Armada By: Ernest Cline
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?
This book was ridiculous, right now I’m not sure if it was a good or bad ridiculous, though.
Even though the book started with Zack seeing an alien ship it seemed to take forever for anything to actually happen. There was a lot of explaining about the fact that his dad was dead and how that had impacted his entire life and Cline walked you through Zack’s levels of obsession over his father.
A lot of very farfetched things happened in the book, which is fine, sometimes that’s fun, but I think some things went too far overboard. The aliens in this book acted like video game aliens, which Zack realized but no one else seemed to pick up on. Well a couple other people but they hadn’t done anything about it which considering the whole world was in the balance seemed very irresponsible and stupid.
The ending was filled with needless death and while I was crying at the loss I was also pissed off. A lot of people made some very stupid decisions considering they had literally decades to think up solutions. Are we really that stupid as a species?
I think the icing on the cake of over the top ridiculous was when Zack’s mom gets pregnant after one bout of sex with her long dead husband. Seriously? That was unnecessary and more than a bit stupid.
The way the book ended it could very well lead to more books and the creation of a series but that’s exactly how Ready Player One ended and so far we’ve got nothing. The last thing I read was that Cline wanted to write something similar to Catcher in the Rye, but that could have been a joke. God I hope it was. Other places are saying he’s working on a sequel to RP1 so we’ll see what happens. He’s not a particularly fast writer so we have some time.
Anyway, I knew going in that this book wasn’t going to resonate with me like Ready Player One did, the plot just didn’t do it for me, but I loved RP1 so much that I wanted to like this one. All in all I felt like it was okay, but not something I have to own or would likely recommend to people. It’s an idea that’s been done before and I honestly don’t think Cline brought enough new to the table.
I look forward to more by Cline, but I’m keeping my excitement in check for now.