Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada  
Author: Ernest Cline
Publication Date: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Source: From BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: 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.
“The only thing crazier than hallucinating a fictional videogame spaceship would be to blame it on a frosted breakfast pastry.”
Everyone talks always about Ready Player One and how amazing it is. And they always mention how great the writing is. I've had Ready Player One on my radar for a while, I just have not bought the book to actually read it. Armada from the synopsis sounds just as intriguing as Ready Player One so I was really excited to dive into the story.

I did not hate this book and it did draw me in, but it seemed unoriginal to me. The whole time all I could think was that this had been done already, especially when you compare it to Ender's Game. If I noticed the lack of originality, I cannot imagine what die hard science fiction fans thought. I know I have heard mixed things about this book, but I think a lot of that was comparison to Ready Player One rather than focusing truly on this book and its successes and failures.

I'm not a huge gamer, but I do consider myself fairly informed when it comes to games and that fandom. That being said, I was able to follow a lot of the gamer language and the science fiction references. However, while I got most of them, I felt like a lot of them were purposely shoved into my face without being subtle. This was a huge let down when it came to this book. 

One other aspect that bothered me with this book was the cases of instalove. Everywhere we went two characters were instantly all over each other. To an extent I get that you believe it is the end of the world so you are going to be more inclined to find someone to spend your last days with, but I felt like it went beyond that. If instalove does not bother you then you will probably be fine, but I've now recently read two books with instalove and it just really gets on my nerves. 

*I received a copy of this book through BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

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