Book review: Armada

Book cover for Amada by Ernest Cline

I like discovering new authors. Each one has a unique writing style and way of storytelling that adds welcome variety to my reading list. After I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, I knew I would be reading more of his work. When Armada, his second full-length novel came out, I immediately added it to my reading list. And when it got a positive review from one of my go-to sources for books, Brad Feld’s blog, I bumped it up a few rungs on the list to make certain I’d get to it in a reasonable amount of time.

Similar to Ready Player One, Armada is centered around video gaming. The main character is Zack, a teenage boy who has spent the majority of his adolescent years enjoying music and movies passed down from his deceased father and obsessing over video games. His obsession seems like a waste of time until earth is threatened with an alien invasion. It turns out that Zack’s favorite video game is actually a simulator that has been preparing him to defend the Earth. Both the story and the plot sound a lot like The Last Starfighter, a movie from 1984 that I remember from my own high school days. Here’s the trailer if you need a refresher.

Also similar to Ready Player One, Cline drops plenty of references to the 80’s in the book. While I got nearly all of the ones from his first novel, there were quite a few obscure ones in Armada that I wasn’t as familiar with. In my view, it worked well in Ready Player One but was a bit over done in Armada. However, that’s probably because I’ve read both books. If Armada is your first exposure to Cline, you’ll enjoy the 80’s flashbacks.

Of the two books, I give the nod to Ready Player One, but Armada is still a fun read. I enjoy Cline’s writing style and the way he tells a story. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work in the future.