Armada by Ernest Cline

August 23, 2015
Armada by Ernest Cline, InToriLex, Book Review


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


This book started off pretty slow, and included a lot of  classic video game references. I actually considered not finishing, but my love for Ready Player One, had me stick it out. The premise is similar to Ender's Game, but it's referenced in the book itself acknowledging this. What turned me off when getting through the first few chapters were some references that seemed unnecessary. For Example
"We'd nicknamed the place 'Thai Fighter,' because the capital H on their sign had a circular bulge at its center that made the letter resemble an imperial fighter with Twin Ion Engines."

However the action and adventure allowed me to ignore those kinds of references and actually enjoy the story. The characters are all like-able, and include a diverse cast of ethnicity's which should be celebrated. Most of the book takes place in a day, but there is more then enough backstory and emotional pull, to keep you fully engaged.

Zack is a great protagonist who deals with most things as he should, like a scared teenager. He has to grapple with aliens threatening the future of humanity while playing a major role in the fight against them. He takes most things in stride, and accepts the surprising revelations the best he can.

I don't enjoy video games myself but the enthusiastic way their described here is infectious. The action ad future technology included was awesome. I am in no way a sci-fi enthusiast but the movies and shows mentioned in the novel gave enough context where I didn't feel entirely lost. Mr. Cline like in his first book was intent on sharing references to classic video game knowledge, but here it didn't mesh well with the overall story. The hardcover included some great cover art on the inside of the jacket and front of the book, pictured below.

Armada by Ernest Cline, InToriLex, Book Review
The ending caught me a bit off guard, and I wasn't able to guess it, so that was definitely a pleasant surprise. A word of warning for those hoping this will be as great as Ready Player One, because it just wasn't. This is a solid read for sci-fi Young Adult book lovers, but nothing spectacular jumps out despite lots of great action and plot twists.

I received this book from BloggingforBooks in exchange for a honest review.

More Info on Armada
Authors Bio


Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

Great review. I loved Ready Player One, and I’m looking forward to reading Armada.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

InToriLex said...

Thanks for commenting and stopping by!!

Kindlemom said...

This is new to me so thanks for putting it on my radar! Love that the ending caught you off guard and you weren't able to guess all that was going on.

Unknown said...

Hi Tori! Just to let you know, I've tagged you in the Human Bodypart Book Tag!

Find it here---> TheDonkeyInvasion - A Bookish Blog!

Ameraka said...

I do like sci-fi action! I've written a few myself.

InToriLex said...

thanks for tagging me, unfortunately I'm just seeing this!!

InToriLex said...

Awesome, glad you enjoyed the review!!

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