like the first page, don't be a douche, read another one and then you will be sucked in. ( )
  areadingmachine | Aug 19, 2014 |
Will Wheaton was the perfect reader & is actually mentioned by his real name in the story. If you don't know who I'm talking about, then don't bother reading the book or this review. I don't think anyone who isn't into video games or a bit of an SF nerd will get much out of this. It's probably best if you grew up in the 80's, too. Those of us who are a bit older (OK, quite a bit. My kids grew up in the 80's.) but somewhat geeky will also love it.

This had it all - a dystopian world of the near future, social issues, a romance, & fantastic adventure, all set to a backdrop of an 80's geekfest. Early video games figure in prominently along with the music & movies of the decade; War Games, Rush, Star Wars, Zork, Joust, and Blade Runner.

My biggest complaint with the book was redundancy. Cline was too thorough about explaining everything & if there was any chance the idiot reader might not have grasped it the first time, he told me a second time. Drove me a little crazy at times. C'mon! This was a book for nerds. Anyone who can't remember how Joust works needs to play a game again. There's an online version here:
Seriously, that's just one of the sites that comes up. Most of these old games are free online, simply google it.

The book wasn't perfect. It had some issues with a variety of items & pulled off a few cheap shots in the story line. I didn't care much for the way his big infiltration was handled, for instance. Nor how H traveled around in the RV when the bus required a hit team or some of the other tech details, but it was a fun romp. I just went with it & enjoyed. I actually kind of got several of the clues, like Captain Crunch, which made it even more fun.

Overall, it had a great message, too. It is easy to get lost online & ignore the real world even today.

That's just sad, but true. If I was raising a teen today, I'd probably break their phone. Thankfully for my kids, I only stomped one calculator & occasionally took away their computers. Much cheaper.

Anyway, it was great fun & I highly recommend letting Will read it for you. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |


Review to come. ( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
If you grew up in the 80s you will love all the 80s pop culture throughout this book. To me it had a feel of Harry Potter meets The Matrix. It is a fun book which I would have no problem reading again! ( )
  AspieNerdGirl | Aug 12, 2014 |
Fans of "Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore" and the film "Scott Pilgrim" are likely to enjoy "Ready Player One," a treasure hunt set in a virtual online world and a life or death adventure in a future dystopia. An abundance of 1980s pop culture, geekery, and Japanese cartoon trivia within. ( )
  MzzArts | Aug 2, 2014 |
OMG freakin' amazing! I listened to the audio version read by Wil Wheaton. He did a fantastic job on this well written blast from the past novel. I couldn't recommend it more highly! ( )
  morandia | Aug 1, 2014 |
What a fun read!!! I'm still grinning an hour later! Even with sleep, and work (grr, work), I polished this off in just under a day.

What's not to love about this book:

-Fun 80s references. A dirty secret about me - I loved the Rock of Ages movie, but my absolute favorite part was that a character had the spiral perm with the permed bangs. A completely forgotten piece of my childhood, restored! This book, well the parts with late 80s references (I'm not THAT old) was like that gem of permed hair (we'll call it a flawed gem, given how stupid permed bangs look). Notably missing - references to Back to the Future or the Neverending Story. What gives?

-A great story. A poor kid struggling against all odds to come out on top over a greedy corporation who will stop at nothing, as well as competing against others who are better outfitted and have access to much greater resources. Yeah, so this plot is totally 80s, but doesn't feel like a cheap rehash (unlike certain Kathy Reichs books we won't mention . . . much). It's The Last Starfighter meets Goonies meets Punky Brewster, and I loved every second of it. I guess I'm programmed by my youth to crave a "kid saves the world" story. Just not a Wesley saves the ship story. That kid can suck it. Funny aside - Wil Weaton narrates the audiobook. I might have to pick it up.

I'm hard pressed to come up with anything I didn't like about this book. Yes, some of the references are beyond esoteric, but I never felt like I was left out of the story because of it. A rich video game designer dies and leaves his fortune and control of his online universe to whoever can solve his puzzle - of course there are going to be cryptic video game references. I looked at it as a learning experience. Atari had followups to Adventure, 4 of them? Good to know. The actual lyrics to Dead Man's Party? Cool, though I'll still have to fake them when I sing along.

I can't wait for a movie version of this book. And I never really LOOK FORWARD to movie versions of books. Maybe they'll be permed bangs!
( )
  drhapgood | Jul 27, 2014 |
One of the most fascinating novels I've read in quite some time. Probably best appreciated by those born between around 1965-1972 who were teenagers in the early 1980s. Innovative and very entertaining. ( )
  psmithkent | Jul 13, 2014 |
80's awesomeness!

I can admit to it. I was out-nerded. Big time.
I was a child of the 80's. I watched the movies, played (some of) the games, listened to the music, but I was unprepared for the depth of knowledge of the era needed to solve the puzzles in this book, and in a way, I am glad. It means that I spent enough time outside.

_Ready Player One_ follows our hero Wade/Parzival through the ultimate gaming quest, to find the "Easter Egg" in the largest immersive online gaming platform ever created, the OASIS. An orphaned kid from a trailer park, competing against the world for the big prize. Who couldn't root for this guy?!

The plot follows the arc of an 80's movie perfectly; absentee adult figures, wiz kid gamer, near-impossible quest, real and virtual world threats, mayhem, death, teamwork/sacrifice, and eventual triumph (complete with girl and substitute father figure grinning beatifically). Man, does Ernest Cline deliver! I even admit to tearing up a little at the final sentence - such a perfect wrap. Roll credits now...

The nostalgia level is high, as is the level of nerdiness needed to catch the bare minimum of references necessary to hang, so I would recommend this book specifically to gamers/SciFi and 80's movie buffs in the 35-45 range. Better know your cartoons, amine, D&D, video games (and systems), music, and 80's teen movies... or have a reliable search engine at your disposal. Also recommended for select teens (you'll know them when you see them), but probably not middle schoolers or below due to language/allusions. Overall, a highly enjoyable read. ( )
  Debra_Armbruster | Jul 12, 2014 |
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