Author: Ernest Cline
Edition: Trade Paperback
Blurb: Zack Lightman has never much cared for reality. He vastly prefers the countless science-fiction movies, books and video games he’s spent his life consuming – and too often he catches himself wishing that some fantastic, impossible, world-altering even could arrive to whisk him off on a grand spacefaring adventure.
So when he sees the flying saucer, he’s sure his years of escapism have finally tipped over to psychosis.
Especially because the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of his favorite video game, a flight simulator called Armada – in which gamers just happen to be protecting Earth from aliens invaders.
As impossible as it seems, what Zach’s seeing is all too real. And it’s just the first in a blur of revelations that will force him to question everything he thought he knew about Earth;s history, it’s future, even his own life – and to play the hero for real, with humanity’s fate in the balance.
Review: First and foremost, I want to say that I love Ernest Cline. I read Ready Player One back in 2012 and absolutely loved it. I read that book really fast, not quite in one sitting, but it was very, very hard to put it down. I still pull it out and just turn to a random page if I want to read something fun and exciting. So you can imagine, I really wanted this book to be great. I wanted to love it as much as Ready Player One
And I didn’t.
Ugh, I hate saying that. I really do. I can’t imagine how hard it was to try and follow up such a successful debut. And this was a good book, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t have that same spark, that same feeling of wonder. I did enjoy the story and the characters. Zack was a good protagonist with a lot of issues and a lot to learn. I really liked the alien world and technology – it was really interesting and fun. Who wouldn’t want to find out that their favorite video game was real and you could play it in real time in real life? This would be a dream come true for a ton of people, so it was cool to see how that would play out. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed.
There were also several good plot twists, some a bit predictable, some that caught me completely by surprise. Of course, no details there so I don’t spoil anyone.
There were elements of other stories that I enjoyed. Definite hints of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. You could also tell that the story was heavily influenced by Contact by Carl Sagan. And lots of other pop culture sci-if staples: Star Wars, The Last Starfighter. Cline loves infusing his stories with all these elements that he enjoys, and the excitement he has for them really comes through on the page.
So while it wasn’t as good as Ready Player One in my opinion, Armada is still a very good book. I recommend it for any sci-if fan who has ever dreamed of getting to be part of the story.
GoodReads Rating: 3 Stars