Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Julie's Review: Armada

Author: Ernest Cline
Series: None
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 11 Hours and 58 Minutes
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Alien invasion with a sense of humor
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: 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.

Review: Armada isn't really my cup of tea and pretty much the only reason I used an Audible credit for it was 2 words: Wil Wheaton. You see, he narrated Ready, Player One and I just love the sound of his voice and how he creates the voices of the characters. While this is a science fiction book it has a heavy dose of humor and pop culture. It is evident to me that Mr. Cline is a huge gamer.

Zach Lightman is a 18 year old who isn't quite sure what he's going to do with his life after graduation. He just wants to work at his part time job and continue playing his favorite video game Armada. This life contemplation doesn't last long because what happens next is straight out of a sci-fi movie. He's quickly recruited into an elite group that is fighting an alien invasion that is imminent.

What I really love about Mr. Cline's novels is how you immediately connect to the main character. Even if you don't understand the gaming world or frankly care about alien invasions, you will like Zach and his sense of humor. Mr. Cline also doesn't go geeky sci-fi on you either. He talks enough of the language for those who do like to geek out but not too much that you get lost.

What is an important in both of his books is relationship: family, friends and romantic. He makes it clear that humans wouldn't be human if we didn't establish and maintain those that sets us apart. There is so much good in this book that it does make you believe in the good in us humans.

Let's talk about Wil Wheaton's narration skills for a bit. He's simply fantastic. I could listen to him narrate almost every book I listen to. He does an excellent job of distinguishing his voice for all of the characters and in an non-irritating way.

While I might not have liked this one as much as Ready, Player One, I still thought that was a lot to think about.



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