Zack Lightman is a dreamer. He fills his days with wishful thoughts of life on other planets and spends hours playing videogames, neither of which have helped him make friends or find a girlfriend. His refuge from the daily disappointments of life is Armada - an online space-fighter simulator based on defending Earth from an alien invasion. It’s when he’s playing that he feels closest to his father, a champion gamer who died when Zack was a baby.
He rises up the ranks until there’s only one other player who can challenge his worldwide supremacy. As he closes in on his ultimate enemy, the game suspiciously shuts down, leading Zack to investigate the many urban legends and myths that surround Armada. What he finds will take him beyond his wildest dreams.
The game was just the beginning....
©2015 Random House Audiobooks (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks
This one gets 3.5 stars from me. Comparisons will unavoidably be made with Clines' first novel, Ready Player One. This story wasn't as good as that one, but it's still a fun ride. The story is predictable and draws heavily from other well-known sci-fi classics. But at least Cline is unapologetically open about it.
The book is full of pop culture references for nerds and cinephiles, though not as heavily as in RPO. The story moves along at a good pace, but ends quite suddenly after the climax. Wheaton's narration is great. He's enthusiastic and gets right into the story, which excites you as a listener.
I personally found this book very enjoyable with a mix of modern and vintage sci-fi elements. However I sincerely wish most of the story was further explored in more detail. Many sections of the story felt glossed over and were finished before they felt like they had begun. Whilst not as gripping as 'Ready Player One' it shared a very similar vibe and is worth a read if you are a fan of his earlier work. Wheaton still unstoppable - great performance.
Not Clines best work. Ready player one is better.
The book follows a young mans journey, with a long lead up to the main events, followed by an extremely short climax. I was a bit disappointed but it's still fantastic.
Wil Wheaton is amazing in his performance. I love his voice, the slight accents he does, his inflections, brilliant.
All in all, worth getting. It's a good adventure and great for someone new to the genre.
I had just finished listening to Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, and jumped straight into Armada. The story is just as good and tears along at a steady pace. After reading some reviews stating it seems to wrap up quickly, I feel the total opposite and like the way Cline finished the story.
I felt a lot more for the characters in Armada than I did in RPO, Cline really has a way of drawing you into them.
Which brings me to Wheaton's performance. Better than on RPO for sure. More 'acting' used, throwing his voice and using accents to really create the world Cline had created.
If you liked Ready Player One by all means this will really be up your alley.
I always feel sombre when I finish a book with Wil Wheaton narrating! 5 Stars!!!
Loved ready player one and so I bought this book. I liked the majority of the book. Good humour, story and cultural references. But I can't help feeling that the The last 1/3 of the book was written under the looming deadline. The story final story brushed over and told in a rapid, slapdash manor which is a real shame.
I love teen fiction but this one is too self-indulgent for my tastes. Teenage boys who spend a lot of time indoors, gaming, & who fantasise about being heroes without making any physical effort to achieve their goal will probably like it.
The ending definitely feels rushed but it's okay, not great, just okay. I'd definitely be interested in a sequel if it ever came out, because as things are it ended in a very unsatisfying way.
Yep! It has great character development, with a good story line. I'm glad I read it and even though some people comparing it to Ready Player One initially deterred me, I left enough space between listening to RPO to not expect the same, and I wasn't disappointed!
If you're a fan of RPO do yourself a favour before you listen to this story, and have a break. Listen to some other sci-fi/fantasy and then you'll appreciate how much of a great author E.C. is. Also Wil Wheaton again does a great performance, he's one of my favourite narrators.
The overall plot was good but it was ruined by the constant references to movies, music and games. It worked in Ready Player One because it was an integral part of the narrative, but here it was completely unnecessary and comes off as the author being too lazy to describe scenes opting instead to compare back to movie scenes. it's a pity because it detracts from what is a pretty good concept.
"A Sci-Fi Great"
Loved it! Ernest Cline writes another engrossing book I can't stop read/listening to. Obviously hard to follow up after Ready Player One and many themes are similar here, but still delightful though at times it did sound a little too similar to Enders Game.
The narration is the the best! Will Wheaton is frickin amazing as the narrator. Different voices and characters come alive and just add and pump up this book to new heights.
"A must-listen for fans of the genre"
Yes. It's no Ready Player One" (how could it be?) but (proud) geekdom will still find this a highly satisfying and heartening offering from the same author. And, really, what can be better than Wil Wheaton once again taking us on the joyride?
It's not life altering (probably) and is just a tad heavy handed somehow in dishing out some of its pop culture pearls (the very beauty of Cline's work I know and agree) but you will enjoy the storytelling way too much to let that detract.
Pretty good, hey. A sea of pop culture references again. Story line was a little derivative, but credit was definitely given where it was due. A very pleasant read.
"Fun, quirky, way too many pop culture references"
Fun listen with Will doing an excellent, as usual. Does feel like a ride on the nostalgia train, using pop culture references like nails to embed you in the story, as if referencing The Thing or Star Trek will somehow make it feel more based in reality and more intriguing, despite being pretty average. Do read, it's still fun.
"Nom nom nom"
After Ready Player One, I was expecting another epic three course banquet. In comparison, Armada is more like a happy meal. But hey, there's NOTHING wrong with the occasional happy meal... just know that this book is a completely different meal from RPO and you'll be okay.
"A great listen, with interesting current topics"
Great narrating by Wheaton. The story is a little out there towards the end in what previously follows a interesting current topic of vr and battle simulators. As always a great book by a great author!
As a HUGE fan of Ready Player One I was so excited for this one, OMG it was such a let down.
The story is appalling, not only is it a blatant rehash of Enders game/Last Star Fighter but it has the audacity to frequently reference both and constantly draw parallels. It is not new, unique or exciting in any way. All the "Easter eggs" that made RPO so cool just feel lazy and forced in Armada.
Ok, this book is fun and fast paced but It felt like the book was rushed and absolutely no thought was put into it (a borrowed story line, one dimentional characters and a run time of less than 12hours) Honestly, if it wasn't for Will Weaton i probably wouldn't have even finished this. So disappointed!
After the absolutely wonderful READY PLAYER ONE I was looking forward to getting stuck in to another book by the same author and read by the same narrator.
Unfortunately in my opinion this story does not have a patch on the last book.
It's incredibly schmaltzy, Cline must not have got all the film references (that worked so well in RP1) out of his system so half heartedly carries them on throughout this one. I just kept groaning because it felt like he'd plagiarised himself.
Will Wheaton does a fairly good job up until he attempts what is described in the book as "a thick British accent" he's clearly done it with none or at best very little research or practice, and as a British person it grates terribly. We have many very thick accents in Britain, none of which sound like the love child of a South African and an Australian.
"This is no 'Ready Player One'"
Armada? Sadly underwhelming.
Hmm, probably not. Like...its fine? And I recommended Ready Player One left, right and center...but this? No. Probably not.
Everything. Wil is my favorite reader - he has the perfect reading voice.
Armada never quite achieves what it sets out to and instead of paying homage to sci fi classics (such as Ender's Game, as noted elsewhere) it borrows far too much from them. Additionally I never found myself investing in these characters in the same way I did with Ready Player One. It was fine. You might like it. You might not.
"Millenium Falcon Has Problems With Hyperdrive"
Unlike many readers and listeners, I wasn’t exactly won over by ”Ready Player One”, and I admit that only a third into ”Armada” I was ready to give up. The premise was too thin for my liking, and while I could appreciate fantastical things taking place out of the blue, unlikely turns and even, as it happens, the likeliest and most obvious ”twists”, I felt completely detached from what was going on to the point where I asked myself why I should bother reading further.
I did, however, until the very end, but I’m not quite sure if it did me any good. As has been pointed out, Cline’s referential style revolves around him writing his versions of his favourite stories, amply referencing them and toying with them along the way, but his hybrid just doesn’t seem worth the trouble to me. Perhaps I’ve never been into the whole fan fiction thing to appreciate what’s going on, but then again, this isn’t really supposed to be fan fiction as far as I’m concerned.
Yet then again, this is a light read, and to some extent fulfills its function. In some way I think the strength in Cline’s writing is that he trusts the reader to know what’s coming next so that he can offer his variation on it. And to be honest, isn’t this what storytelling has been about since forever? Not that there weren’t awkward moments, or that the deus ex machina he used so much in ”Ready Player One” didn’t pop up conveniently here as well. It’s just that when it read well, it read incredibly well. I suppose that’s part of the irritation, really: I’m boarding Millenium Falcon and just as we’re about to hit hyperspace, it doesn’t work, fiddlesticks! See, I was trying to be the geeky me.
As for narration, I wasn’t too fond of Wheaton before, but he’s really growing on me. There are moments where he’s the one making it all click with his enthusiasm and obvious freewheeling fun he’s exuding. Definitely carries the narrative.
"Another great book by Ernest Cline"
A great second book, like Ready Player One, full of pop culture references. Moves along at a good pace and does not let up!!!
"No Ready Player One..."
Starts strong, but fades.
If you're looking for another Ready Player One, there are flashes of it in here, but sadly it's not as good.
Entertaining, but felt rushed.
"not as good as Ready Player One"
By chapter 7 or 8 I had stopped comparing it to.Ender's Game. A bit verbose on the technicalities but gripping, it kept me up until I had finished it
This is Cline trying to write Ender's Game in the style of Ready Player One and the result is a mess of shoehorned in pop culture references and tired sci-fi tropes that the author tries to pass off as part of the plot. It is a pathetic attempt to cash in on the RPO fan base and I have no idea how it got past the books editor.
Where Ready Player One had charm and pop-culture references that seemed to flow with the story, Armada is left with the bad bits of it's predecessor, poor dialogue, hollow characters and a very basic and obvious story-line that's been done a million times.
It was all bad, it came across a 12 year olds first attempt at a science fiction story but the romance was truly atrocious and had me wondering if the author had ever had a conversation with a real woman not just a manic pixie dream girl fantasy .
I can't recall enjoying any of it. I was mostly cringing through it.
This is a first draft, as an editor I'd have given the author his story back and told him to remove 50% of the pop-culture references, fix the dialogue, give the characters more depth and learn to write.
This blatant cash grab has turned me off from any of this authors future works. I won't be reading any of this novels inevitable sequels or anything else this hack puts out.
"Skip, listen to Ready Player One instead"
Full of vomit inducing sob sob amateur dramatics. A cheesy cheap soap opera designed to take advantage, constantly shouting and screaming popular sci and gaming references.
A turd that not even Will Wheaton's superb performance can polish.
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