Ready Player One by Ernest Cline takes place mostly in a virtual reality simulation called the Oasis, while the outside world of 2045 is in a dystopic downward spiral. Five years before the book opens the co-creator of the Oasis, James Halliday, died and upon his death his Oasis avatar, Anorak, announces that he has hidden an Easter Egg inside the Oasis and whoever discovers it (after decoding riddles and completing challenges) will inherit his vast fortune. However, half a decade later and the score board remains unchanged, until Wade Owen Watts (a poor high school senior from Oklahoma, with a depressingly low level avatar) figures out where the first key is. Wade's avatar, Parzival, becomes an instant celebrity, and an instant target. A corrupt corporation is also after Halliday's Easter Egg, and with endless technology and resources Wade finds himself in both virtual world and real world peril. There's battles, sabotage, a love interest, an impressive virtual world, and pretty much all of the 80s, all in one page turning package.
I listened to the audio version of this book and it is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to! Wil Wheaton narrates it fantastically. I listen to audiobooks while driving, and there were multiple times I drove around the block or just sat in my parked car to find out what happened next. I know audiobooks aren't for everyone, but if you're ever going to try one this would be a great first.
If you like this:
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid