Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline


Armada by Ernest Cline

Review by Lauren

source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: 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?


Review: Wow, that's a really long official summary, but I think it gives you all you need to know to go into this book. First off, I'd like to say that Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One has been on my wish list for years now, and I still haven't read it yet, so I was really excited to get a review copy of Armada. These are two different books, so don't worry about when you read them. I just wanted to say that I'm even more ready (pun intended) to read Ready Player One.

As for Armada, this is the story of Zack Lightman. His dad died in a tragic accident when he was barely one and he's been raised by his mom ever since. Both of them love video games, and as for Zack, he's one of the top ten players in the game Armada which is about an alien race coming to Earth to wipe out humanity. Players like Zack have to use spaceships to help keep this force back. When Zack first sees a real life version of this ship outside his school classroom, he thinks he's losing his mind. He's not.

Zack is recruited for the real life Earth Defense Alliance, along with other players from around the world. They vary in country, age, race - but they are all the Earth has left to fight these real life aliens who are coming for them. They don't have long to get adjusted to the news, but the video games have been training them on how to fight for years. It's an interesting premise and I really enjoyed the overall story. I don't play video games, but I know a lot of people that do, so talk of that made sense. Regardless, I don't think it's necessary to know real-life games to enjoy the book.

Anyway, I believe I've mentioned this before, but I have an irrational fear of space, so when it comes to books that take place there, it's difficult for me to read. I was determined to enjoy this one, though, so I tried not to think about the setting too much (Zack does go to space for a portion of the story) and it worked for me.

Zack is a regular teenager and it was great to see the situation from his point of view. He has realistic reactions to sudden news, but it's never too much. I also really liked the secondary characters, especially the group of people that go to space with Zack. They are also in the top ten players for the game Armada and I feel like Cline gave us enough information about them so you care when things start to go wrong.

I really enjoyed this one, and I hope a lot of you will too! Now off to find Ready Player One...

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Discuss Cara Delevinge (Paper Towns) over at Let's Get Beyond Tolerance today as well! Be sure to check out previous posts. :)

15 comments:

Melliane said...

Hmm not sure it's for me I confess, I'm so difficult with the genre...

Kindlemom said...

This sounds super interesting and reminds me of that movie in the 80's, dang it, I can't remember what it was called but it was along the same lines about a boy who played a video game that was placed at a hotel I want to say to recruit people for battling aliens. Anyways, it was a fun movie and this sounds just like it!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I really loved Ready Player One, and as one of the early readers, I feel that I've been waiting for his sophomore novel for ages. Because it really has been ages. I hope it will be just as exciting, if not more.

Krysten Quiles said...

Not quite sure about this one....


Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird

Karen Alderman said...

I need to read Ready, Player One too! Everyone LOVES it :-))


Irrational fear of space lol

Karen @For What It's Worth

Brandi Kosiner said...

Didn't know you were scared of space. Good to hear that you enjoyed despite...

Books And Authors Spot said...

Zack seems like an awesome character! And a story set in space... have never read a book like this ever before!
Haniya
booknauthors.blogspot.com

Lindy Gomez said...

Armada sounds like a fun book. I like the whole talented gamers getting recruited to save the earth theme. My nephews are huge gamers and love sic-fi. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I'm looking forward to telling them about it :) Great Review Lauren!

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

Claudia Arroyo said...

I am actually due to receive this one in the mail any day now. I too have not read Ready Player One as well, I picked it up early in the summer but put it down for reasons I cannot remember. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did :)

Joyous Reads said...

I hope you'll find the time to read Ready Player One. It truly is an outstanding book. So far, Cline had me wanting to read more books about space and gaming alike. It goes to show you how much of a convincing writer he is!

Alise said...

I love a good cast of characters, especially secondary characters when they are fleshed out and you begin to care about them. I haven't read Ready Player One yet either but this one sounds good.

Diva Booknerd said...

That sounds rare, usually people are more afraid of confined spaces. I always knew you were one of a kind Lauren :)

I'm am DYING to read this book. Ohhh, you have no idea. I absolutely LOVE Ready Player One and this sounds absolutely magnificent! Been trying to get my hannds on an ARC or even eARC, but no luck so far. So glad you enjoyed this one Lauren and can't wait to see what you think of Ready Player One, one of the most incredible YA books you'll ever read! <3

Aylee said...

Oh, I had been under the impression that you had to read Ready Player One first! Well, that's good to know that that isn't a requirement (though I still obviously really want to read Ready Player One too). Heh, unlike you I love all things space, so this sounds so intriguing and intense to me!

By the way, I've noticed recently that I no longer receive email notifications when you comment on my blog, like I do with every other comment that gets made on something I post. Do you have any idea why that might be? I have no clue why it's not doing that anymore.

Lisa @ Lost in Literature said...

I have a fear of reading books like this in general, but I've really been trying to branch out from my comfort zone lately. I've been seeing a lot of good reviews for this one, so I just may need to give it a try. Great review! :)

Liliana E. said...

Man, I don't know what it is about long summaries but they just make me not want to read them, lol. I totally skipped it and went straight to your review! haha. This actually sounds really interesting! I'm not one to read too much in this genre, but the one series I did read like this (alien invasion and whatnot) I actually really loved! This one has me intrigued, especially with the whole video game thing going on! I don't really play all that much actually... Super Mario Bros. every now and then, lol. Anyway, I think I might have to add this one to my to-read list!

Great review!