top of page

Sweet N' Sour Mini-Review: Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two (Spoiler Free)

An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?

Ready Player Two is a 2020 sci-fi novel written by Ernest Cline and published by Ballantine Books. This a sequel to Ready Player One. A film adaptation has been announced.

"Everybody wants to rule the world."


Days after winning James Halliday's easter egg hunt, Wade Watts discovers a new, advanced technology that will change the course of human life forever. When Wade decides to release it to the world, he doesn't realize the dangers that he has created, until a powerful new enemy threatens the lives of thousands of people, forcing Wade to go on a dangerous new quest that he may not win this time.

Spoiler-Free Section

This is, unfortunately, not a worthy sequel to Ready Player One. It has all the same stuff that fans of the first book loved, but it seems as though all the fun is sucked out of it. The 80s nostalgia is forced and doesn't fit into the plot nicely, like it did in the original. The whole middle section of the book is a complete disaster. We go on the same type of quest that we did in the first one, but this is a ticking clock instead of a high-intensity race. The quest doesn't interest the reader at all. It is just a recycled idea that Cline used, but made it bigger and less exciting. As frustrating as this was, there are some fantastic moments inside of the book. I'd say that the first twenty percent is great. It really develops Wade's character, which was a bright spot inside of this book. There are also a few massive plot twists that happen. I will talk about those in the spoiler section down below. The novel also embraces the new technology, which fits into the plot very well. However, I do not like where Cline finished off the novel. It was sad that this was what he chose to do with the sequel. That said, if you want to skip straight ahead to my score and not read the spoiler section, here's the link: Final Score.


Spoiler Section

The big problem is that the Seven Shards are just not as interesting as the O.G. easter egg hunt. Cline forces all these 80s nostalgia moments into the quest that aren't as popular. We have a Prince quest. We have a John Hughes quest. We have an anime quest. We have a quest about a side history book based on The Lord of the Rings. I really don't like this middle part, especially because Cline made a lazy excuse for its existence. He just says that Halliday decided it'd be fun to create another quest. That is not good reasoning, and it frustrates me, because I really wanted to like this book. He also forces characters like Sorrento and L0hengrin into the novel. Sorrento is not essential to the plot, but he brought him back because he was a familiar face, which is not a good reason. I don't like where the book finishes. I think that the whole idea of copying people's brains and creating a digital version of them is stupid and takes away all of the emotion and loss that we feel when Og dies. However, the twist that Anorak is behind everything is pretty great. It's a big WTF moment, and I was genuinely surprised. Lastly, I also thought that the ONI tech was really interesting. It made for some fun new ideas that were explored in the early stages of the novel. It made Anorak's plan acceptable enough, which I appreciated. However, this book was just a huge disappointment overall.

Final Score

I wish I could say that I liked it, but Ready Player Two fails to live up to the greatness and uniqueness of Ready Player One. Instead, it's a recycled idea that has a weak story with some good sprinkled throughout.

I will give it a Sour rating. Age range is 13+.


Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

Fun Factor: 6/10

Writing: 7/10

Story: 3/10

Characters: 6/10

Quality: 5/10

Written by Ernest Cline

Published on November 24, 2020

366 pages


bottom of page