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.
Let me start off by saying a few things on my behalf. I don't read science fiction, so if I compare a character to someone from another book, I'm sorry. I'm also sorry to say that I liked it more than Ready Player One. I Know how many people love it. Okay on to the review.
Before we go on to what's inside the book, let's talk about the outside beauty real quick. The cover is so beautiful, along with the naked hardback. Also what was inside the dust jacket...made me want to hang it up on my wall.
Okay now back to the review. Armada is about seventeen year old Zack Lightman discovering that his favorite game, Armada, is real, along with the creatures and war in it. One day at school Zack was in his Intergrated Math II class, staring out the window when he spotted a Glaive Fighter from Armada in the sky. As quickly as it appeared it disappeared. Zack thought he was hallucinating after playing Armada a lot or he was becoming crazy just like his deceased father, Xavier. Turning his attention back to the classroom, he knew that he was the only one that saw it since everyone was so calm while he was silently freaking out on the inside. He then notices that his enemy, Douglas Knotcher, is aiming spitballs at some shy kid name Casey Cox. Zack gets fed up, so he goes over there, pick up the pile of spit balls and placed it on top of his, Knotcher, heads. Can you say disgusting? I don't think he even washed his hands when he got home, but I digress. Before doing that, Zack keeps mentioning 'The incident' that happened in junior high <spoiler>He beats him unconscious because Knotcher made fun of the fact that Zack's dad died in a stupid way in a factory explosion.</spoiler>
Zack leaves school about thirty minutes early and goes straight home, thinking about the attic and what's in it. What's in the attack Zack's dad old things, including a notebook named Phaeton, that scared him when he was ten. Now Zack is looking for said notebook because he wants to finish it, to see the rest of his father thinking. From the notebook we see how Xavier kept track of the video game industry since it came about I think up until he died in 1999. Xavier talks about a few things <spoiler>How there was two separate incidents where there would be a new game at the arcade and within a day, at night some men in black would come retrieve it. Xavier also mentions how he thinks that the US Government is secretly training civilians for an unknown war.</spoiler>
After spending much time reading the book Zack realizes he's going to be late for work in a second hand video game store name Starbase Ace. He works there along side with a middle age man name Ray, who's in love with Terra Fima, another game, along with Armada, that was created by Chaos Terrian. Before leaving for home Ray gives Zack new Armada gear. At work Zack keeps thinking about his elite mission with his friends Diehl and Cruz for Armada. After setting up his new gear, an argument between Diehl and Cruz, we soon learn what the elite mission is. They're taking the fight to Sobrukai along with the Icebreaker that could possibly end the war with the Sobrukai. But they only had three minutes to do so and it was a mission that they couldn't repeat. I forgot to mention that Zack is in the top ten in Armada.
The next day before leaving for school, Zack sees that his car has been keyed and figure that it must have been Knotcher. Before getting into the car Zack remembers that Knotcher is seeking revenge, so he brings a tire iron with him. At school, when he leaves his car, Knother and his two goonies that are called The Lennies; Knotcher reminds me of Draco Malofy with Crabbe and Goyle. Anyways before they could jump him Zack pulls out the tire iron from his backpack. The Lennies backed away first, then Knotcher before he tripped. Zack stands over him and was close to beating him with it, when people start pointing at the sky. Then Zack sees an EDA ship landing in the school parking lot. Out comes Ray and two other men, saying that Zack needs to come with them. <spoiler>Ray reminds me of Chiron and Grover from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. In the way that Ray was watching Zack for a long time before he made his self known that he worked for the EDA.</spoiler> Ray escorts Zack to the EDA base in Nebraska, nicknamed the Crystal Palace. Come to find out that the EDA, Earth Defense Alliance, is the real deal and they want Zack to work for them.
<spoiler>The introduction film was mainly about how there's an actual war that is about to happen in 8 hours with the Europans who resides on Jupiter's 4th largest moon, Europa. The US noticed that Europa had a large swastika on it so they went to investigate, in the process they angered the Europans, starting a war.</spoiler>
We learn that the actor that plays Admiral Archibald Vance is the actual person. They were still in the meeting when Glaive Fighters attack the Crystal Palace. Everyone reports to their assigned HUB, but they have to be enlisted before they actually get to fight. Zack doesn't listen to an order from Vance, so he has to report to his office, but doesn't get punished. He and four others go to Moon Base Alpha where they meet RedJive who's the General. <spoiler>Who happens to be Zack's dad!! I know I know. Like what the f. I admit that I got a little tear eyed.</spoiler>
Okay, lets end it here before I get into a ton of spoilers, because I would, trust me. Of course they win the war but in a different way than you thought. Wow. The last three or two chapters had me crying. Just why would Mr. Cline do that to me.
I don't have too much to say about any of the characters, they weren't flat, they just wasn't there like Zack was. The ones with names are different from one another, so that's a good thing. The cast was pretty diverse which I loved. I'm stalling if you can't tell. I have a love/hate relationship with Zack. It's fairly easy to guess why. Those anger issues. Let's be honest here, I would be afraid to be in a relationship with him. I don't think he's fit to be in one if he gets angry all the time, sometimes over the smallest stuff that even he knows is stupid. The fact that he was about to beat Knotcher with a tire iron while he was down, says more about him than it does Knotcher. Besides the anger issues, there was really no point in that love interest, she could have been a friend, at least at first. Then by the end we find out that they started dating. It was practically instalove, even though they never told each other they loved each other, but you get what I mean...hopefully.
Another problem that I had with this book was all the sex that was going on. It's the end of the world, while are they having sex when they should be preparing for the war. Plus one girl that clearly stated that she was 16 did and we don't know the age of the boy that she had sex with. Unless I missed it or something, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't. Also we don't know how old Zack's love interest is, he's 17, but the girl has to be in her early 20's or something. I feel like there was no point of all of it, besides that one, because that was completely understandable.
Now on to the good. The beginning of this book set the pace for the rest of the book for me. It had me invested in it fairly quickly, unlike RPO, which I kept putting down because it was just too slow for me and information dumping. Armada didn't have much of that, which is a good thing for me. The writing was good as usual. Cline has a way of hooking you in and hold you there until you finish the book, completely forgetting to eat and be productive at anything thing else.
I would highly recommend this book. Just make sure that you have food right next to you and you get anything that's important out of the way before you read this.
I received this book from Blogging For Books for an honest review.
About the Author
ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Todaybestseller and appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.