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