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Ready Player One Audiobook

Ready Player One

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Did you love the ‘80s? Because Ernest Cline’s sci-fi video game epic sure does. Chock full of references to almost every facet of pop culture from that decade, Ready Player One is an excellent example of a hero’s journey that uses a treasure-hunting narrative to frame the concepts of celebrity, privacy, and control, and posits the question, “What is reality?” Narrator Wil Wheaton does a superb job (as always), and his sci-fi background lends his performance a lot of credibility as computer-nerd-turned-superstar Wade Watts (yes, the familiar alliteration is intentional). —Chris

Publisher's Summary

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut - part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

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 10,000 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 20th 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.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

©2011 Ernest Cline (P)2011 Random House Audio

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What the Critics Say

"Ready Player One is the ultimate lottery ticket." (New York Daily News)

“An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline’s imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe.” (Booklist)

"This adrenaline shot of uncut geekdom, a quest through a virtual world, is loaded with enough 1980s nostalgia to please even the most devoted John Hughes fans… sweet, self-deprecating Wade, whose universe is an odd mix of the real past and the virtual present, is the perfect lovable/unlikely hero.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Ryan 05-02-12
    Ryan 05-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wil Wheaton for President"

    I am not sure if it was by design or by chance, but Wil Wheaton as a cameo character and being the Narrator is great fun! this book satisfies my inner geek as well as my nostalgic heart!

    37 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K 08-06-16
    K 08-06-16
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    "Reader was okay, story had too many lists"

    This book was good if you don't mind literally minutes long lists of 80s things thrown in every other chapter. Really the last quarter of the book was by far the best.

    The narrator was consistent but a little bored sounding, but that's preference and opinion.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marumaru 11-27-15
    marumaru 11-27-15
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    "Enjoyable, mindless fun. Just don't look too close."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ready Player One to be better than the print version?

    I have never read the print version of RP1, but after hearing the sample of the audiobook, I initially assumed that it would be difficult to follow the audiobook and that I'd want the print version so I could research and revel in the nostalgia as I read. However, after caving and listening to it, I now have the opposite impression: the book is so verbose and lengthy I'd most likely have struggled to get through it all if I'd only had the paper copy. As audio, I could half listen when it was getting too detailed and slow for my enjoyment.


    Would you recommend Ready Player One to your friends? Why or why not?

    Ultimately I would, though not as a "must read." If your familiar with pop/nerd culture, particularly of the era, it's certainly fun. Additionally, you do not need to have grown up in the 80s to enjoy this novel, as many reviewers have suggested. I missed the 80s, but got enjoy them through my parents, friends, and curiosity, much the way Wade and the other players do in the novel. While the nostalgia buttons may not be mashed quite as hard, they certainly are pushed. If you like puzzles, I would especially recommend this. I was really gratified when I figured out the first key and the second gate before the main character did and I can imagine that other people obsessed with pop culture would feel vindicated by the idea that one day all thei trivia could lead somewhere, even if it's fantasy. I would, however, caution against looking too closely at the text. There are multiple inconsistencies and plot holes. I won't detail them here for the sake of spoilers, but there were enough that I gott a little angry at points. Also, the characters were kind of inconsistent and illogical at times, acting more with convenience to the plot than truth to their own characters. If you can roll with the punches, though, it's certainly a fun ride.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    Wil Wheaton is a great speaker. He reads well and does a good job differentiating the voices enough that you can tell whose speaking. I was little miffed that he pronounced all the Japanese correct except the word "manga." Why are we still mispronouncing this so much? It's not hard. Why was he allowed to go the entire audiobook with that pronunciation? As a fan, of both him and manga, it rubbed me the wrong way.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't have a particularly strong reaction to the book, except that the movie has the potential to be really, really cool if they do it right (like I hope they skip doing green screen for the OASIS and instead do computer animation. Except for the Japanese monster battles. People in costumes all the way!)


    Any additional comments?

    The writing of this book is actually pretty poor. It's fairly repetitive and amateurish. I feel like a stronger editing hand could have helped a lot. As an audiobook, though, it's failr easy to ignore these flaws.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Colona, IL, United States 08-20-11
    Robert Colona, IL, United States 08-20-11 Listener Since 2010

    Shogun

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    "Best book I've read in years!"

    This book is a mish-mash of different genres. Part treasure hunt, part trip down memory lane (if alive during the 80's, if not a new look into one of the greatest decades in history) this book will grab you and not let go.
    A billionaire game designer with an obsession with the 80's decides to leave his sizable estate to whoever can follow the clues he left in the internet world he created called the Oasis that will lead the hunter to his ultimate prize. The first clue is hidden for 5 years until a young man finally gets the ball rolling...
    I can't recommend this book enough for geeks or anyone that grew up in this amazing time.

    63 of 94 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Hendley Chapel Hill, NC United States 09-07-11
    Sam Hendley Chapel Hill, NC United States 09-07-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Decent but childish writing"

    A decent story but hurt a bit by the overly simplistic writing. Between the lists of X things from the 80s and the verbose descriptions of minor points the author glosses over some of the more important plot points (holes?). I'll admit there were a few times I waited in my car for a scene to play out but I was nearly always disappointed by the outcome of the big moments. Storyline suffers a bit from "chosen one" tropes but if you like games and puzzles at all I would recommend a listen. For the record I though Wheaton did a great job narrating the script, lots of emoting and decent pace but the volume changes were sometimes surprising (though usually approriate).

    15 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur 08-03-12
    Arthur 08-03-12 Member Since 2011

    Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).

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    "Simple & entertaining, lacking substance."

    If you're not up for a very challenging listen, you may find Ready Player One worthwhile. My eight year old son found it very interesting, and enjoyed it very much. I was less impressed, but did find myself playing along with the main characters in their hunt for the egg. I found the personal relationships significantly less interesting.

    The prize of the contest, for the characters, represents an escape from dystopia, but also serves as a decent allegory for common struggles of youth. However, it seemed to me to veer too close to validating geeks; something that has already been accomplished IRL.

    Will Wheaton put in a professional performance, and even seemed to have fun taking part in a production which included himself as a minor player.

    All in all, I found it entertaining if unrewarding. It won't change your life, but it may serve as escapism for a few hours, much like The Oasis itself...

    22 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett 10-03-16
    Brett 10-03-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Shallow and Predictable"
    What would have made Ready Player One better?

    A central theme.


    What could Ernest Cline have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Fleshing out the characters.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Stale dialogue, contrived plot points, missed opportunities with the world he created.


    What character would you cut from Ready Player One?

    I'm not really sure what "the brothers" did for the story.


    Any additional comments?

    This book does a great job of listing the things the author likes. These are the sort of lists that could make a cool blog post referencing all of the neat 80's trivia to doll out his fan service. Unfortunately this is a work of non-fiction, and Cline doesn't make the reader think, or engage the reader in any meaningful way. It read's kind of like a fifth grade show-and-tell where you get a lot of "hey look at this it does this and this and then when you do this it does this and I think it's really neat."

    That being said the narrative does provide an interesting premise, which promises for a thrilling adventure. Unfortunately this adventure is bogged down by long winded references, contrived plot twists and even less subtle clichés. There are brief glimpses into the fictional dystopia the author has created, and ironically even though the focus is on the virtual world I felt more compelled to further explore what was actually happening in the real one.

    The protagonist is a self identified expert with everything in regards to his quest. His character ark runs a pretty flat line. He goes through a lot but doesn't really respond in any realistic manner. Sure, he's a social misfit but this can't excuse the poor writing that evades any sort of response from him. Some of the most pivotal moments on his path felt rushed and left me underwhelmed.

    Other characters in the story are all one dimensional. In fact some of the writing feels like the writer hasn't met people of this gender, race or age at all. Some of the dialogue is laughably bad. At times I was questioning if this was all intentional, being some sort of satire on the tv shows/films of the eighties. But nope, this is straight up how the writer interprets these people and their interactions.

    If you're a child of the eighties and love video games this could be a good nostalgia trip for you. But if you are looking for that there are probably way better resources. I heard this was originally written as a screenplay and that would probably make sense. It is written rather plainly and directly. This can be a good thing, in this case it just seems to be because of a lack of verbosity or narrative ability. With the subject matter, you would expect a lot of room for discussion on the ethical and social questions the premise presents, but we never really go there.

    For a younger audience, say 12-16, there could be some merit in reading Ready Player One. The romance and adventure is similar to the fair you'll find in Twilight or The Hunger Games , although it is a less focused story with less engaging characters. BUT if you are a video gamer and vampires or teenage battledomes aren't your thing, this may be for you. The book does offer a trip and at times the ride is good, just be ready to grit your teeth as you wade through the virtual dogma.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Riechel 06-08-14
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    "Hits the notes, but leaves you sour."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I would have preferred if the story had done something more with the constant references to 80's culture besides just parroting the memes and expecting us to laugh along. Some level of analysis or critique would have been appreciated over 'HEY, THE SIMPSONS WERE A THING! LAUGH AT THE THING!' This was a decade full of changes in media, some positive, some negative, and I wish the book would have explored that.


    Has Ready Player One turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not at all. In fact, it's only because I like Sci-Fi that I powered through the book as long as I did.


    What three words best describe Wil Wheaton’s voice?

    Laid-back, sarcastic,...bland? Not the kindest thing, to say, but his characters all sounded the same.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ready Player One?

    All of the list scenes, and oh, are there many. Also, the chapter where he describes his new living arrangement in Columbus. And...actually, I would have left the book in ribbons.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I'd liked this more, but the whole experience felt subpar. It was an 80's movie in an audiobook form, and let's just admit that 80's movies were not most well known for their plots. The tropes come thick in this tale, and even the inversions are obnoxiously obvious. I wanted to care about the characters, and the world, but at the end of the day, the book is as trapped in its virtual reality as the main character, and it only lazily swipes at anything beyond that.

    31 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tstewart 08-20-16
    tstewart 08-20-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Made for preteens"

    As charming and nostalgic as the barrage of 80s cultural references were (initially), this story lacked any depth for me and actually became gut ringingly painful to finish. Sorry all, it's just my opinion. I'm sure some will love this book. It seemed Will Wheaton may have been bored as well as I've heard him narrate other stories with much more vigor (anything by John Scalzi). The focus on teen romance made me feel this book would be better suited to those who've not yet ventured down this path so it could still spark excitement & not a sense of cringing at the shallow teen angst.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Hardy 03-18-15
    T. Hardy 03-18-15

    U.S. Soldier

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    "Pretty Good"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, it was a semi-entertaining read but the foul language and the never ending lists of 80's references got old.


    What could Ernest Cline have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I think the foul language was unnecessary. I was enjoying it up until they went off on their little tangents. I agree with another user that said that some of the references were just a list of nostalgic references. It got old after a while instead of being a trip down memory lane. It got a bit preachy at times as well. We get it, the character doesn't believe in God, did that have anything to do with the rest of the book? Was he trying to prove a point? Again, it was unnecessary.


    What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wil Wheaton did a great job narrating, my only complaint is that I felt like he was lecturing me at times instead of narrating a book. This could be the actual source material more than his performance. I felt like he did a great job of taking on the persona of the character.


    Was Ready Player One worth the listening time?

    I would never listen to it again but I guess it was entertaining enough for me to have finished it so that's something.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish someone would have mentioned the language but maybe it doesn't bother others like it does me. I'm not a prude, I'm reading "The Martian" which has it's fair share of curse words but in this type of book it seemed out of place and unnecessary.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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