James Halliday, creator of the OASIS — an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game) turned globally networked virtual reality system used by practically everyone in the year 2039 — has died without any heirs to his vast fortune. The details of how his wealth is to be distributed is released in a video. The first person to complete three quests and find the hidden Easter egg, its location known only to Halliday, would receive all of his money. Ready Player One begins five years later in 2045 and tells the story of quests full of 80's references that culminates with the easter egg being found.
The story takes place in two worlds — the dystopian real world of 2045 and OASIS, a virtual MMO — and follows high school student and gunter (name given to those OASIS gamers who are looking for the Halliday Easter egg) through his adventures, both on and offline as he races against other guntars and the evil Innovative Online Industries, an corporation bent on using any means necessary to find the Easter egg and take control of OASIS.
This book has it all: action, adventure, romance, gaming, and 80's references (including some obscure ones.)
Overall, I thought this was a great book. Ernest Cline does an excellent job with this mash-up novel. If you have a love of video games, especially MMO's, pick up this book and read it.