Rating 4 Stars
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.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
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?
I’m not going to compare it to Ready Player One like many people is doing, it’s a different book, yes it revolves around video games, it’s science-fiction, it’s full of pop culture references, Ernest Cline wrote it, but ultimately a different book. I doesn’t need to be RPO.
I loved this, in fact loved it so much that my disappointment with the ending didn’t change how I felt about it, no matter how conflicted I was.
Overall I found the theme I bit underwhelming, but the pace kept things interesting and I liked the characters, I mean at some point I realized I wanted to be a Lightman, they were so cool in my opinion. It dealt with an emotional topic but the book wasn’t the dramatic type, and I appreciated it. The writing style was very detailed and fluent.