Armada – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Armada by Ernest Cline Book Cover - black background with a fleet of green triangle spaceships at the top and 6 tiny white triangle ships at the bottom

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Synopsis

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 video games 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

Review

Armada by Ernest Cline is Mr. Cline’s second novel. His first novel, Ready Player One, was quite successful and is being made into a movie. I’ve heard from many colleagues and friends that they didn’t like this one as much as the first book, but I felt differently. I really enjoyed Ready Player One, but I loved this book. I was riveted from the start and had a hard time putting the book down.

I think  part of the reason I liked this one even more is because this one seems more plausible than Ready Player One. Sure, it’s still fiction, but it’s not too far out of the realm of possibility of what could happen in the near future. It’s not likely to happen, but it could and that gave it an extra level of excitement for me.

I felt the characters were very “real” and not too “perfect” or too horrible. The main character, Zack was very believable as a 17/18-year-old. He was brash, somewhat arrogant, reacted without thinking at times, thought his way was better sometimes to the detriment of others, etc. – all things I’d expect from someone of his age.

The settings were realistic and the plot line moved along at a good pace. It wasn’t so fast that you were confused about what was happening, but it certainly wasn’t a slow book! Plus, the ending was a twist that I didn’t really see coming.

I would definitely recommend this to others who enjoyed Ready Player One or just enjoy science fiction in general. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time!

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