Ready Player One Book Review

Ready Player One was the debut and smash hit novel from Ernest Cline, Its filled with lots of 80’s Trivia and Retro Gaming references. It’s a retro gamers dream. Cline’s debut novel was also translated into a movie format that was then directed by non-other than Steven Spielberg, I mean if Spielberg thinks it’s good enough to turn into a movie it must be pretty good right.

I decided to read Ready Player One after watching the movie, but luckily enough by the time I did get around to reading it had forgotten what happened in the movie so I was really able to read without comparing the two. As part of this review, I do also want to touch on certain aspects of the book vs. the movie, comparing what differences they have and perhaps even tell you which one I preferred storyline wise.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One centers around a teenage boy named Wade Watt’s, He lives in the ‘Stacks’ just west of Oklahoma City, with his aunt, her boyfriend as well as a couple of other families that all shared their double wide mobile home at the top of one of the ‘Stacks’. Over time the mobile home parks were altered to fit more homes by stacking them on top of each other to accommodate more people.

Like most teenagers Wade goes to school, the only difference is that his school is on a planet inside a virtual reality simulator called ‘The Oasis’. The Oasis was created by two friends ‘James Halliday’ and ‘Ogden Marrow’, it started out as a virtual reality game but has become so much more.

After ‘James Halliday’s’ death five years prior, the ultimate quest designed by him was activated, the goal to collect three keys and find an easter egg, for the chance to win billions of dollars and to become the owner of Halliday’s company Gregarious Simulation Systems, which includes owning the ‘The Oasis’.

With many gunters (grail hunters) also searching for Halliday’s easter egg, Wade has a lot of competition. Unfortunately for him though, he doesn’t have the funds to just go traveling around from planet to planet in ‘The Oasis’ looking for the Keys, which makes finding Halliday’s easter egg so much harder.


Ready Player One has quite a few memorable characters, and while the book is primary centered around Wade, it also introduces us to a range of other characters as well, including ‘Gunters’ Aech, Art3mis, Shoto and Daito, as well as ‘The Sixers’ and their leader ‘Nolan Sorrento’ from IOI, who are also looking for Halliday’s Easter Egg so that IOI can take control of the Oasis.

Each of the characters in this book are on a similar journey and while they are all vying for the same prize, The High Five (Wade, Aech, Art3mis, Shoto and Daito) also make a great team, even if they hadn’t intended to be in the begin when they were all taking on the challenge solo, but I loved the fact that they come together and help each other out.

I felt in Ready Player One that Ernest Cline created some great characters that people could relate to, he includes a lot of diversity with his characters, which I really enjoyed and through his characters the reader is really able to feel immersed into the world he created.


The world in of Ready Player One, there is the ‘Real World’ and ‘The Oasis’.

The real world I felt drew inspiration from how our own world could look like in the future, it included environmental and humanitarian issues as well as large corporations vying for power, so not to dissimilar from our own world.

The Oasis on the other hand is a place people can escape to, it includes thousands of worlds that people can interact on, some of them having taken inspiration from vintage video games or 80’s movies. It really is a Gamers dream world, where people can escape into a massive multiplayer environment where they don’t have to think about what’s going on outside.

While I’m not a huge multiplayer game enthusiast myself (I prefer single player games) I found myself wanting to experience some of the worlds inside the Oasis and even some of the vintage video games and movies that the Author took inspiration from.

Movie Comparison (Warning: could contain spoilers)

Now for the Movie comparison, this may be a bit spoilery so feel free to skip this all together.

The Book and The Movie defiantly have the same vibe but there are quite a few differences in how they are set out. For example, in the book there are a lot more references to 80’s video games including the different challenges that Wade and his friends have to endure in order to obtain each key. As where in the movie the challenges vary quite a bit, the first challenge in particular is a car race as where in the book they have to endure a few parts to attain the first key with references to dungeons and dragons, an 80’s video game called ‘Joust’ and Play out an 80’s movie in order to attain the first key.

Also, the book makes a lot of references to the fact that Wade hasn’t got a lot of money to begin with and tends to just hang around his virtual school campus, in the movie I felt that this wasn’t really evident at all.

Other differences include the fact that Wade meets Art3mis in person much sooner in the movie to the book as well as Art3mis going into the IOI facility instead of Wade.

There are honestly so many differences that I can’t possibly point them all out but there were a couple I would have liked to see in the movie version that I didn’t make it in, this includes help from Ogden Morrow towards the end and while in the movie he did secretly help them under an Avatar disguised as an NPC I honestly liked some of the bits he was included in in the book.

But I think my favourite bit that didn’t make it into the movie was the fact that Wade made his Virtual Assistant in the form of ‘Max Headroom’, who was an TV 80’s Icon and was played by one of my favourite actors ‘Matt Frewer’, so I was kind of disappointed that he didn’t make it into the movie. While there are obviously quite a few things that got changed for the movie, I can kind of understand why that is, licensing probably being a major factor. Also I felt that some aspects of the book might not translate well if put into a movie adaptation, like the different aspects of the challenge components to retrieve the various keys for example, I mean would watching someone re-enacting out a movie be entertaining or attempting multiple video games be as entertaining as a car race. Though I have recently started to enjoy watching game play videos, This might not be for everyone and so they obviously had to adapt and change certain elements to make it more entertaining and also fit in a movie time frame.

Book vs. Movie

I really enjoyed both the book and the movie but I still think I enjoyed the book more, I felt that I could really get to know the characters and I felt that the way Ernest Cline wrote Ready Player One really made me feel immersed in the story.

Who Would I Recommend This For?

Who would I recommend this book to? If you’re a lover of vintage video games or just a gaming buff in general you might enjoy this book, but also if you’re just a lover of futuristic science fiction, you might also enjoy this book.

While this book is probably intended for a younger demographic as a person in their early 30’s I can say that I really enjoyed this book and so I feel like anyone could read this book, if it sounds like something you might enjoy.

Reading Challenge Update:

These books tick off the following prompts for my reading challenge.

If you want to know more about my reading challenge you can check out my original post here.

Something new to your collection. I purchased this in 2021
A story set in another time (it could be either the future or the past.) Ready Player One is set in the future, 2045 to be exact.
A bestseller. Ready Player One was a’ New York Times’ bestseller
A book that had been turned into a movie or tv show. Ready Player One was translated into a Movie directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 2018.
Something Science fiction. This book comes under the Science Fiction genre.  
Something fantasy. This book also comes under the Fantasy Fiction genre.

I hope you enjoyed this book review, I will have a sperate review on Ready Player Two coming very soon and I’ll let you know if I felt like it was as good as Ready Player One for sure.

Until then I hope you all have a lovely day.


Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in checking out anything mentioned in this post. Read full Disclaimer here.

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