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.
I can’t quite decide if this book is mocking all those aliens invade type science-fiction movies or if it took them and tried to make this new weird thing. Basically Ernest Cline is either a genius or a maniac and I can’t quite decide which one it is. So heres the thing, I enjoyed this book but I also had some massive problems with it. Problems which I don’t want to talk about because I will give away many many spoilers. But despite that I did actually really like this.
Its an Ernest Cline book so you go into it knowing that there are going to be references to Star Trek and Star Wars and a bunch of other things. But I like that it also has these really subtle pop culture references. I like that he mentions the Kobayashi Maru without any other references to Star Trek, I like that he gave a little explanation of what it is for people who haven’t watched Star Trek while people who have watched Star Trek will fully understand what he is talking about. I like all the references to internet memes, even Leeroy Jenkins. I am a nerd and I like that there is a book with all of these things, where it acknowledges and celebrates the nerds of the world.
However I did feel that all the pop culture references got a little over the top in some parts, especially when Cline was trying to make certain points of the book very serious and it just didn’t work because of the references to Galaxy Quest.
I love that the main character actually feels like a real kid. He would rather play video games than go to school, he doesn’t want to think about the future, he has no idea what he wants to do after he graduates and when he finds out that aliens are real he reacts in a realistic way. And by that I mean he shouts and screams and has a panic attack.
But it did kind of feel that Ernest Cline had copied Ready Player One. In both books we have a main character who becomes obsessed with this one person, they learn everything they can about them and go as far as to watch the movies and read the books and play the games they liked. In both we also have these huge computer games that basically everyone all over the world play. It felt like Ernest Cline had found this winning plot in Ready Player One and instead of creating something new for Armada just rehashed that same plot again with a few changes
I will admit that Armada has some problems however its very good for what it is, which is basically an adventure book for nerds, if you want to read something without thinking too much about the plot this is great. It’s really not meant to be taken very seriously. Basically if you are a nerd, or enjoy science-fiction and gaming, you will probably enjoy this.
*I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.