Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Posted August 13, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: Armada by Ernest ClineArmada by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown Publishing on July 14th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, War, Dystopian
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Blogging For Books
ISBN: 0804137250
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

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?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

The Good…:

When I first learned Ernest Cline had written a second book I had mixed emotions. Ready Player One had solidified him as one of my favorite authors, despite that being his one and only book. How can another live up to my expectations? Despite my fear I still wanted to read Armada, and boy was I glad I did! Like RPO, Armada is chock-full of pop culture references, but this time it centers around a gamer named Zachary Lightman, who wakes up one day to discover that Earth is being invaded by aliens. Aliens that happen to fly ships that look eerily similar to Zack’s favorite video game. Now Zack’s obsessive video game playing is about to pay off in a big way, because the world needs him and his friends to save the day.

Zack is a very likeable character. Sure, he has some serious anger issues that remind you of the Hulk, but he’s a great friend who doesn’t tolerate bullies and loves his family. Armada has many references to early video games, and as someone who first played on an Atari 2600, and then a Nintendo NES, reading this book was like a stroll down memory lane. From the games, movies, and music that Zack constantly talks about throughout the book, I got to relive my childhood. Aside from Zack and all the other great characters in the story, I also loved the plot. For those of us obsessed with various forms of media, who wouldn’t want to take a walk through one of their favorite games, books, or films? I know I have thought about it once or twice myself.

Do I Recommend?

Most definitely! Armada was hard to put down from beginning to end. Like Ready Player One, Armada allowed me to wax nostalgic about the 1980’s, and made me want to queue up my Xbox One so I can get back to my Call of Duty Advanced Warfare campaign. But I didn’t, because this book was just too addictive! I think all fans of science fiction, gaming, or even action adventure would get a kick out of reading Armada, and the next time Ernest Cline comes out with a book I won’t be afraid of it living up to my expectations, because I’ll be too busy reading it.

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.8

About Ernest Cline

ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games.


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