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15 Action-Packed Books Like Ready Player One

Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Louisa

I couldn’t put Ready Player One down once I started reading this fantasy novel. This book has the perfect combination of excitement, puzzles, and 80s nostalgia.

Ready Player One is a futuristic novel set in 2044. The story follows Wade Watts, who volunteers in a virtual utopia called Oasis.

The creator of Utopia has set up puzzles to solve based on pop culture, with a huge prize for whoever solves them.

However, Wade soon discovers that this game comes down to life or death.

If this story had you on the edge of your seat, you might be looking for more books like Ready Player One.  

I’ve rounded up these exciting novels to read next. If you enjoyed Ready Player One, these books should be added to your “to read” list. 

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Quick Answer: Top 3 Picks

Are you looking for a book fast but don’t have much time? Here are my top 3 picks!

Our Favourites!

Ender's Game (The Ender Saga, 1)

#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Book

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  • About a young strategist recruited by the International Military to lead an army against a genocidal alien race
  • Winner of the 1986 Nebula Award and Hugo Award for best novel
  • Turned into a motion-picture movie in 2013

Only You Can Save Mankind (The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy Book 1)

#2 Best Dystopian Book

Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett 

  • A story about a 12-year-old who finds himself inside a video game in his dreams
  • The first book of The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy
  • Intended for ages 8-12, but loved by adults too

Foundation (Apple Series Tie-in Edition)

#3 Best Sci-Fi Book

Foundations by Isaac Asimov

  • A story about a mathematician who develops a theory of psychohistory, which can predict the future of large populations
  • International Bestseller
  • Winner of a special Hugo Award in 1966 for best science-fiction series of all time

Summary of Ready Player One

Before I get into a book similar to Ready Player One, let’s quickly recap the story. Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers if you are still reading…

In 2044, society is on the edge of dissolving into chaos. But for Wade Watts, logging onto the OASIS–a global virtual reality game full of infinite possibilities–is his only escape.

As Wade spends his days searching for hidden riddles, he knows that cracking every code could bring him immense power and wealth.

When he uncovers the first clue, however, he’s immediately descended upon by other players willing to fight to secure the grand prize.

Now with his life at stake, Wade must outlast everyone or risk losing it all — including his chance of facing his fears outside the confines of the digital utopia he calls home.

Books Like Ready Player One

Did the plot of Ready Player One have you hooked until the very last page? Look at my list of books below that Ready Player One fan will enjoy reading next. 

1. Ghostlight – Kenneth Oppel

If you’re after another teen adventure story, you can’t go wrong with Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel. This story follows Gabe, a teen with a part-time job telling ghost stories to tourists on Toronto Island. 

Gabe knows his ghost stories aren’t very scary, and he doesn’t believe in ghosts. That is until he summons the spirit of a dead girl, Rebecca. If that wasn’t scary enough, she has bigger news for Gabe.

Viker is a malevolent spirit responsible for Rebecca’s death, among many others. Each day he becomes more powerful. Can Gabe help Rebecca stop Viker for good before he claims more souls?

2. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Are you after another unpredictable dystopia novel? Fans of Ready Player One will enjoy Ender’s Game

Andrew Wiggins, aka Ender, enjoys playing war games online. He thinks he’s playing for fun, but the military monitors his skills. They believe he could be Earth’s leader in the battle against aliens. 

Ender is sent to Battle Academy, which is located above Earth. He participates in training to prepare for the third alien invasion. On Earth, Ender’s siblings unite to improve the planet’s future. 

Does Ender have what it takes to save mankind? 

3. Otherworld – Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

Are you looking for more virtual reality world books like Ready Player One? Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller will keep you hooked until the last page.

At first, Simon thought that Otherworld was just another video game. When his best friend Kat gets trapped in a virtual realm, he knows that something more is going on.

He soon discovers that while the game is being played online, all the players’ comatose bodies are in the real world.

Reviewers of this book enjoyed it because the story is where Ready Player One meets The Hunger Games. If you enjoy books about gaming that are set in virtual worlds, you won’t be able to put this book down.

Related Reading: Books Like The Hunger Games and Divergent

4. Elevation – Stephen King

One of the takeaways for Wade in Ready Player One is not to live life alone. If you enjoy reading stories with that message, you will enjoy Elevation by Stephen King.

King steps away from the horror genre to give us a heartwarming novella with a touch of mystery. The story occurs in Castle Rock, where Scott Carey is feuding with his neighbors about dog droppings.

However, the feud seems small compared to what’s going on in their lives. Scott is suffering from a strange condition that has his doctor baffled. 

He’s also beginning to understand life from his neighbors’ shoes. They face prejudice from the community daily because they’re a same-sex couple.

When Scott and his neighbors let their guard down, they can form a strong friendship with common ground.  

5. Artemis – Andy Weir

Fans of Ready Player One were fascinated by the world the story takes place in. If you enjoy stories in a different world, you should add Artemis to your to-read list.

Artemis is a city. However, it’s not like the cities you’re familiar with. This is because Artemis is the first-ever city on the moon. The city is made up of billionaires and is frequently visited by wealthy tourists. 

The main character, Jazz, hasn’t had an easy life like many of the rich civilians in Artemis. She’s been on her own ever since a falling out with her father when she was younger. To get by, Jazz steals and occasionally smuggles in contraband. 

When Jazz thinks she’s come up with the plan for a perfect crime, she’s surprised by what she discovers. Knowing powerful people plan to take over Artemis, Jazz must take survival into her own hands.

6. The Rule Of One – Ashley Saunders & Leslie Saunders

I’m always hunting for more dystopia books like Ready Player One. That’s why I was ecstatic to learn about The Rule Of One.

Imagine living in a world where your entire existence was considered a crime. In The Rule Of One, families only have one child per household. This policy is strictly enforced, and citizens are too afraid to break this rule.

Ava has a secret. One that makes her a fugitive. Her mother died to keep this secret, and her father will do anything to protect it. The family secret is her twin, Mira. 

When the Goodwin family secret gets out, Ava and Mira become wanted fugitives. How far will they go to survive? 

7. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the first book in a popular dystopia series. If you enjoyed the thrill of the game behind Ready Player One, you wouldn’t be able to put down The Hunger Games.

In the nation of Panem, there is a Capitol with 12 districts. Each district will volunteer one boy, and one girl to fight for their life live on TV in a game called The Hunger Games. Each player’s goal is to be the final one alive.

When young Primrose is called to fight from District 12, her older sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. This will force her to make decisions she never dreamed of to survive. 

8. Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

Do dystopia stories keep you on the edge of your seat? If you can’t put Ready Player One down, you will enjoy Nyxia by Scott Reintgen.

Emmett is one of 10 recruits to leave Earth for a mystery mission. He accepted without knowing what he was getting into because the mission would provide enough money for his family forever.

This mission takes the recruits to a secret planet that they must earn the right to visit. All of the recruits must fight each other for the chance to go. Will the fight be worth it for Emmett? 

9. Hullmetal Girls – Emily Skrutskie

Ready Player One has us rooting for the main character on their journey. If you want a character you can root for, you should pick up Hullmetal Girl by Emily Skrutskie.

Aisha is a woman who would do anything for her family. When her brother gets sick with the plague, she vows to save him at any cost.

This leads her to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier.

On her journey to become a top rank, Aisha has to learn to work with a Scela from a privileged background. Will Aisha be able to get top placement and save her brother?

10. Omnitopia Dawn – Diane Duane

Gaming novels like Ready Player One are becoming more popular among young adult readers. One of the best books after reading Ready Player One is Omnitopia by Diane Duane.

Omnitopia is the world’s largest multiplayer game. In this virtual world, the players can create their own universe. However, a new game expansion threatens to crash the system. 

One thing that makes Omnitopia a unique read is that the story takes place from multiple players’ perspectives.

11. Only You Can Save Mankind – Terry Pratchett 

Are you ready for another gaming story to get sucked into a dystopian world? If so, you should add Only You Can Save Mankind to your list.

12-year-old Terry Pratchett is just an average kid who loves video games. He enjoys killing time by virtually killing aliens.

When a real alien race contacts Johnny, it becomes clear that he’s the only one that can save mankind.

This book is fun for all ages but is one of the top recommended books similar to Ready Player One for kids under 12.

12. Foundations – Isaac Asimov

Most of the books I mentioned today for people that enjoyed Ready Player One are from the past decade. If you want a similar story from the past, you should read Foundations. This book was published in 1951.

Hari Seldon has visions of what the future will bring, a dark age that could last for 30,000 years.

To save mankind, he needs to assemble the greatest minds and scholars throughout the galaxy. 

Will this Foundation team be the beacon of hope that mankind needs to stop the dark force?

13. Warcross – Marie Lu

Warcross is one of the top-recommend books for fans of Ready Player One and other gaming books.

Millions of people across the world log in to play Warcross every day. Many players are illegally betting on the game. To make ends meet, Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter online to catch them.

A glitch brings Emika into the world of Warcross, where she becomes an instant star. This is when she gets an opportunity of a lifetime from the game’s creator. Will this dream uncover something Emika wasn’t ready for?

14. In Real Life – Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

If you liked Ready Player One and want to read a graphic novel next, you should check out In Real Life

Coarsegold Online is the biggest multiplayer game worldwide. However, the game isn’t all make-believe. A big risk for players in real life is that they break the game’s rules. 

When Anda catches a poor kid breaking the rules to get by, she questions whether the rules are right or wrong. Will real-life morals and the rules of the virtual world clash for Anda?

15. Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline

Of course, I can’t finish my list without mentioning Ready Player Two. If you loved Ready Player One, you’d be happy to know there’s a sequel you can read too!

Wade doesn’t get to take it easy now that he’s won, Oasis. While the real world is in ruins, he has discovered an advancement in the game that can change everything. On top of that, he also has a new rival to deal with.

If you loved the dystopia setting of Ready Player One, you could revisit it again in this highly-rated sequel.  

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books like ready player one

Final Words on Books Like Ready Player One

I hope you enjoy these action-packed books just as much as Ready Player One. Of course, there are many great dystopia novels out there. 

Did I miss one of your favorite books similar to Ready Player One? Let me know about it in the comments below.

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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