Ready Player One was one of those books that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I adore it and have re-read it multiple times. So to celebrate it’s tradition to the big screen I thought I’d put together a list of Must Read Books for Ready Player One fans.
With more attention on these great characters and fabulous story I have no doubt that with more people reading this awesome book more people are going to asking “what should I read after I’m done with Ready Player One”. And because I’m me I also had to make a RPO characters shirt so make your own DIY Ready Player One shirt with my easy tutorial and then read all the books!
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth’s future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the “buggers”, an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel’s protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained from a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender’s tactical genius is revealed.
This Sci-Fi classic is one of my very favorite series and I think RPO fans will find it just as charming. The characters in Ender’s Game, while younger are just as sharp and the dialogue is the best. You’ve got competition style gaming, an intense video game system, and friendships that are rivaled by only Harry Potter. If you love Ender’s Game I actually recommend continuing with the Bean (Shadow) series since those are more in line with Ender’s Game and RPO but if you love true Sci-Fi with creatures and all that by all means follow Ender on his adventures too!
Warcross by Marie Lu
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
I just finished ready Warcross and my oh my did I adore it. Marie Lu has a fabulous way of sucking you into all the action then hit you with all kinds of crazy twists. This first book of the series (ahhhh need her to write the rest!!!) hits so many things I loved about RPO. VR becoming a part of every day life, a huge competition, regular people thrown into the mix and layers of story telling. I think fans of Ready Player One would love any of Marie Lu’s books to be honest!
Insignia by S.J.Kincaid
The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender’s Game.
The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.
As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay. . . .
Okay so that synopsis makes Insignia sound way more dramatic than it is. I loved this as a light and fun book with so many great aspects video games, simulators, competitions, boarding school this is such a fun series that I think flew below the radar of most people. This is target to the younger YA market but still totally enjoyable for adults. Oh and as a bonus the audiobooks are great. Speaking of, if you haven’t listened to RPO on audiobook you gotta make a point to do that
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
What if you aren’t the Chosen One?
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions…
Okay this one has nothing to do with video games or competitions but one thing I really liked about Ready Player one is that it made you step back and examine how these people were living or pseudo living and look at the layers of the story. The Read of Us Just Live Here is such a fun twist this is a story about the non-special kids. You know how all the dystopian books and fantasy books there is a small group characters that the action revolves around? This makes you think what about the normal people (think Muggles) living there? Don’t they realize all this craziness is going on? It’s fun and something about it makes me put it on this list.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
You guys Renegades is on my nightstand (but I bought it so I keep reading books that have a due date at the library). I haven’t read it yet but my friends who have say for sure it belongs on this list. And I trust Marissa Meyer. You guys she’s a literary genius. Everything she writes is golden, the worlds the characters, the humor. I can attest to the fact that I think RPO fans would love The Lunar Chronicles series which starts with Cinder but I think Renegades plot-wise is a closer over lap. But heck read them all. READ THEM ALLLLLLLL.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
One of the most fun parts of RPO were all the 80’s trivia and nostalgia and quotes and pop culture references. There’s a similar inside joke feel to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that will have fans of Ready Player One in familiar territory.
Armada by Ernest Cline
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.
Confession I havn’t finished Armada. I couldn’t quite get started and then it was due back at the library. But I kinda had to put it on the list and while most people say they don’t love it with the same fiery passion as Ready Player One, they liked it enough and it was worth reading. So it’s back on my library holds list, I’m gonna try the audiobook this time though.
Bluescreen by Dan Wells
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. One of those connections is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.
Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.
I have to admit that Bluescreen wasn’t my favorite personally but it has a lot of similar themes that I think fans of RPO will like. Also my sister loved this (but she is Dan’s biggest fan so….) but really I think some of the things that bugged me stemmed from the weird accent the audiobook reader did. So check it out paper style though.
RUSH by Evie Silver
So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
Miki Jones’s carefully controlled life spins into chaos after she’s run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby – pulled from her life, through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.
There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Every moment of the game is kill or be killed, and Miki has only the questionable guidance of Jackson Tate, the team’s alluring and secretive leader. He evades her questions, holds himself aloof from the others, and claims it’s every player for himself. But when he puts himself at risk to watch Miki’s back, he leaves her both frustrated and fascinated. Jackson says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival. And the survival of every other person on the planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
I totally forgot about Rush until today scrolling back through books to see if there was anything else I thought fit. But this has that game aspect and adventure and layers of something bigger that I think Ready Player One fans would really enjoy.
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.
However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface
The Ward is another book that I adored that I felt got swept under the rug. There is the competition feel, the super cool technology and incredible world building that RPO fans will love. Just a fun story with great characters!
Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh
After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.
When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.
With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.
I haven’t read Rebel Seoul yet but my friend whom I trust says it’s fabulous and perfect for those who like Ready Player One. And I have to admit the synopsis sounds just right so I’m putting it on this list. I’ll for sure report back after I finish it!
And if you are like me and flaunt your love for RPO go make yourself this crazy easy DIY Ready Player One Shirt.
Want even more Ready Player One Awesomeness? My friends got together for a wee RPO blog hop so check out these other fun projects!