Zack Lightman might be a great Armada player, but he’s also kind of a mess. He’s really only ever been good at two things: video games and punching things. When he starts seeing alien ships in the sky, he sort of assumes he’s going crazy. But, it turns out that might not be the case after all. Ernest Cline’s sophomore effort is fun, funny and fantastical.
First of all, I cannot recommend the audio book version of this highly enough. Wil Wheaton gives a stunning performance that I’m really sad is over. I’m not sure I’d have found the book as emotionally impactful without his voice. Ernest Cline really loves science fiction, video games and saving the world. As it happens, I love these things too. So, Armada was right up my alley. It’s a fun, raucous ride through space, adolescence and every alien invasion trope known to mankind. I really enjoyed Zack’s narrative voice, and almost all of the characters grow beyond their tropey beginnings. While the story is mostly an absurd love letter to sci-fi, just underneath that lies another classic tale: coming of age, as fraught and difficult in the future as it is today. I loved this book, and I’m looking forward to whatever Cline delivers next.