Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Published: July 14, 2015
Pages: 355
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Zack Lightman lives for video games. He plays them and excels at them, and his after school job just happens to be in an arcade and game store. And the game he’s the best at is Armada, a space invader multiplayer flight battle simulation. But maybe there’s a bit more to his talent and obsession than even he realizes on its face. And he quickly learns there is much more to the video game he’s been playing than he could have imagined when he starts seeing the machines from the game in the sky near his school. Thankfully all those hours at his computer have helped prepare him for what’s to come.

If you take Ender’s Game and set it on modern Earth, you’ll get something like Armada. Video games as a training ground for an epic space battle against an alien race? A protagonist who is involved in an altercation that indicates he might have anger issues? Being thrown into battle before one is ready? A leadership that isn’t completely honest about the facts of how things got to where they are? Yeah, it’s all here. It’s not the exact same story, obviously, but it’s clear what inspired this tale very early on and throughout the book.

While it’s likely imperative to make the story work, the ease with which Zack is able to do things and get out of troublesome situations quickly seemed a bit much to me. Even in science fiction, I like to have a fair sense of a realistic basis–I didn’t think we got that as much as we could with this protagonist. That said, it wasn’t too much that I turned me off completely.

Ultimately, this was an entertaining read–and a quick one, too, despite its length. I think fans of science fiction, especially space opera (and extra points for those who enjoyed Ender’s Game, would enjoy this book, as well.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]