In the year 2044, the world is a desolate wasteland undergoing a terrible energy crisis and global warming. There is a huge social economic divide and the only escape is a virtual reality game called the Oasis. It was created by Ogden Marrow and James Halliday who passed away at the start of the book. It is full of 80s and 90s nostalgia and has a virtual world of every book/movie/video game out there for the users to experience in virtual reality.
The protagonist, Wade Watts, who goes by Parzival is hunting easter eggs left behind by the creators of the Oasis. There is a contest that if someone can find all of their easter eggs, they will be able to control the oasis. Wade is racing against everyone including an evil corporation IOI to get control of the Oasis.
The book is full of nostalgia from the past and numerous references to arcade games and movies from the 80s and 90s. It is a great read for anyone who enjoys video games or just likes VH1 All about the 90s. It more or less haphazardly threw in a love story, which was completely unnecessary, but overall it was a great read.