Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Posted 19 April, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 32 Comments


Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Published: 2011; Pages: 384
Audio Duration: 15 hrs; 46 min
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5

In Short: When James Halliday, the creater of the virtual/alternate reality world of The Oasis, suddenly dies, the quest of all quests begins as members of The Oasis embark in a hunt for Halliday’s fortune. Wade Watts, a teenager who lives his life on The Oasis, makes a huge breakthrough in the Quest, but he realizes that his search for the fortune is going to cost much more than he bargained for.

Why I Listened: I consulted Twitter for an audiobook that I could not stop listening to and several piped up with Ready Player One. I was apprehensive because of the subject but their praise was overwhelming.

What You Wanted to Know:

Without being too spoilerish, what did you think of the ending? (Kailana)

Yeeep! I don’t remember the ending. (But I discussed briefly with my coworker who just finished listening and he was really surprised). I have to hope that Wade’s choice at the end makes him happy. I think it will.

Someone actually makes the Oasis a reality in our society, what are your thoughts on that? (Kailana)

The first time that I encountered reading about an Alternate Reality was when I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson a few years ago. It reminded me a lot of games such as SIMS, which I’m not entirely familiar with but I think that you play online with others using avatars? And of course there is a pretty big online gaming world. But the thought of a society that is mostly an alternate reality is very frightening to me. Which is a little ironic given how much time Bloggers can spend on the computer, but I also try to keep myself grounded and live in the here and now. But perhaps if we lived in a post-apocalyptic world, I’d want to stay holed up in my apartment living in a virtual world also? Nah–I imagine I’d want to be like Mila Kunis in Book of Eli.

I loved the book but I’m older than you so I wondered if it’s still fun if you don’t remember all the old computer games from the 1980s, etc. (Leeswammes) and related: Since you’re younger than I am, did you “get” all the 80’s references? (BermudaOnion)

Yes, I was a babe in the 80s, so I am more a child of the 80s who was shaped by the 90s. I did get a lot of the pop culture references, especially with movies and other random trivia. The parts where I didn’t understand as much were more related to the gaming information. Other than my regular Nintendo and eventually Super Nintendo, I didn’t play very many video games. I wish that I was able to understand these references more but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book.

Why in the world haven’t I listened to it yet? @lithousewife

I don’t think this was meant to be a question seriously addressed, but I’m going to anyway. I was a bit leery of the sci-fi, cyberpunk thriller premise of the book and have heard many others say the same. This is a common phrase: “This book was not something I’d normally pick up.” Or “This book was way out of my comfort zone.” But…I’ve seen very few people dislike it, so really–what are you waiting for? Plus there will be a movie, so why wait…

Bottom Line: If you are remotely interested in cyberpunk, science fiction, 80s trivia, gaming, or fast-paced adventures, this one is worth every bit of the hype it has received. Though this isn’t something I would normally ever pick up in book form, I really enjoyed the listening experience.

A Note About the Audio: Wil Wheaton narrates Ready Player One and while I hadn’t heard of him before listening (hangs head in shame), I can assure you he was the perfect choice. Well-paced, emphatic in all the right places, and tonality was perfect for the teenage boy he was narrating.

What’s a book outside of your comfort zone that you read and loved?

On the Blog:
One Year Ago – Sunday Salon 43: Books I’d Love to Read Right Now
Two Years Ago – Hoppy Easter
Three Years Ago – The Outsiders and Sam’s Letters to Jennifer
Four Years Ago – A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

32 Responses to “Ready Player One – Ernest Cline”

  1. I’m one of those who hasn’t read it (yet), because it simply doesn’t appeal to me. My husband read the book and really enjoyed it (like the rest of the world), and I have it waiting in iTunes for me. When the mood strikes I’ll pick it up. It’s encouraging to see that you really liked it.

  2. I think this book was tailor made for me. I’ve had several people besides you, Trish, recommend it. It’s on the top of my birthday list right now (May 9, in case you were wondering). I’m actually pretty excited to read it. Cline also wrote the movie Fanboys, which I loved.

    And Trish. Trish, Trish, Trish. You didn’t know who Wil Wheaton was? Wow. You are a fetus. I guess I am older and dorkier than you. But I mean that in an awesome way. ;-)


  3. Nice! I am glad you enjoyed this.

    I am a bit amazed you don’t know who Wil Wheaton is. You don’t watch Big Bang Theory or The Guild? You are missing out!

  4. This is not normally something I’d ever pick up either, but I’ve heard such great things!! And I think the trip back to the 80’s would be fun (although I was still fairly young as well for most of the 80’s!)

  5. *bermudaonion – It was a fun book, huh?

    *Thoughts of Joy – Another one of those books that I’m not entirely sure who I’d recommend it to but have heard very few people say they didn’t like it. I do hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

    *Paxton – Yes, I admit I didn’t know who Wil Wheaton was. Eeeeep! And I hope that you do get this one for your birthday. Just around the corner, huh?!

    *JoAnn – I do hope you enjoy the book! See Kathy above said she enjoyed it? ;)

    *Linda – This is a great choice for the readathon. I hope you enjoy it!

    *Kailana – Ok, now I’m going to google BBT. I haven’t watched it (though have heard good things), but I haven’t even heard of The Guild!

    *Jenny – I’m guessing we’re around the same age. I think you’d get enough references that it would be fun. I hope you like it!

    *Judith / Leeswammes – Are you a big audio listener? I’m not sure I can imagine reading this one but it might have helped digest some of the information a bit better as I’m a visual learner. But the audio really was fantastic!

  6. I listened to this one a few months back and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Some of the references were beyond me, but I thought Wil Wheaton did a great job and that the whole thing was much more accessible than I’d expected!

  7. I just picked up the audio from the library when I saw that you reviewed it. Soooo excited that Wheaton is the narrator. Didn’t even realize.

  8. I have this in print. My brother attended a signing and both the author and narrator of the audio signed it. I requested the audio ( since I read it is fantastic) at the library and have been waiting for a long time! I am 10th on the list now.

  9. I’ve heard lots of good things about this book but haven’t had the chance yet to read it myself. I’m definitely looking forward to reading it though just because I have heard SO many good things. And I like that it sounds different from a lot of the books out there :)

  10. This book was defoinitely outside my comfort zone, but I had read so many positive things about it that when I found it on audio at the library I took it home. I LOVED it! I don’t think I would have enjoyed it in print as much, Will did a bang up job!

  11. I have this on my to-get list from the Library. One day my turn will come! It sounds interesting and fun, and as someone who was in my 20’s in the 80’s, I should get everything but the nintendo game references! Good review, and I do want to read this one day.

  12. Les

    Wow. So many readers said this was not something they’d normally read, but it turned out to be a huge winner. I may have to give it a try myself! And don’t feel bad. I don’t know who Will Wheaton is, nor have I watched The Big Bang Theory or The Guild. Crawling back under my rock now… ;)

  13. *Sheila – It would be a fun one to listen to again! I’m sure I missed a lot.

    *Michelle – I’m so glad you guys recommended this one to me!

    *Erin – After talking to my coworker who is a true child of the 80s, I decided that it might have been overload had I gotten ALL of the references. But agree with you that Wheaton was fantastic!

    *christina – I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!!

    *Nise – wow! I can’t believe that you have such a long hold list for this one at your library! I think that this would be one that you could read and then listen to (or visa versa). I hope you enjoy it!

    *samantha.1020 – I hope you enjoy it! It is very different from the things you normally see on blogs but it’s definitely entertaining! And a fairly quick read, too.

    *Elisabeth – I’m SO glad you enjoyed this one, too!! I’m not sure how I would have felt about reading the book because Wheaton does such a wonderful job at bringing the story to life.

    *Susan – Oh Yes! I’m sure that you will really enjoy this one with all of the 80s references. Lots of songs and movies that I recognized just from them being so popular. Hope you get it soon!

    *Les – If you’re ever looking for a fun listen, try this one. It’s definitely different but it is fun to see all the people who say they didn’t think they’d like it but then did! (and glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t know who Wheaton is!)

  14. This one just arrived in the mail. I’m trying to decide if I want to read it first or give it to my video game playing son. He wasn’t born until nearly the end of the 1980’s but he is so into the whole video culture, I’m sure he’ll get a lot of the references. On the other hand, so many bloggers seem to like this one, I think I’ll at least have to read it first!

  15. sigh. Maybe one day in the far future I will see this book at a thrift store and I’ll buy it, let it sit on my shelf, and eventually pick it up.

    I like how you said that you were a child of the 80’s but shaped by the 90’s. Perfectly said. Ditto.

  16. I’m about a third of the way into this and really enjoying it. I was nervous that the 80’s references would be lost on me (I was born at the tail end of 83 so have very few memories from the actual 80’s) but I’m getting most of them. And I’m loving the world that Cline created here. I loved reading your thoughts on this one, Trish!

  17. *Melissa – YES! Read it! Or better yet–listen.

    *Lisa – You’ll have to share what your son thinks of the book. And I would think that the references I got are ones that he’d probably get as well–the movies and music are still pretty well-known.

    *Michelle – I know…too many books and not enough time. :(

    *Heather – I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the book!! I think that the references are pretty popular ones–minus the video games which were lost on me. Isn’t The Oasis fascinating?!

  18. I am definitely not a gamer myself, but I really enjoyed this book, it could be all the 80’s nostalgia, it could be the fact that it is very well written, doesn’t matter, it was great. Funny enough, I see on The Book Report website ( Elaine is reviewing it tomorrow, now we know that’s going to be good!

  19. I LOVED this audiobook. I’m not a gamer, yet played and owned all of the classic games mentioned in the 80s (as a child of the 60s and 70s). I need to finish my review. This is one of my favorite audiobooks, and I never expected it, given the crappy cover art. –JEFF

    • *Jeff – Thanks for coming by. This was a terrific listen, wasn’t it? Every time someone mentions wanting to read it I tell them they must listen instead. Paperback cover is much better–really not sure what happened with the hardcover art!