book reviews · young adult

Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Source: Given by sister
Edition: Paperback
Publication: Crown Publishing
Pages: 349 pages
Category: Science Fiction, Adventure, Aliens


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.


This was the second novel I read by Ernest Cline. Ready player one was the first novel I read by him. Both books were sci-fi and young adult in genre. I enjoyed ready player one more than this book. In my opinion, this novel lacked adventure and had me have more questions than answers in the ending which resulted to my 3 hearts rating. The reading experience was fun in a geeky way. It made me wonder if computer players could be real soldiers in the future. I believe its possible if Gundams or mechanised war robots were made in the future.

I appreciate that this novel uses the combination of music, science fiction stories, video / computer games and aliens to make a unique story. Pop culture references were used a lot and I find that really cool. Zack Lightman (main character) uses a collection of rock songs (Raid the Arcade Mix) left by his deceased dad when playing the online flight simulator (ARMADA). As I was reading through the novel my heart broke. I believe that the author needed to do that “sort of plot twist” because the ending won’t be its ending if it did not happen. I am definitely not contented with the ending, it had loose ends which needed answers. If there would be a sequel (please!) I would really read it just to satisfy my need for answers.


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