"I created OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real. Do you understand?"
"Yes," I said. "I think I do."
"Good," he said, giving me a wink. "Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't hide forever."
The premise is simple: genius creates an immersive virtual reality, makes a lot of money, then, when he dies, he puts his fortune up as the prize in a massive competition within the virtual world.
This book falls into a genre I've decided to start calling a book-movie. That is, a book written with all the style cues of a movie, that will, inevitably be "adapted" into a movie after the book becomes a best seller. See The Hunger Games, Harry Potter. This is not a criticism of this genre, more of an acknowledgment.
Ready Player One reads like the inevitable movie it will become. It's an engaging page turner, where the good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys and everyone is just the right amount of witty and interesting---but not so witty or interesting that the audience feels threatened or inferior. And, just when you think the bad guys are going to win, they don't; just when you think the good guy isn't going to get the girl, he is. Etc. I realize this sounds like I'm slamming the novel. I'm not trying to, I genuinely enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone.
The book's also completely full of 80s references.
It's worth reading because of its palpable nerdy-cool-factor. If you are at all into nerdy things, the novel reads like any nerdy fantasy you've wanted to happen to you. At one point, the narrator becomes Ultraman, just after his friend, piloting an Gundam RX-78, helped to fight Mechagodzilla. This was 100% as awesome as it sounds. If you understood 1/3 of those references, you should probably read this book; if you understood 2/3, you definitely should read this book; if you caught all three references, reading this book is mandatory.
Recommended for a quick, fun read.