book review: ready player one by ernest cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Posted April 25, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 7 Comments

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

by Ernest Cline

Series: Ready Player One #1
Publisher: Penguin Books on August 16, 2011
Genre: Adventure, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.


Everything about Ready Player One is right for me.

I’m a huge pop culture fan, so this book is one whole Easter Egg.  Add to that the world of the OASIS, which built to the greatest scope of of the imagination.  Imagine being able to build a character and step into that skin.  To create planets of your own.  To interact with people from all over the world and follow storylines of your favorite books and movies in an immersive world.  Add to the mix a group of incredible characters who are real and relatable, and you have a great story.

I’ve read Ready Player One three times now, and every time I find something different.  This is the type of book where it’s easy to get excited with every new discovery right alongside the characters.  There are so many moving pieces to the plot that I forgot so much of it between reads, and reading it again after four years was like discovering a whole new story.

I’m a sucker for a good treasure hunt, and Ready Player One has a great one.  Everything is at stake – from millions of dollars to the virtual world these kids live in.  The villains are corporate giants, seemingly too big to touch.  They’re impersonal and heartless.  The story peels apart in layers, and every player in it has a piece to the puzzle, as long as you know where to look.

There are definite points where the plot is weak.  The love story overtakes the main plot for a little while and it’s difficult to trudge through when everything feels like it has come to a standstill.  Left as a subplot, the love story is sweet and funny, especially at the end.  My favorite relationship in this novel is a friendship.  So I don’t spoil anything specific, I’ll leave out the names, but this quote is everything:

“As we continued to talk, going through the motions of getting to know each other, I realized that we already did know each other, as well as any two people could. We’d known each other for years, in the most intimate way possible. We’d connected on a purely mental level. I understood her, trusted her, and loved her as a dear friend. None of that had changed, or could be changed by anything as inconsequential as her gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation.”

That is true friendship and true acceptance.  It’s the way we all should see each other.  One of the underlying themes in this book is acceptance – both of self and others.  Understanding and respect is so important between the gunters.  I think we can all learn from this.

Come for the 80s references and video game-centric dystopia.  Stay for Wade, Helen, Samatha, and Akihide. <3

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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7 responses to “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    • Amber

      If you’re planning on seeing the film, re-read it *after*. Otherwise, it’s more difficult to get through the movie. :'(

  1. Great review! And I know exactly who that quote is talking about and they were my favorite! I was very disappointed how the movie handled their relationship :/

    • Amber


      I forgot that quote until the re-read and it really struck me. I was driving at the time and I had to go hunt it down when I reached my destination. It’s such a good quote.