Audiobook Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

After re-reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I decided to check out his most recent publication Armada and found the audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton, at my public library and borrowed it.

Armada by Ernest Cline

Review via GoodReads:

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.

This was an interesting story where a fantasy becomes reality, with a side of conspiracy theory. I did like a few of the characters, they were interesting, and I really like Zack’s mom. As a protagonist, however, Zack did not catch my interest in the same manner that Wade Watts from Ready Player One did. Plus, I’m not a big gamer so that part was only so-so for me. I have no fantasy of my little Mountain Goat Mountain game coming to life in a way that I can save the world, not even a little bit. So maybe some of my disinterest in this story is my disinterest in shoot-em-up games in general.

I did enjoy Ready Player One and Cline is a good writer, I just think some of the over arching story line of Armada was rather predictable . I guessed every single plot twist when the character was introduced, so it was more about seeing if I was right than it was about expectations that a completely new revelation would happen. It’s an interesting sci-fi story, for gamers probably way more interesting, and a decent read over all, it just wasn’t for me in particular.

Wil Wheaton does a good job voice acting, and he is excited by the genre he so that gives his voice excitement and probably one of the reasons I stuck with the book. However, he does not do voices as well as some other voice over actors that I listen to, so there were a few characters I had a little trouble keeping straight, but he does a good job overall.

If you haven’t read Ready Player One, you should it is amazing, definitely read it before reading this book to get a better idea of Cline’s storytelling abilities. You can read my review here.

Armada, is  worth checking out from your library if you want a fun summer sci-fi read based on the gaming community.

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