Your audiobook is waiting…

Ready Player One

Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
5 out of 5 stars (219,971 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

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

Critic Reviews

"As narrator of this offbeat, futuristic adventure, Wil Wheaton must evoke a teen's naïveté and cynicism about real life and incorporate this veteran gaming geek's expertise of ‘80s culture.... Wheaton is up to the task, presenting an engaging treasure hunt while also dramatizing the hero’s enthusiasm at playing classic games like Pac-Man. Also a twist on Pilgrim's Progress, this novel has something for everyone." (AudioFile magazine)

“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 Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179,397
  • 4 Stars
    31,309
  • 3 Stars
    6,387
  • 2 Stars
    1,658
  • 1 Stars
    1,220

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    171,043
  • 4 Stars
    26,525
  • 3 Stars
    5,860
  • 2 Stars
    1,216
  • 1 Stars
    795

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    163,275
  • 4 Stars
    30,662
  • 3 Stars
    7,531
  • 2 Stars
    2,100
  • 1 Stars
    1,462
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

Somehow, every time I read a review, I got the idea that only young adult males who love to play video games would enjoy this book. Well, I am here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I think anyone who is within ten years +/- my age (50-ish) would get a HUGE kick out of this book. There are so many references to things that are in our cohort’s DNA that everyone can get the “in” jokes. References to Indiana Jones (okay, I just found out that one of my coworkers WASN’T EVEN BORN YET when the original movie came out—ghahhhhh!!), PacMan, Monty Python . . . there were tons of things nearly anyone who wasn’t living under a rock will get. I am sure there are things I missed, but that hardly mattered because there was also a kick-ass plot to keep me interested.

For his plot, Cline used a formula that is becoming familiar from the gaming world: Give the protagonist a quest, and set up obstacles. If your protagonist is likable, then the reader will want him to succeed. He is, and we do. I wanted Wade Watts to succeed so badly that I found this book every bit as addicting as the best video games: I could barely put it down. I told everyone around me how much I was enjoying it. I am telling you to read it now!

[I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton, who is just about the perfect choice, for so many reasons . . . not least of which is being a piece of 80’s trivia himself!!]

657 of 749 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Travis
  • Huffman, TX, United States
  • 09-22-11

ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000

I don't even know how else to put this. THIS BOOK IS EPICALLY AWESOME. If you grew up geek in the coming-of-age of computers and video games... This is a no-brainer. I haven't been this satisfied with spending a credit since I downloaded Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2008. But back to this book, nostalgia cross-referencing every aspect of growing up between probably 1975-1995. If you want to know if you will enjoy this book ask yourself this: Are you a geek? One who enjoys sci-fi and video games? Like computers? 3 yes answers should have you buying this. Here's a short list of things the book references (from memory):

TRS-80 Tandy Computers/Color Computer 3
Amigas, Commodore 64s
Atari 2600 (Extensively)
Games like Pitfall, Kaboom, Dungeons of Daggorath
RPGs/Dungeon Crawls/FPSs
Ghostbusters
Knight Rider
WWF Wrestlers
Back To The Future
Star Trek
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Voltron and Transformers
Hacker/Computer movies
Blade Runner
Family Ties
General Hacking and Computer culture
Text messaging, L33t Speak
Gamer culture
Dungeons and Dragons
Boom Boxes, Mohawks, Acid Washed Jeans
Rush, Def Leppard, Pat Benatar, Cindy Lauper (and a slew of others)
School House Rock
Japanese/American cross culture (Manga, Cartoons, Games)

The "setting" for the book takes place in a computer simulation that reminded me of the visuals from the Scott Pilgrim Movie, particularly where things look like the inside of a video game, music notes and light coming from instruments, VS subtitles underneath P2P Fights, Things pixelate into "bonus items" when they get destroyed.

Honestly... there's so much that it's hard to remember. Quit reading this and just go download it.

564 of 673 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 07-06-12

Late to the Party, But SO Glad to Arrive

Ever since this book has come out, I’ve stubbornly held on to the belief that the novel was not for me. “That’s the video game book, right?” I asked people over and over again, whenever the story was mentioned. No matter how many times people tried to tell me that it was far more than a book about video games, I somehow didn’t hear them. I’d made my decision.

What a huge mistake.

If any of your formative years took place in the 80’s, this book is for you. It’s like a grand, wonderful party that greets you warmly at the door as you arrive, and puts you immediately at ease. The story will make you laugh, and remember, and sit on the edge of your seat as you follow Wade and his friends on their great quest.

The story also provides us with a cautionary tale for both individuals and society; an allegory highlighting the damage that can be done to people and worlds when we opt for spending too much time in our virtual worlds, and not enough working on our real life and world.

The narration by Wil Wheaton (who has his own cameo appearance in the story) was a fantastic fit for the story; I doubt anyone else could have done half the job he did with this book.

This story was the perfect love letter to the 80’s; the music, the movies, the culture, and yes, the video games. I loved it all. So even if one of those aspects wasn’t your strong suit, have no worries; just pick up your joystick, download this book… and ready player one.

239 of 294 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

GOING OUTSIDE IS HIGHLY OVER RATED

MY BULLET BILL THIS MONTH WAS GOING TO BE HUGE
I am going to join the 30,000+ who have given this a 4.7 rating and say this is a wonderful book. I loved it from the get go and their was not a single dull moment. I am a little old for the generation that will love this the best. In the 80's I was in my 20's, married and had my two kids. I played some of the early systems and can even remember text games, where all you had was text and you could only give simple commands. I remember the first time I saw a pong machine (not mentioned in the book). I remember Space Invaders at the bowling alley.

THE CROWD WENT WILD
I might buck the crowd just a little and say, if you did or do not play video games, then you will not enjoy this. The bigger the nerd you were or are, than the more you will enjoy this. This is mostly for the hard core nerds and not the pop scene. For instance even though MTV is mentioned and even though Michael Jackson made MTV popular, his name is never mentioned. I had heard of most of the games, but not all and I had played a few. Games such as Master of Orion and Romance of The Three Kingdoms (my favorite games) are totally ignored. So, there is a certain amount of bias in the book.

THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
The plot is a game, which is why I am sure none gamers will not like it. I loved the game within the game and thought it was very well done. I normally do not like shoot-em ups in any book, but this is so well done, that it holds your attention. There is a romance that is well done, there is suspense, some surprises, and even without the 80's references it would be a great book.

THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OG
Yea, there is also some serendipity help that takes place, especially toward the end and the main character just seems too knowledgeable at times. Watching nerdy movies is one thing, but memorizing the entire dialogue??? My wife and I did see War Games at the theater and War Games plays big in the book.

Just before this book I listened to a Scalzi book, not narrated by Wil Wheaton and I followed that up with this book, read by Wil Wheaton, but not written by Scalzi, how weird is that? Anyways Wheaton is one of my favorites and was the perfect pick for this book. He Crushered it.

332 of 414 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • colleen
  • ANCHORAGE, AK, United States
  • 05-29-12

Where is book 2?

I immediately looked for more from this author after I listened to ready player one. This story is full of detail and imagination. You'll like it even if you aren't a gamer. Very clever plot and excellent narration by Wheaton.

173 of 228 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love this book!

this was the sixth time going over this book, will never get tired of it, love this story!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun Read.....for Awhile

The first third was a non-stop roller coaster that was fun to read, but the remainder just didn't do it for me. Also, it had the feel of a children's book but had a lot of references to 80's nerd culture that young kids probably wouldn't understand so I'm unsure who the target audience is. I might recommend it to the right person but I don't plan on rereading it myself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I’m surprised that I like the film more.

Not a bad story at all. While I understand that first the story is written for a younger audience and completely in first person, I really didn’t connect with Wade Watts as a believable character. It seems much too self-centered and selfish focusing in on a character that never really made any mistakes with real lasting consequences. He has all the goods, he has all the knowledge, he has all the skills, and he’s all the bad ass, and he gets everything he wants in the end. There was one point in the story where I thought they were going to explore a possible flaw for him, but it turned out it was just him explaining more of the very simple and straight forward plot with minuscule amounts of side story.

I didn’t feel like I was being introduced to the universe and included in it. It seems to me like Steven Spielberg‘s version of the storyline in his film, takes on an angle that widens the universe keyhole and makes it more about the necessity of sharing your experiences with other people, enjoying the fun of the games, building friendships and relationships, and while enjoying the virtual world keeping steadily in your mind still that “Reality is the only thing that’s real.”

I didn’t get the same sense from this book.

I much appreciated that it was Will Wheaton reading the book, but it was hard for me to feel like it was more about the world that Wade Watts lives in than it was about the awesome luck and chance for Wade Watts.

I guess it works as a children’s story, But there wasn’t much left after that. Again, it’s not bad, it just could have been so much more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

"Naming 80's things" the book

What did you like best about Ready Player One? What did you like least?

This started out a lot of fun but as it went on I liked it less and less. It had a cool semi-dystopian future set-up with this really cool facebook-meets-video games-meets-virtual reality immersive secondary world which never really explored more than being a big video game. That's fine, that's the point of the book, but if something like this were ever real, it'd be so much more.

The thing that got to me was eventually the book just became a list of things from the 80's and talking about how they were "THE coolest" robot/game/character/movie.

There's no twist. Every plot development is the discovery of another obscure 80's relic that the listener has to be let in on. We dont get to discover much of anything for ourselves.

The bad guy is 2 dimensional. (Also a thinly veiled metaphor for Comcast) The dialogue gets old quick. And the whole thing is just a little too neckbeardy.

I enjoyed most of it. I couldve used a better third act, some real human dialogue and plot twist or two

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

Only if you actively call yourself a "gamer" or really miss the 80's

237 of 330 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Baffled by the fan praise.

I'd like to think I'm the prime demographic for a story like this. I was born in the 80s, raised on a healthy dose of classic sci-fi, early video games, and D&D. I wanted to like this, but it feels so shallow. It's a game of how many references can I fit in a paragraph. There's no substance. The characters are one-dimensional and the cliches are a-plenty. There are several moments in the story where I literally cringed—mainly the interactions between Wade and Samantha. Don't waste your time with this one. Read some of the referenced sci-fi books instead. The one redeeming factor was Wil Wheaton's excellent performance.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bennett
  • Bennett
  • 10-02-18

High concept, low on story

The whole thing could be about half as long if the author didn't just spout cultural references without any plot

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kimberly
  • Kimberly
  • 03-27-18

Totally awesome

This is the 7th time I’ve listened to the book, brilliant performance by Wil Wheaton.

Looking forward to Spielberg’s interpretation tomorrow, though not expecting it to be the same as this book, but still expect an awesome movie.