" As the timestamp faded away, it was replaced by a short message, just three words long - the last thing I would see before I left the real world and entered the virtual one. But they weren't the three words I was used to seeing. I - like every other ONI user to come - was greeted by a new message Halliday had created, to welcome those visitors who had adopted his new technology:

READY PLAYER TWO

"
–Wade Watts


Ready Player Two is a science fiction book and sequel to Ready Player One. It was released on November 24, 2020, and is written by Ernest Cline. Despite the negative reviews, a film adaptation is in the early stages of development. The story follows Wade who has found a new technology that causes him to strain his relationship with his friends. When a new riddle appears along with a new rival, Wade and his friends must crack the riddles or the whole of humanity will cease to exist. The book is divided into five parts: a cutscene, Level Four, Level Five, Level Six and an epilogue titled Continue?. It has 30 chapters in total.


Synopsis

Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous — and addictive — than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest — a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who'll kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Plotline

After the events of the first novel, the High Five have scattered across the globe: Aech is on a vacation in Senegal, Shoto has taken over operations at GSS's Hokkaido division and Samantha has flown back to Vancouver to pack up her belongings and say bye to her grandmother. To keep himself busy, Wade decides to test out his new superuser abilities. Wade finds an inscription on Halliday's Easter egg and after following directions, he finds the first operational ONI (OASIS Neural Interface) headset. However, it can only be used for twelve hours a day to prevent death by Synaptic Overload Syndrome. After testing it out, he contacts Aech and Shoto of his findings and they both try it out. Samantha however, is furious and argues with Wade about the headset's capabilities and breaks up with him especially after realizing that their argument is being recorded. The High Five all start their own charity businesses. Three years pass. Aech, Shoto, and Wade build a spaceship christened Vonnegut and upload a standalone copy of the OASIS which they call ARC@DIA.

The ONI headsets start selling fast allowing GSS to shutdown IOI. A new riddle appears. The riddle is about finding Seven Shards to restore the "Siren's Soul". Wade has trouble finding them, so he offers a billion-dollar bounty for whoever can give him information on the shards. GSS employee Faisal Sodhi calls for a GSS co-owners meeting as people keep hacking the ONI headsets exceed the twelve hour usage limit. Art3mis turns up as well and proposes to put an age-restriction on the ONI headsets, leading to another argument (it is here that we learn that her grandma died of pancreatic cancer). She loses the vote and logs out. A female gunter named L0hengrin/Skylar Castillo Adkins, a member of a clan called the L0w Five (alongside fellow gunters Lilith, Wukong, Rizzo and Kastagir) finds the First Shard and Wade experiences one of Kira Morrow's memories: her creating her first piece of digital artwork. L0hengrin ends up getting Wade's billion-dollar reward.

Ogden Morrow disappears after Wade obtains the First Shard and GSS employee Miles Gendell tells Wade that Nolan Sorrento has broken out of prison. Another meeting is called. Faisal, who is organizing the meeting turns out to be Anorak, an AI copy of James Halliday. Anorak steals back his Robes. Wade realizes that he broke Sorrento (who is seen with a captive Og) out of prison. Anorak demands that the High Five give him the Siren's Soul or they will die of Synaptic Overload Syndrome (except Art3mis who is using ordinary OASIS equipment). Anorak reveals that the ONI users can't log out, unless he gets what he wants. He crashes Art3mis's private jet but she turns out to have survived.

The High Five find the next three shards on Kodama, Shermer and Halcydonia. Before they can find the Fifth Shard, Faisal calls them back to GSS Headquarters where he reveals that Anorak has altered the behavior of the NPCs so that they can kill off other avatars (in both PvP and non-PvP zones) and loot their inventory which they bring to Anorak. The L0w Five appear revealing that the NPCs are looking for Og's Anorak-killing supersword, the Dorkslayer. Together, they find out that the Siren's Soul is a digital copy of Og's late wife, Leucosia and that Anoraks wants the Siren's Soul so he can resurrect and fall in love with her and escape with her onboard the Vonnegut. The L0w Five decide to go on a quest to find the sword. Art3mis logs out to go and protect Og. Wade apologizes to her about the ONI, and she accepts his apology. Before leaving, she kisses his forehead — a sign that their relationship is healing.

Aech, Shoto and Wade find the Fifth Shard on Afterworld but they have to battle seven incarnations of the singer, Prince during which Shoto is killed off. Aech and Wade journey to Arda I to find the Sixth Shard but Aech is killed and Wade takes damage from poison during a fight with Carcharoth, but Art3mis arrives and saves Wade and they obtain the Sixth Shard. Wade obtains the last shard on Chthonia and steals back Anorak's Robes. Wade and Samantha find Og with Sorrento. Anorak operates a telebot and uses its guns to destroy Sorrento, but Sorrento fatally wounds Og. Og dons an ONI headset and does battle with Anoark. Just before he can be defeated, L0hengrin arrives with the Dorkslayer, which Og uses to destroy Anorak, freeing all of the ONI hostages. Og dies seconds later, and Wade logs out of the OASIS but loses consciousness and wakes up 15 hours later in a GSS hospital bay.

Wade logs back into the OASIS and reassembles the shards, resurrecting Leucosia who gives him an artifact called the Rod of Resurrection which allows the users to resurrect an ONI user as a digital person, even if the user is already dead. Wade makes copies of the whole human race including his friends, himself, Samantha's grandma, Ogden Morrow and the rest of the L0w Five. He sends them off to Proxima Centauri, onboard the Vonnegut. Shoto and his wife, Kiki have a baby boy and they name him Little Daito. Aech marries Bollywood singer, Endira. Wade and Samantha marry and are expecting a baby girl which they plan to name Kira after Og's late wife.

Background Information

The scope of the sequel has varied over the years. In some interviews, Cline stated the next book would be a sequel only to the first book. In other interviews, Cline said he was trying to write the book to work as a sequel to both the first book and the movie. Other news also believed that it would be centered around Wade's girlfriend, Art3mis/Samantha. The plotline also explores more of Halliday's relationship with Kira and Og.

Reception

The book was received with positive reviews from readers, but it's online presence has been teared apart.

Many have said that Wade's character was now intentionally bad and his character as a whole is falling apart. Another thing is the number of now modern day references of video games, cartoons, TV shows and miniseries of the 21st century, but still having classic pop culture references in the mix.

Ready Player Two Movie

In December 2020, Cline confirmed that a movie adaptation is in the early stages of development. Much of the original cast is expected to return, but Spielberg might not be the director as the first movie was his third-hardest film to make.

Pop Culture references in Ready Player Two

Games Referenced in Ready Player Two

  • Ninja Princess
  • Minecraft

Movies referenced in Ready Player Two

  • The Matrix

Literature referenced in Ready Player Two

Anime, Tokusatsu and Manga referenced in Ready Player Two

  • Sword Art Online

Music referenced in Ready Player Two

  • Boston - More Than a Feeling (1976)
  • Killing Joke - Eighties (1984)
  • Prince - When Doves Cry (1984)
  • Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me) (1985)
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