16278318Author: Ernest Cline
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Pop Culture
Review Spoilers:  Low
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Armada is Ernest Cline’s sophomore novel and I have to tell you all that I’ve really been looking forward to it. Ready Player One is probably one of my favorite books of all time at this point. It’s fun, fast paced, and full of all the pop culture references I could ever want. It’s nerdy and self-congratulatory to the extreme, sure, but I enjoy it. I got a warm feeling every time another 80s pop culture Easter egg popped up. Armada promised to be more of the same.

In that regard, it doesn’t disappoint at all.

Taking it’s cue from The Last Starfigher, Armada imagines a world where video games have been used as a means to train and prepare people to defend the planet from an imminent alien invasion. Zack Lightman is an unassuming young man living in the Pacific Northwest. Like so many high school seniors he’s aimless. He spends most of his time playing video games with his friend, working at a retro game store, and immersing himself in the science fiction series his father left behind when he died.

And then suddenly he’s given the chance to really be a hero.

One day he sees an alien spaceship pulled straight from his favorite game hovering above his town. The next thing he knows he’s being recruited into a top secret international organization – the Earth Defense Alliance. Their sole mission: save the world.

The premise is familiar but that’s the point.

Armada isn’t here to reinvent science fiction but to celebrate it. Pretty much every single tried-and-true trope is present but it comes together in a way that recognizes everything great about the genre. Unlike Ready Player One, where the constant pop culture references were like a super nerdy garnish on the main story, in Armada they really take on a much more crucial role.

From Star Wars to Ender’s Game to Wing Commander and more, Cline recognizes the impact these series has had on the nerd subculture and gives them an even greater purpose.They become a part of the world building. You’re expected to know, understand, and love these series – and if you don’t it really will affect your enjoyment of the book. It’s a very niche book – to both its benefit and its detriment.

But for those who can enjoy it Armada is really a great read.

It’s fun. It’s fast paced. It throws in some twists that might seem a bit predictable in retrospect but at the time just draw you even further into the story. The character development is a little lacking but I can forgive that considering the pace of the book itself. Everything happens over a very short period of time. And, honestly, I feel like the book really is meant to be more action packed than reflective (regardless of the eventual outcome).

I really enjoyed Armada. I understand from a lot of the reviews online that people have their complaints when it comes to this book and I’m not going to lie to you all and say that it’s the best book ever. If you’re expecting Ready Player One all over again you won’t get it. Armada is a great book in it’s own right. I read it in one sitting. But it’s important to understand that I was always going to love this book. You might not. That’s okay.

Armada is the kind of book I would recommend to only my nerdiest of friends.

If you fit that bill, hopefully you’ll love it too.


A review copy of this book was provided by Crown Publishing via Blogging For Books. Nerdophiles was not compensated in any way for the review and the opinions here are ours and ours alone.

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