Author: Ernest Cline
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 11 hours 58 minutes
Publisher: Crown Publishing
From the Publisher: The new novel from the best-selling author of Ready Player One
It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again.
Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.
At first Zack thinks he's going crazy.
A minute later he's sure of it. Because the UFO 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.
But what Zack'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.
Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can't help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching and wonder: Doesn't something about this scenario seem a little too...familiar?
Armada is at once a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming-of-age adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you've ever heard before - one whose every minute is infused with author Ernest Cline's trademark pop-culture savvy.
I’ll admit: Ready Player One was better. But that book set the bar so high that it would be hard for anything Cline wrote to come close. While Armada didn’t quite hit that bar, it still kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was coming next. This audio book was like book crack to me – I never wanted to turn it off!
Zack Lightman is just your ordinary teenager, though he apparently had a bit of a temper in his younger days. But give the kid a break – his dad died in a sewage plant explosion! That kind of thing will mess with your head. Especially when you’ve gone through his stuff and found a conspiracy theory riddled diary that convinces you that your dad had more than a few screws loose.
But then one day Zack’s life changes. He sees a spaceship in the sky that looks exactly like the alien fighter ships from his favorite video game Armada.
Of course, Zack thinks he’s losing his mind just like his dad.
The government has prepared the world for an alien invasion by covertly training millions through video games. And the time for war has come.
That’s all you need to know about this book. Pick it up. Read it. Listen to it. I’m partial to the audio book because Wil Wheaton narrated it – and I’ve never come across Wheaton’s work that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed, no matter the genre.
If you thought Ready Player One had a little too much pop culture immersion, then you’ll definitely enjoy Armada more. This book is written a little more straight forward. It’s Ender’s Game meets War Games, though set in the future and built on a foundation of video game and sci-fi movie references from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. But they aren’t overwhelming, and they aren’t constantly in your face.
Armada was a book full of all of the things I love: aliens, action, family, friends, and the one that beats all: learning who you are as a person.