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. (summary via Goodreads)
Note: This review will be spoiler free.
I think this may just be the best thing I've read all year.
I only heard about Ready Player One really recently, my cousin mentioned it to me and said that he loved it, which struck me as weird immediately because he barely reads as he prefers gaming! Now I've read it myself, I totally get it. It's geek heaven.
Although this story is set in the future, it has a heavy 80s theme throughout and there are so many references to songs, movies and games of that decade. Obviously I'm way too young to have grown up in the 80s, but it's always been a decade I know a fair amount about. A lot of my favourite films are 80s films, and my dad is stuck in the 80s when it comes to music taste, so I knew enough to pick up on most of the references that were dropped in this book. I felt like if I didn't understand all of the references, I would of still enjoyed it so don't shy away from this book if you feel like you don't know anything about the 80s! If anything I feel like this book would be the cause of my obsession with the 80s if I wasn't already.
Usually I'm not big on books that are predominantly description and don't have that much dialogue, but with this book I didn't mind because I was just so interested in how this virtual reality worked. I absolutely loved the concept of being able to escape reality in this virtual world called OASIS. However, it slightly scared me since the way technology is advancing these days the idea doesn't really even seem that ridiculous. I really loved the idea of having a virtual alter ego though, and it was really fun to compare online characters to their real life personas. The characters were so great in this, although I wasn't overly keen on Wade at first, he surprised me and I ended up really loving him. Speaking of love, I think I may have fallen in love with Art3mis, she was just so likeable for me. I'm actually really sad I don't get to read about them again! That being said, I am glad that it isn't a series. I feel like too many books are made into series unnecessarily.
Also just for fun, I found this out when I was looking up the authors website: The whole plot is basically based around finding an easter egg in a game, and Ernest Cline planted an easter egg in the book and offered the first person to solve it a Delorean (as in, the car in Back To The Future). Seriously, I think he may just be the coolest author just for that.
If you're into gaming, technology or the 80s (or all of these things) and you haven't read this yet, you need to do it now.