This dystopian sci-fi adventure takes place partially in the ruined, impoverished real world, but mostly in the impossibly unlimited, intricate cyber world of OASIS where the real world's residents choose to spend their time instead. For the past five years, searchers in OASIS called gunters have been looking for the clues to a treasure which will grant them wealth beyond imagination, as well as control over the OASIS world. Wade (AKA Parzival) is one of these gunters, and this is the action-packed story of how he uses his knowledge of 80s video games, music, and movies to race the other gunters for the clues, battle an evil corporation, rise to the top of the scoreboard, and even fall in love. After a bit of a slow start, this is an exciting adventure which is a mix of Ender's Game, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and Monty Pyton's quest for the holy grail.At first, I wasn't sure about this book. The main character, Wade, wasn't really likable, so I didn't really get why I should want this awkward, antisocial, kind of bitter teen to win anything at all. A lot of the 80s references were a bit too obscure for someone who wasn't a teen during those years -- for instance, my first video game console was an NES, and even that I didn't pick up until well into the 90s, so a lot of the video game references were lost on me. As the book progressed, though, the action picked up, and whereas at first I was only cheering for Wade to win so that the evil corporation didn't, by the end he had redeemed himself and I thought he'd make a worthy victor. Although there were still plenty of references I didn't "get," the author did a good enough job of explaining it that the reader could still follow along and understand what was going on even without having previous knowledge of the movies, games, or songs referenced.The ending was great and really left me feeling satisfied. I also LOVED that it was a stand-alone book. Other stories probably could be added on later, but with the recent trend of novel trilogies, it was nice to read a book that tied up all the loose ends and had adequate resolution, instead of cliffhanging to entice the reader to buy more books (after waiting a year or so, obviously). I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of the 80s, people who enjoy video games, and others looking for a unique adventure.Heads up: This book does contain some strong language, violence, and few sexual references.