Published by Crown Publishing on July 14, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Blogging For Books
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.
ARMADA is one of those books that’s just fun to read. I think most gamers and sci-fi fans have dreamed of the day their esoteric knowledge will save the world. Zach Lightman actually gets that opportunity, when his top 10 standing in the Armada video game makes him eligible to join the Earth Defense Alliance and save the planet from aliens bent on Earth’s destruction. From start to finish, ARMADA is a fun, geeky ride through space.
The beginning of ARMADA is a little rough, especially if you’re not up on all the cultural references. The author overloads the first part of the book with those references, and while it’s fun, it’s also something that could lose readers that aren’t familiar with every single movie or game mentioned. The author doesn’t give a lot of context for his references, so when he uses them as a description for something else, it gets confusing. However, the plethora of cultural references does even out after a while, and if you’re a super nerd, you’ll probably enjoy all of them.
Zach is also a bit bland, but I didn’t mind that in ARMADA. Because he didn’t have a lot of personality, I was able to imagine myself in the action. I won’t spoil the story itself, but I did really like the idea of using a video game as secret government training, as well as the gaming technology the author adapted for war against the aliens.
Even though I have some complaints about ARMADA, mostly I enjoyed the book. It was the perfect read for me at the time — I recommend it for when you want something fun and geeky.
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