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Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Rating: 4.5/5

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
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.

***

Review:

I would debate anyone who claims that the geeks don’t have their own culture… and my main argument would be Ernest Cline’s books. As a moderate gamer myself, I find that picking up his novels feel like coming home. They give me the same comforting buzz that a good video game does. Thank you, Ernest Cline, for forever convincing me that reading and gaming are more similar than most people think.

What I soon realized about this novel is that the writing feels incredibly real. When Zack puts on his headpiece and sits down at his console to play Armada for the first time, it feels like a real game. Ernest Cline put so many details into creating the two main video games (Armada and Terra Firma) that I had to Google them to make sure they weren’t real (and that my boyfriend hadn’t been playing them in front of me for the last year, or something).

Anyways, moving on from that little failure.

I found myself loving the the characters as much as I loved them in Ready Player One — I guess I have a fondness for gamers who kick ass. They are such well-rounded characters and they grow on you so fast. I think that’s probably what I love most about these books.

I’m less into spaceships/aliens types of games, so naturally, it was a bit hard to get into the book. There’s a thorough history of space-related video games at the beginning of the book, and that was hard to get through… which then went into the concepts for Terra Firma and Armada. By the time I was done with those (maybe the first 20% of the book?) I was ready to cut my losses, but… I loved Ready Player One. So I persevered, and boy did I not regret it. I wish I’d paid more attention to the first 20% of the book, though, because I feel like I missed a lot more of the book than I should have, and the dreaded library deadline crept up too fast for me to go take the time to reread the beginning.

So pick up a copy of this book and take your time reading it. Enjoy the details, enjoy the plot, and enjoy the masterpiece and the super cool ending.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

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