When you read a book by an author that was just so awesome and you pick up another book you want it to be just as awesome. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. For me, Armada wasn’t as great as Ready Player One. It could be because whilst I am a bit of a gamer, this was entirely involved with gaming. Or it could have been the delivery… I don’t know. I’ll explore it a bit more below the synopsis.
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.
It took me a little while to get into the flow of the story for Armada. It should have been something that I would have been into straight away, however, I found that it was really hard to concentrate and get into those few chapters.
Obviously I did get into the book as I managed to finish it. Once the action picked up I found it harder to put the book down. I did find following the action as described inside the “cockpit” of the gaming pod a little hard to follow sometimes, but nonetheless found this bit the most interesting.
I think certain parts of the plot were pretty obvious from the beginning. For example, Zacks’ daddy issues and how they revealed themselves throughout the book. And the secret conspiracy behind the Earth Defence League. [I didn’t really know until reading this book that American English spells defence with an “s” where the “c” is in the British version]. There was also the convenience of the plot line. Things were quite predictable, and this was something that was mentioned in the passing of the narrative as well, Zack knows that something isn’t right throughout the whole book as things are way too easy – despite the losses during the invasion – and then the setting up of a near perfect society and why it just doesn’t seem right. It certainly sets up this novel for a second incarnation.
A lot of reviews that I have read draw comparisons to Enders Game, Star Wars, Star Trek etc., which are more than fair comparisons to make, but they are also included in the books in the first instance. I think Ernest Cline puts these things into his books to appeal to those who would get excited at the references to them – I certainly know that I do. The occasional reference to some sort of science fiction that can then relate to the story does amuse me!
Have you read Armada? What did you think?