Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

16278318Title: Armada

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, War

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Published: July 14, 2015

Page Amount: 349 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: 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.

Why Read: This is one of those rare instances where I can say I wasn’t even looking for this book. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed. I have read Ready Player One, Cline’s recent hit and I was absolutely obsessed. So when I saw another Cline book in a cute Australian cafe specializing in bagels and books, you can be sure that I nabbed myself a copy before my brain caught up with my wallet.

Review: Where should I begin? Should I talk about the awesome-fantastic video game references scattered on every page? Or maybe I should lay out some phrases about how relatable the book is, despite the age difference between the main character and myself? Honestly, I’m torn. Everything about Armada was in my wheelhouse. The characters were funny, they made hilarious references to weird video games from the 80s that I didn’t really get… But still laughable. I was immediately caught up in the plot: fantasy come to life. It should be the dream of every reader and gamer to see the world of their late nights materialize into real life… The only problem is, there’s no reset. Sorry, you’ve used up all your spawns.

Trying to explain the flow is like trying to explain why movie scenes work so well together. We’re at the high school, then we’re in the UFO and well… The long-distance places only get more outlandish from there. I was surprisingly taken aback by how fun each scene was, whether we were rehashing Zack’s anger problems or watching him kick some serious alien ass. It was like reading fan fiction; I didn’t have to focus on language or pretend to be absurdly high-minded. As a reader, all expectations kind of floated away.

The characters were definitely relatable. I can’t say I know exactly how I would react in such a situation, but something about Zack struck me. He had his problems, like any casual protagonist, but he was no Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter. Give me a second, it’s a compliment. He questions what’s happening. He doesn’t pull a Harry, instead he’s more of a Hermione… With a little more geek.

What really grabbed me, like I mentioned before, was how it was written. I felt like smiling with every page or at least smothering a snort on public transit. So let me lay down the facts for you: aliens, video games, sass and sort of the rebel alliance? Read it, enjoy it and let’s all convince Ernst Cline to write more books.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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