Armada

Ernest Cline
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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-05-27
I have a ton of really mixed feelings about this book.

1. It was amazing! It was engaging in just the same way you'd expect after reading Ready Player One.

2. The proportion of action-scene-description to everything else didn't work for me. I really don't like action scenes though, even in books I otherwise love, so that's obviously a personal preference.

3. I loved it!

4. There's something... off, maybe, about the tempo of the book. I was just getting into it when it ended. I don't know that it needed to be longer, per se; it's fine for it to just be a pretty short story, but I felt like it was setting itself up to be an epic novel and then it just sort of ended, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland style (i.e. "And it was all a dream. The end.") (<-- not a spoiler for Armada). Now that I reflect on it, maybe it has to do with the preponderence of action scenes; it kind of numbs you out so that when you get to the final action scene, it feels like just another part of the book.

5. No, really, it's a wonderful book.
Reviewed: 2020-02-02
I wanted to love this book, and at times I nearly did. But it just didn't hold the same magic for me as Ready Player One.

Armada reads like a first novel- a fledgling attempt at writing where the plot is sound but the writer is too heavy-handed to let it run where it ought. Cline weaves a tale of scifi lore that could have been brilliant if he'd just found a better editor. Errors in the science (ex: a dodecahedron has 12 sides, Shin. Stop calling it a 10-sider) and the occasional paragraph of stilted prose kept me from locking into the story and enjoying the ride. For that, it's a merely satisfactory read. A revised version with more streamlined action could make this novel great, and the 5-star-worthy story that it should have been.
Item Posts
@bferrant
@bferrant completed #armada... on 2019-05-13
@rdennett14
@rdennett14 completed #armada... on 2018-08-24
@rdennett14
@rdennett14 began #armada... on 2018-08-14
@jenwesner
@jenwesner completed #armada... on 2015-08-11
@jenwesner
@jenwesner began #armada... on 2015-08-02
@morteana
@morteana completed #armada... on 2015-11-25
@morteana
@morteana began #armada... on 2015-11-10
@jelaplan
@jelaplan completed #armada... on 2015-10-21
@jelaplan
@jelaplan began #armada... on 2015-10-19