Armada by Ernest Cline

January 24, 2018     erinthebooknut     Book review

Armada by Ernest ClineArmada by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown Publishing on July 14th 2015
Pages: 349

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.

5 Nuts

Ok it’s official. Ernest Cline is now one of my favorite authors of all time. I. Love. These. Books. Which is a little bit weird considering that sci fi isn’t usually my favorite. I like it, but I don’t love it. Until now. Video game sci fi is OFFICIALLY AWESOME!

Okay, okay, I’ll calm down. I’ve just marathoned both books via audiobook in less than a week and now I’m desperate for more. (I’m totally up for more recs by the way).

Where READY PLAYER ONE was all about the tech and the puzzles, ARMADA is about history. It’s about relationships with family, with other beings, and with each other. And of course its about video games and aliens. But what makes it stand out is how the main character, Zack, thinks, how he interacts with other characters, and how he navigates the world. That’s actually why I liked READY PLAYER ONE too, Wade has similar qualities. Qualities I also see in myself as a fairly young nerd.

Cline gets humanity on a level that only sci fi writers really seem to understand. The good and the bad. I think that’s why his characters are so real. But other than that he also gets nerd brains and his books appeal so beautifully to that part of us.

Just like READY PLAYER ONE, this audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton. He really is an incredible narrator and has the complete understanding of geekery to know which parts of the text to emphasize. That and his acting skills for voice acting is freaking awesome. I still say his voice is like some kind of anxiety balm for my soul and I wanna know how he does it.

Ernest Cline’s books are seriously my favorites and I immediately bought hard copies of both. If you have any recs for similar books I’m all ears because I WANT MORE! I am now completely obsessed. Count me in for some extra nerdy sci fi awesomeness.

What did you think of this book? Share your thoughts in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,


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