Book Review: Armada

Since I am downright obsessed with Ready Player One, I literally could not even handle it when I found out that Ernest Cline was bringing another book into the world that would allow me to be a 12-year-old, video-gaming, boy again. I went into Armada with sky-high expectations (probably that wasn’t fair), so I’m not terribly surprised it didn’t quite meet them.

Book Review: ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown Publishing on July 14th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 11 hours and 58 minutes
Format: Audiobook
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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?

To put it simply, Armada is a story detailing every young gamer’s wildest dream: the fate of the world rests on his video game prowess. The world is going to end unless he puts on his flight control simulator and blasts the crap out of spaceships.

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1) video-games, 2) conspiracy, and 3) space

The story is a fast-paced, space opera about a high-schooler named Zack Lightman. Between hormonal irrationality, gun-wielding robots, 80’s nerd-culture, and flying drones, a story is weaved together so vividly that you find yourself wishing you could be as dorky as the characters you were reading about.

I loved every geeky detail of this book (and the most video-gamey I ever got in my youth was playing 12-hours of The Sims on the daily during summer breaks), and I loved that even though I’m a 20-something, female veterinarian, I wished someone would know me by my callsign because my video-game stats were that baller. My point is: no matter how un-geeky you think you are, this book will find a way to tap into the nerdiest-nerd-core you have within you.

All that being said, the plot line itself just wasn’t as mind-blowing as Ready Player One. The details were fantastic, but when you whittled those away, the story read as a more conventional sci-fi novel. It had a few good twists, but it just can’t compare to the originality of Ready Player One.

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Would I recommend this book to friends? Heck yes(!) if they liked Cline’s other book, but probably not if they weren’t that into sci-fi/video games.
Would I recommend this to every young gamer boy and girl in the world? Yes! In fact, why are you even still reading this review? You should be out buying the book right now!

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And just so y’all know, I happily received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review!

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