Armada by Ernest Cline | Review

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Armada by Ernest Cline | ReviewArmada by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown on July 14, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

(Last Updated On: June 10, 2022)
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A few years ago, I read this amazing book entitled Ready Player One; it instantly became a favorite of mine. Years later, I still recommend it to people when they ask what book they should read or grab from the library or bookstore. It was just that memorable and that amazing. The second I found out that Armada by Ernest Cline was going to be released, I just knew that I had to get a copy immediately.

Summary of Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline follows a teenager named Zack, who’s pretty much just like every other teenager. He goes to school and loves gaming. His particular favorite is Armada, in which he battles evil aliens with aircraft.

Zack is actually incredibly good at it; he’s placed sixth on the leader board worldwide. Zack also works at a local video game store with a guy named Ray, who he has become pretty good friends with.

Zack only lives with his mother because his father died in an explosion at the age of nineteen, just mere months after Zack was born. Therefore he has never known what it is like to have a father.

However, his mother kept everything that his father ever owned, so Zack spends a lot of time going through it all in the attic. He even found a super cool jacket covered in gaming patches, which he enjoys wearing, along with his father’s playlist of music that he used to listen to, so Zack decides to listen to it all the time when he games.

The best thing he found was tons of journals that hold his father’s suspicions. Xavier Lightman, Zack’s father, believed that the idea of aliens was expertly played out to humans through multimedia for a reason and that gaming was used as a way to recruit people to help fight the real-live aliens.

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Turns out that he was right because one day, while at school, Zack is recruited to join the EDA and help fight the aliens because they’re going to be attacking the world in a day. Will the world be safe?

My Thoughts

OKAY, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START WITH THIS REVIEW. First of all, Ernest Cline is hands-down one of my favorite authors. Anything he writes, I will automatically buy because he’s just that awesome.

He always throws in references to geeky things, and as a geek myself, I love it so much. He references old video games and Star Wars and different bands, and it just makes me so incredibly happy inside. He did the same in Ready Player One. I just love his writing style and way of explaining things as well.

I also loved this story. I absolutely adored Zack and his story and how he was this amazing video gamer. I thought it was so awesome when he was recruited by the EDA. He was so surprised but went along with it anyway!

I also loved how the characters were really complex. Also, there were so many twists and turns. I didn’t find it to be predictable at all, which was a huge plus!

The whole idea behind this story was absolutely mind-blowing because it could absolutely be true. I mean, so many teenagers and adults play video games around the world (including me), so what if we are being tracked on our progress in the game in case of an invasion or even for the military?

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I just think it’s a cool idea. I haven’t read a science fiction story in the longest time, but I think I’m going to have to go binge-read some sci-fi novels now. If you’ve not read anything by Ernest Cline yet, definitely check out Armada. You won’t regret it, I promise you!

Favorite Quotes

“That’s how you know you’ve mastered a videogame-when a bunch of butt-hurt crybabies start to accuse you of cheating in an effort to cope with the beatdown they’ve just suffered at your hands.”

“I had been hoping and waiting for some mind-blowingly fantastic, world-altering event to finally shatter the endless monotony of my public education.”

“The only thing crazier than hallucinating a fiction videogame spaceship would be to blame it on a frosted breakfast pastry.”

Books like Armada by Ernest Cline:

  • Vox by Christina Dalcher
  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

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  1. Hmmm, Star Wars references?? This sounds like the kind of science fiction I'd like! Thank you for your review, I really need to give this one and Ready Player One a try, I think!

  2. OH my this sounds incredibly fun and random yet intriguing. Like being recruited to fight aliens because you're incredibly good at video games? Hahah this reminds me of that Pixels movie trailer….but this is obviously 1000x better.

    On that note I still need to read Ready Player One.

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