Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Released: 14 July 2015
Find on Goodreads
To start. I LOVED Ready Player One. Like beyond reason. To the point that when I finished it I tried to shove it into everyone’s hands and was told that I’d missed out on this when it first came out. I proceeded to yell at them and ask them why they didn’t think to let me know about it earlier.
Regardless. When I found out that Ernest Cline was coming out with his sophomore book I was excited. I pre-ordered the e-book and was thrilled when it automatically downloaded onto my nook. That said, I didn’t read it until a week after I was able to download it.
But, once I started it I finished it in a day (I was traveling shush) and really enjoyed it.
The (annotated because its long) synopsis on Goodreads says:
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.
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?
So, that sounds FASCINATING right? But I’m afraid that Cline fell a little bit into a sophomore slump. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Because I TOTALLY DID. But there were bits where I was a little… eh…
I will say that Armada kicked off much quicker than Ready Player One did, which was nice. RPO started so slowly that it was a relief when Armada got going with in the first 20 pages.
Zach was a likable character who had very real flaws and moderately understandable anger issues and had a mother who was a delight to read. He reminded me a little of Wade from RPO, but Zach had a whole separate thing going on. His friends were funny and his boss was funky, he had a really interesting set of enemies, both terrestrial and non-terrestrial.
I also loved getting to understand the nuances of the games that they were playing, which is strange for me because I am not a video game person at all. So looking at it that way, its strange that I like Cline’s books at all…
What I found a lot of fun was how Cline worked in historic facts that within the context of the story made everything a little plausible, which is a little scary.
Cline seems to have a thing about giving his recently high school graduated male protagonists girlfriends who are at least three years older than them. He’s also pretty stuck on the video game thing, WHICH IS NOT BAD, but it had the same kind of RPO narration feel because of it.
I was, however, pretty underwhelmed by the ending, which I won’t spoil cause that’s not how I roll, but I was left a little meh about the whole thing. But that said. Getting to that point, had its moments of very cool. Like the Moon Base. That was awesome.
Again, what I really didn’t like was how everything got wrapped up in the end. It just felt very “this happened and then this happened. followed by this and this and then I made the decision to do this”
It wasn’t very interesting and I was disappointed by it. Which honestly is probably why I gave it a 3.5 of 5 and not higher. The end really stuck with me and I wasn’t particularly impressed with it.
Perhaps, in the future, Cline will move away from his comforting video game base and give us some new world building with out the video games, but for now this is really fun, and still pretty different.
Interested in buying this book?