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.


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.
Reviewed: 2017-12-07
Initial Impressions: 4.5 stars, I think!
That was so much fun (and I'm also sad I finished this book THE DAY Ernest Cline is in town and I couldn't go)! I just love his writing and the book was fun from cover to cover. (Why does the swearing really just step the book up a notch? I think it's the male POV + just sounded genuine. Plus Wil Wheaton narrating is always excellent.)
The reason for 4.5 stars (maybe somewhere between 4.25 and 4.5) is that I felt like READY PLAYER ONE was really much more engaging and clever whereas ARMADA felt much more action-based. I guess RPO did have plenty of its own action, but it just had quite a different feel, possibly because the action was taking place in a virtual reality game instead of actually happening! I really enjoyed all of ARMADA and thankfully, even though we were dealing with aliens here, it wasn't something that bothered me. Sometimes I get picky about my sci-fi and I really don't like alien stories but there are always a few exceptions and ARMADA is one!
I loved the relationships in this book too. From friendships to mother-son to romance (very little but done very well), Ernest Cline masters it all.
I'm such a fan of his books and will always be excited for more!

Full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 8/5/15: I’m going to be very honest for a second… I didn’t really know what ARMADA was about until I started reading it! I absolutely loved Ernest Cline’s previous book, READY PLAYER ONE, and hearing that Wil Wheaton was narrating another one of his audiobooks, I immediately pre-ordered the audio. By the time the book came out months later, I had almost entirely forgotten what the book was about but since I do like to go into books blind, it wasn’t an issue with an author I trusted!

ARMADA was exactly what I expected and quite different all at the same time. I love that it’s still a video game tie-in/base (like in READY PLAYER ONE) but it’s used quite differently in this case! It really brought the same sort of feel — along with overall tone and character personalities — that READY PLAYER ONE had but didn’t feel like a repeat of the same story at all. I actually didn’t realize that the book revolved around an alien conflict (or totally forgot since I had read the synopsis so long ago) and I actually think that was a good thing! I’m very hesitant about alien stories and tend to steer clear so I’m actually glad that I didn’t really realize that was the main plot of the book before I started!

ARMADA was really excellently written. Considering video games and aliens aren’t really my “thing” at all, I was totally hooked and interested the whole time and Ernest Cline did a great job of really making me feel like all of this could actually happen! The balance of action, plot, and character development was so consistent and dynamic and I just found myself falling further an further into the book. I’m still a newbie to sci-fi sometimes (sometimes I have issues with really technical concepts or specific references) but the book does a great job of connecting with all audiences and on many different levels.

This is definitely a more plot and action-based book but I really appreciated the attention to characters and character relationships. I really enjoyed getting to know Zack and I especially loved his relationship with his mom. She was one of my favorite characters and I really appreciated how she was portrayed! Zack also had some really great friendships and I loved that they didn’t suffer from friendship drama just to add another conflict in the story. The plot had enough going on by itself and I loved that his friends were there for him no matter what.

Whether you’re a sci-fi fan or afraid of alien books like me, I think ARMADA is enjoyable for so many audiences! If we’re comparing, READY PLAYER ONE is still my favorite of his, but ARMADA was so incredibly enjoyable as well. I think I personally connected more with the concept of READY PLAYER ONE so that gives it the extra push!


I immediately pre-ordered this audio knowing Wil Wheaton narrated! He did an excellent job with READY PLAYER ONE and I loved listening to him narrate ARMADA as well! The voicing of Zack and his friends were excellent and Wil Wheaton just really embodies characters so well. He really just goes all out on the narration and I love how authentic it makes the books feel. They really just come alive!
Item Posts
@bferrant completed #armada... on 2019-05-13
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