[547]: Armada by Ernest Cline

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Crown Publishing | Hardcover, 368 pp. | July 14th, 2015 | Adult Fiction | Science Fiction | Rating: all the stars in the galaxy! 


I don’t really get all the not-so nice reviews on Goodreads about this book. And frankly, I don’t really care.  All I know is that this book deserves more adoration than the anaemic reception it’s been getting. This was just as brilliant as the author’s debut work, and I’m probably one of the few people who has no qualms to say that I enjoyed this more than RPO.

What it’s about.

Unlike RPO, this book is set in the immediate present. We’re introduced to a boy who, much like Wade Watts, is more comfortable socializing on-line than with people in real life. His unquenchable thirst for any information regarding his deceased father led to his fascination with video games. Particularly, a flight simulator game called Armada, in which he’s ranked 6th world-wide. One day, while he was lost in his thoughts about how much being in school sucks, he sees a flying saucer similar to that of an enemy ship from the game. It turns out that the game is very real; the enemy ship is real, and the game is actually meant for the United States government to train fighters for the coming war against interstellar enemies.

It’s a war that has been brewing for decades. One that almost guarantees the extinction of planet Earth. But who are our enemies, really? What do they want that they refused any peaceful communications between two planets? Whatever their endgame is, earthlings will have to band together to defend their home turf.

Why you should read it

I said this on my RPO review that I’m not the most patient person when it comes to Sci-Fi. I don’t like putting too much strain on the old noggin’. Ernest Cline’s books have certainly tested my limits. The thing about his books is that they read so effortlessly. Regardless of your comprehension level, the book doesn’t read like you have to work hard to imagine what was happening right then and there.

Much of this book’s critics have touched on its similarities to Ender’s Game and The Last Starfighter. Because I know nothing about those two, I was able to appreciate it as a new concept. And though I’m not into the whole space scene, there was enough human element in the story line to make it less Science Fiction-like. You know, sterile and clinical.

There was a big twist that I sort of saw from a mile away, but that didn’t diminish my adoration for this book any. Much like RPO, Cline’s penchant for 80s inspired gaming and culture showed prominence.  And even though I didn’t get most of them (yet again), Cline’s predilection to details more than compensated for my lack of knowledge.

The movie rights has already been sold for this book. And I couldn’t be more thrilled! It’ll be exciting to see this in the big screen! I don’t care what the critics say, Cline gave what the fans have been asking for all these years. Sure it wasn’t a sequel to RPO, but Armada did its best to scratch that annoying itch, at least.

  • Oh I can see the similarities between Ender’s Game and this, but I feel like Ender’s Game was more political, though I have not yet read Armada so I don’t know that for a fact. Anyways. I will have to read this after I read Ready Player One!

  • Hmm… hearing about this one it does sound like Ender’s Game, but then reverse. Thinking it is a game and then it becomes real, where as in Ender’s Game it is a reality and becomes a game? I am someone who LOVED Ender’s Game like crazy and comparisons actually make me more likely to read things than turn me off so I might just try this one as well. Adding it to my TBR. And if you are still experimenting in the world of sci-fi I definitely recommend Enders Game next 😀

  • Yaaay 😀 Stunning review Joy. <3 I'm thrilled that you loved this book oh so much 😀 You make it seem amazing. Ugh. One day it will be for me 🙂 And yay for it becoming a movie sometime soon too ;p Thank you for sharing about it. <3

  • John S.

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I must say it sounds strongly reminiscent of Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game was one of the first books I read when I started to get back into reading and writing, since it’s kind of a modern classic. If you like Armada check out Ender’s game some time, it’s a little more futuristic but the visuals and concepts are pretty easy on the brain while still giving you plenty of weightier things to consider.
    (aka. fatalerrer of No Book Unread)

    • I think I have the book somewhere. After reading this, I have added it my list of things to read.

  • This sounds like a fun read Joy… like a video game come to life. Great review!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  • Ready Player One is one of my all-time favorites and I’m so excited about Armada! I just started it last night but haven’t gotten far yet. I’m liking it so far but I’m hoping I’m going to love it as much as RPO. Something about all the pop-culture references just resonates with me. Your review gives me hope that I’ll love it just as much. 🙂

    • I hope you will love it, Cherie. 🙂 I, too enjoyed, RPO so much.

  • Bec

    I haven’t seen anything but praise for this and Ready Player One! Hopefully one day I can read them and join in with the fangirling 😀

    • yes! You must, Bec. Both books are really fantastic!

  • RO

    I’ve tried to get into sci-fi in book version, but have never been successful, but I absolutely love most when they show up on television or in the movies. This one sounds like a good one to check out on the big screen. Hugs…

    • This one was so readable, Ro. I’m not a Sci-Fi connoisseur by an stretch of imagination, but I really had fun with this one!

  • I’ve also never been a huge fan of science fiction. A fantasy book with the fae or ancient druids? All day long. Aliens? Meh. Not so much.. although this one does sound well thought out. Great review, as always. And I do hope your toothache improves! 🙂

    • You won’t see a single alien in this one, thankfully. Because I sure am not a fan of those either. 🙂

  • Jazmen

    I seen this book but never thought about reading it. I think now, I should!

  • Patrick C.

    Reading your review Joy makes me so excited to pick up the first book and this one! So much great things about it, I have waited so long for it. Amazing review 🙂

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

    • Both books are not related, per se. But it’ll be fantastic to read both. It’ll give you a feel for the author’s style and such. 🙂

  • Fantastic review! While sci-fi isn’t one of my ‘main’ genres, I like to dip my toes into it from time to time – will certainly keep this title in mind.

    • I think you’ll have no struggle with this one, Hannah. 🙂

  • Wow just seeing your rating let’s me know I need to read this one! And the movie right’s already been sold? I’m sold too 😉

    • This was a great book. I hope you’ll read it some day, Eileen. 🙂

  • Does sound like a good one to be on big screen

    • Absolutely! George Lucas or Spielberg kind of production. 🙂

  • Tammy Sparks

    I agree, I think the people that don’t like this book just don’t get the fact that Cline is being IRONIC. He is deliberately spoofing Enders Game and The Last Starfighter! The whole story is tongue in cheek and that’s what makes it so clever/funny. Plus he’s just a great story teller:-)

    • He is a great storyteller, but that’s an interesting take. Those who’ve read those books would probably a) scoff at the similarities, or b) appreciate the ‘spoofing’. Thanks, for stopping by, Tammy!

  • OK! You’ve convinced me that I need this book in my life. I love the sound of it and I love how involved you were in the book, Joy. Sci-fi isn’t always my genre too, but I’m willing to give this a shot.
    Great review!

    • Yes! I’m curious how you’ll fare with this one. Like I said, it’s easy enough to imagine and effortlessly easy to read!

  • kindlemom1

    Like you, I’m not huge on sci fi so I love that this wasn’t hard for you to grasp and get into at all. I have never heard of this book before so I’m so glad you reviewed it today and put it on my radar Joy! Wonderful review!

    • Exactly, Ali! I think it’s something non-readers of the genre could like as well. I hope you’ll give it a whirl in the future!

  • I’m so useless when it comes to scifi… all the technology confuses the heck out of me. But just like RPO this sounds like another good book for the husband to read. Great review as always Joy! 🙂

    • So am I, Catherine. Fortunately, and Ernest Cline might not appreciate this, this one is what I could call, Sci-Fi for the masses. Try it!

  • I do want to try more sci-.fi so…

  • Melliane

    I confess that I’m not the best when it’s about sci-fi, it’s not really a genre for me but you’re making me intrigued with this one now. It looks quite good! thanks for the discovery, it’s the first time I hear about it.

    • Oh Melliane, I think it’s the kind of Sci-Fi that will please those that are noobs in the genre. I’m wholly impressed by what Cline did here. I think you’ll enjoy his books!