It is the year 2044. James Halliday, creator of OASIS, a virtual utopia where a person can be almost anything they want to be, has died. With no friends or family he leaves his vast fortune and control of his company to whomever can find the Easter egg Halliday has hidden deep inside the game. Five years have passed and no one has made any progress. Then Parzival (aka Wade Watts) finds the first of the three keys needed to complete the game. From there, it’s on! There is a lot at stake, most importantly control of OASIS, and everyone wants to win. Some are even willing to do anything to win, even kill for it.
Ready Player One is so, so good! It is a love letter to eighties pop culture - movies, television, music and especially video games. It is a celebration of the wonders and a warning about the potential dangers of technology. It is a celebration of the super fan, of the joy of totally loving something to the point of obsession, the kind of obsession that causes you to watch/read/listen to a movie/book/song over and over again and then spend hours researching about the creators who made the thing you love so much. And it's all wrapped up in an adventure story involving a world wide treasure hunt, danger in the real and virtual worlds, and a dash of romance.
Ready Player One is one of the most enjoyable books I've read all year. It's hard to believe that this is Ernest Cline's first novel. He really hit out of park on his first try.