Armada: A novel by the author of Ready Player One


Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.  

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.
Like most other reviewers, I REALLY loved Ready Player One. I have never considered myself obsessed with anything until that book came along. Maybe because it relates so closely to my own childhood, growing up during the same period. I knew every single pop culture reference as if it happened yesterday.

Armada, is not Ready Player One. Although it shares a similar coming of age storyline, and a ‘gamer’s save the world’ theme, I had a hard time slogging my way through most of the book. I just couldn’t wrap myself around it like RP1. I wanted to so badly, and they may have been part of the problem. My bar was set so high I walked right under it, perhaps missing out on a good adventure.

Standing on its own, Armada is a good book with good characters and a good storyline. I also purchased the Audible version hoping to spark my enthusiasm with Wil Wheaton’s charismatic storytelling, and that worked to an extent. Wil Wheaton is an audiobook God.

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