[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.

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[546]: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Crown | Hardback, 374 pp. | January 1st, 2011 | Adult Fiction | Science Fiction | Rating 5 out of 5 Stars


It’s funny. This book sat in my shelves for at least a year before I got the motivation to read it. The first thing I did after I woke up from my reading stupor was look at the copyright page . It says the book was first published in 2011, but I was under the impression that this was published way before that. I kept hearing this book was a literary gem ahead of its time so my first thought was this book was written in the 90s or something. 2011! Where the hell was I? I mean, I was already a member of Goodreads in 2010. And I’m sure this book must’ve gotten enough hype at the time for it to reach my hapless attention. Sadly, I was probably ensconced in a lot of shit-books then. That’s not to say I regret ever reading them. I’m just saying that  sometimes, we have to clear a mountain of rubble before we find the  jackpot, yanno?

The second thing I did was look at the book jacket for the author’s bio. Because I have this thing. I need to put a face to the person who wrote the work I just read. There, I found Mr. Cline, lounging in front of an iconic DeLorean. Back to the Future DeLorean.  I grew up in the 80s, but my knowledge of that era is sadly confined to the music. Some movies, some video games. But most of the references from this book bordered on obscure and only known to kids who were rabid fans of the era.

I never would’ve guessed I’ll be the type of girl who’d enjoy a book about gaming, but there you have it. There’s a first time for everything. This book is filled with references about a decade I’d soon forget. One of the best things about this book was that it was set way into the future (2044). The world is in shambles; poverty, hunger, famine, and disorder abound. In Ohio, we meet our narrator, Wade Watts, aka, Parzival in virtual reality world. Parzival’s only hope of getting himself out of poverty is to find James Halliday’s legacy worth billions. The brilliant inventor of the game died and left a puzzle for all to solve, which consequently set the world in a furor to find his “egg”. Five years after his death, Parzival finds the first key, which made him an instant target for treasure hunters and criminals willing to do anything for Halliday’s billions.

The game itself is a buffet of goodies to those who are avid players of retro arcade and video games. But winning isn’t as easy as scoring the highest scores. Most of the time, a clue and a puzzle needs to be solved. As a result, readers will not have idle moments while in the grips of the book. The problem some may have is it’s a bit heavy on the narrative. In which case, I suggest you download the audio book. I hear it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton. Bonus!

This book is innovative, funny, witty, addictive and so much fun. Unfortunately, it is probably a foretelling of the consequences of our addiction to technology. Ready Player One might just be the one Sci-Fi book that will prod me into reading more novels in this genre. I know I’m ready to go back to Seveneves which I dropped a week after I decided to read it. Sigh.

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On the Night Table [21]: Back to the Grind

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Happy Monday!

I’m hoping this week will be better than the last. Like I mentioned yesterday, I only read one book. Thankfully,  The Witch Hunter was enjoyable enough. I really want jump start my reading mojo again; so this week, I’m tackling a couple of books from Ernest Cline, and one from a well-seasoned author – which I, unfortunately, knew very little of – Owen Sheers.

I’m in the middle of Ready Player One, which is as excellent as everyone said it would be and beyond everything I’d ever expected. I didn’t think I would enjoy this as much as have been. Considering it is a bit of a Sci-Fi.  The setting is an Utopian world that predominantly runs on virtual reality, and we all know my brain doesn’t really work well when I have to imagine something as futuristic. The actual world itself is a wasteland, with the people dependent on  food vouchers. In other words, war, famine, chaos. You know, all the good stuff. 🙂

I probably shared this misconception with a lot of readers, but I was under the impression that Armada is the sequel to Ready Player One. I was wrong. It could be set in the same world, but don’t quote me on that.

I Saw a Man has been on my reading queue for a couple of weeks now. I thought I’d try to tick it off my TBR list this week. It’s a short novel, but I think I’m in for a rough, emotional ride. I’m oddly looking forward to reading this.

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I’m looking for some good New Adult recommendations, guys. Give me something good!

What are you reading this week?
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