Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Review: Virtual Reality on Crack

April 20, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Gaming, Reviews

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Review: Virtual Reality on CrackReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Broadway Books on June 5, 2012
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
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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.

But 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.

Imagine if you lived in a virtual reality. You’d have all the powers, weapons and equipment you could dream of at your disposal and you’ll achieve the impossible.

Ready Player One puts Wade (or his online identity, Parzival) in the center of a OASIS, a virtual reality world that has taken over the internet in the year 2044. OASIS is like our version of the internet, except you can literally live, eat, feel, smell, talk and breathe in the countless worlds due to an amazing breakthrough invention by Gregarious Games. It’s like Second Life or World of Warcraft but even better, because thanks to the haptic equipment and retinal projecting goggles, it feels like you’re experiencing everything firsthand.

Who wouldn’t want to project your ideal self to the world around you? Why would you ever leave your home, if everything you could have ever imagined be right in front of you?

In the OASIS, you could become whomever and whatever you wanted to be, without ever revealing your true identity, because your anonymity was guaranteed.

It’s not all fun and games however, as Ready Player One also describes a world hooked on virtual reality, instead of living their own lives. From school, church, browsing and hobbies, everything is accessible through OASIS. Many people neglect the real world, leading to malnutrition, obesity, addiction, and the deterioration of social skills and human relationships.

The whole novel is based on a hunt for the creator’s inheritance also dubbed ‘Halliday’s egg’ – through a quest filled with seemingly impossible challenges of riddles, games and movie re-enactments. Aside from it being incredibly difficult, the world is filled with an evil global conglomerate of “Sixers” who wish to take control of the egg for their own nefarious uses.

As soon as I climbed out of the DeLorean I cast a Shrink spell on it, instantly reducing it to the size of a Matchbox car. Then I put the DeLorean in my pocket. Magic zones had their advantages. 

I loved Wade for his fearless leadership, intelligence, humour and bravado, yet his one weakness was his infatuation on fellow gunter (or Halliday’s egg seeker) Art3mis. He was a fantastic strong hero character, but he had enough vulnerability about him to make him relatable. He just felt so honest and his feelings so real.

The romance, this is how I like it guys. Slow burning and sweet, formed over a deeper connection than just physical with someone who just ‘gets’ you. Although the romance was certainly a big deal for Wade, it never takes over the central story but adds just enough to make you ship the couple wildly.

The other characters were also incredible and endearing. Art3mis, for her ‘internet famous’ personality, her chemistry with Wade and her insecurity about her real self, Aech for his natural friendship and banter with Wade, and Shoto and Daito for their brotherly samurai bond. Although they started out as competitors, and their relationships weren’t always smooth, they banded together with a common purpose.

“The female of the species has always found me repellent.” – Parzival
“I don’t find you repellent.” – Art3mis
“Of course not. That’s because you’re an obese man named Chuck who likes to chat up young boys online.” 


I absolutely LOVED every minute of Ready Player One. The whole novel was tense, exciting and jampacked full of pop culture and fun. It’s the best geeky fantasy I’ve ever experienced, paying homage to 80’s pop culture icons from TV, music, movies, games and books.

However, I don’t think my words could do this book justice. You’ll really need to experience its brilliance first hand. Definitely read it before the film comes out, directed by Stephen Spielberg!

Rating: 5 out of 5 (Insta-favourite!) 


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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45 responses to “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Review: Virtual Reality on Crack

  1. Francine Soleil

    I just started reading this novel! 2 chapters in, and I think it's already interesting. A lot of people are loving this so I have high hopes for this one. I do feel like this is something my brother would love because he's more into games and stuff. I'm not sure I get all the references in this book. But it's still pretty fun, and I'm really looking forward to reading more. I really like your review because it gives me something to look forward to in the book, while not really spoiling anything.
    My recent post Musings: Looking Back at Old Reviews

  2. Yay, I'm so glad you ended up loving the bejesus out of this one! I've read it twice now and it's always so much fun to read. It's geeky, it's exciting, it's cute, and funny, and I would totally get addicted to the OASIS just as much as the people in the books… perhaps it's a good thing it doesn't exist — although how AWESOME would it be?!
    My recent post Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

  3. inlibrisveritas

    LOVED this book! I just realized I haven't posted a review for it yet, which is odd because I could talk about it all day. This is one of the few books my boyfriend actually read, and he refused to let me have the book even though he told me that it was mine. The fact that Spielberg is directing it is just perfect, here's hoping the film does it justice!
    My recent post Let’s Play: Super Dungeon Explore – Forgotten King Review

    • Oh I know, I just can't stop raving about it, it's definitely one of my favourites! No doubt the movie will be awesome, I have high hopes.

  4. Faye M.

    I read this one not too long ago and it was amazing! I just loved how it portrayed the internet as such, because I secretly dream for that to be a reality for us soon 😉 It would be a paradise for us gamers! Although as someone who lived and breathed the 90s, the 80s references were lost to me, but that didn't make it any less awesome.
    My recent post ARC Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

  5. THIS IS THE BOOK YOU WERE RAVING ABOUT! I definitely have to check it out then. It earned 5 STARS FROM YOU! 😀 😀

    I'll be honest, I've heard all the raves for this one but I always put it off because books that play with technology and stuff aren't for me. I think I just can't handle it, you know, in general (like in real life LOL) and I was sure that'd travel into fiction as well. But hey, the concept sounds like a real winner here PLUS I want to see this slow burning romance!

    Fabulous review, Jeann
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    • YESSS Jesss now you know why I love it so much 😀 Lol, I can totally see what you mean Jess! Although I think this would be a book that non-gamers and the technology incompetent could enjoy 😉

  6. danielleisbusyreading

    I really hope the movie version of this is good, and they pick the right cast! Also, I heard there's gonna be a sequel, but I don't know how accurate that is.

    Anyway, I really liked this book too. I want to re-read it – it's been a while. I really loved the MC, and the romance was so, so sweet.

    Great review, girl!

  7. keionda

    Hey Jeann:) Great review although I don't think I'd want to live in a virtual world because as you said it would cause malnutrition and stuff. This kind of reminds me of the Pendragon series. Have you heard of those?

    • Heya! It would be awesome because you could do anything that you\’ve dreamed of, but I haven\’t heard of the Pendragon series. Thanks for the rec – I\’ll check it out!

  8. Zoe

    OMG IT'S BECOMING A MOVIE!?!? HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS!?! In that case, I am super excited!

    And I'm so glad you liked this one as much as I did Jeann! I had a feeling you'd love it; knowing your passion for games and all. It seems like it would be a total Jeann book, so I'm glad the execution lived up to the premise for you. 🙂 And I completely agree about everything you've said. Such a clever book – not only with the riddles and the concept, but with the 80s references too. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
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    • I KNOWW FIRST THING I DID WAS SEARCH WHETHER IT WOULD BE A MOVIE. It\’s sooo good, definitely a total Jeann book, a perfect recommendation! I want to read it again <3

  9. Shannelle C.

    It's one of the freshest books ever, and it's an instant recommend to everyone who I think are reluctant readers because it is so insanely gripping from the start. I absolutely loved it, and I am eagerly awaiting the movie.

  10. Kara Terzis

    This sounds so GOOD. The storyline sounds EXACTLY like something I could love. Also? I loooooove the sounds of a romance done well, for once. 😛 Great review!

  11. This is getting turned into a film?!?! Given how you make the book sound, I can totally see it being something that will be reallly cool if they do the book justice (which is a hard thing to do!).

    I do believe I am going to have to add this to my TBR now (because I am weird and haven't read it and hadn't even heard of it until recently). I may not be much of a gamer but I don't think that would stop me from enjoying this read!

    ALSO Wade sounds like a fantastic male lead and I am curious to meet him! 🙂

    Lovely review, hon!! <3
    My recent post ARC Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

    • I knoww, it\’s so freaking exciting! I can imagine it being a really awesome film as well. I think anyone could enjoy it even if you\’re not a gamer! Thank you Rashika, you must let me know if you pick it up 🙂

  12. booksbonesbuffy

    This is one of my favorite books, Jeann! I just loved everything about it. And you're right about the slow burn romance, it's my favorite too:-D His new book comes out this summer and I couldn't be more excited!
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    • It's definitely one of mine now too! Man, this review makes me want to read it again hehe. I can't wait for Armada!

  13. Eugenia

    Wow this sounds like a great read! The virtual reality concept sounds really interesting, and though I might not get all the 80's pop culture references, it still sounds like something different which I'd love to give a go. Thanks for the awesome review Jeann, this one's definitely going on my TBR!
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