Review Tuesday: Armada by Ernest Cline

Oh that’s right! The book published today, I’ve already read it! When I was in San Francisco in June attending ALA (the American Library Assocation) Annual Conference one of the freebies that I was able to grab was an advance copy of Armada by Ernest Cline. (I was actually able to snag 2 copies – one for me, and one my bestie Jay – definitely a perk of the job). I did a massive fan girl dance when I got it, texted Jay letting him know, and then proceeded to tell everyone that I got the book. I didn’t start reading it until I got home from my trip, and man oh man, I was not disappointed. Armada

From Goodreads:

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.

Now before we go any further if you haven’t read Ready Player One do that first. It’s the first book by Ernest Cline (it has zero bearing on this new book) and it’s one of my ultimate favourites.

Armada was an awesome read. I flew it through it, and I was entirely entertained the whole way through. The book was action packed and moved quickly from one situation to the next. You discover things as you go along, and I will admit that while there were some things that I guessed might happen that did end up happening, the end took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It also does leave room for a sequel, or a couple of sequels if we’re being honest. And I’m totally okay with that because I enjoyed Zach and this world that Ernest Cline built.

The main drawback (if you can consider it a drawback) is that the gimmick that makes Ready Player One so interesting (all of the 80s trivia and references etc) is the same gimmick that he uses in Armada only with sci-fi. In that regard the books are very similar. So as my friend Jay was telling me when we were talking about Armada – perhaps don’t read Ready Player One and Armada one right after the other.

This is a fabulous read overall though. It has some awesome situations, some kick ass scenes, and is overall a book that I will definitely be reading again.


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