It's the year 2044 and humanity is in trouble. After using up available fossil fuels and other sources of power, there is now a severe lack of power, food, jobs, and everything else. People are living in RVs stacked 20+ high with multiple families to a stack. Most people are using OASIS as their escape, going into the incredibly complex computer world and living much of their lives there.
Wade Watts is no different. A high school senior with deceased parents and no home life to speak of, he has spent most of his life in OASIS so when Halliday, the creator of OASIS, dies a few years back and announces that since he has no heirs his fortune will go to whomever can win his game, Wade figures it's his chance at making it big. Of course, so does everyone else.
It's been 5yrs and many have given up. Those who haven't are known as gunters and they study everything Halliday every said, did, or loved religiously in the hopes of finding the first key and moving on with the game. Then there is IOI, the greedy company that has outspent everyone so that they can try to win the game first and control OASIS forever. But now Wade has found the first key and gotten through the first gate and the game is heating up. IOI will stop at nothing to win so how can Wade with nothing at his disposal stand a chance or will he just sell out to the big guys?
The plot is nothing new. It's a typical poor trailer trash kid with nothing trying to win the big prize against the big nasty hugely wealthy corporation. BUT...
This is so well done. The entire book is an homage to the 80s and as a child in the 80s I found the whole thing hilarious. I was actively laughing and smiling through more than half the book. It was well-written, you find yourself routing for the good guys and really hating the bad guys, it's fast paced, it's fun, it's everything you want to see in a book like this. Highly recommended!