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Armada | Ernest Cline | Review

*Review copy c/o Netgalley/Penguin Random House UK  

Ernest Cline's latest novel follows high-schooler Zack, a dedicated gamer whose life is turned upside down one day when he spots a UFO that looks suspiciously like one of the ships from Armada, his favourite video game. Initially Zack shakes it off as a hallucination but when he thinks back to the conspiracy theories he once read in his dad's old journals Zack begins to realise the truth; alongside films and other media, Armada has been preparing humans for a real alien invasion.

"Extraterrestrial visitors had permeated pop culture for so long that they were now embedded in humanity's collective unconscious, preparing us to deal with the real thing, now that it was actually happening."

If I’m being completely honest I’ve been putting off writing this review. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I was so entertained by the book that I’m not sure where to start. With that in mind I’m going to attempt to keep this review pretty short and sweet… partly to avoid spoilers and partly because you should probably stop reading my ramble and pick up Armada instead!

In the three years since I read Cline's debut Ready Player One - which to this day remains a favourite - I had been impatiently waiting for his next release and I was very lucky to have the chance to read Armada before it's release date. When the synopsis for the book first appeared I'll admit, I was a little worried about how original the story would be, but was still excited to find out more.
"I knew Armada was only a videogame, but I'd never been one of the "best of the best" at anything before, and my accomplishment gave me a real sense of pride." 

The events of Armada take place over just one day and there is a huge amount of action packed into those few hours making for a pretty intense and exciting read. Of course, I adored the pop culture references present throughout the novel as well as the way that the fictional game of Armada played into the story. Another element that stood out to me was the exploration of Zack's character and family through flashbacks. I really loved this part of the story and was pleased to find that even though we're only taken along for the ride for a short period of time there was still a chance to get to know them all a little better.

Whilst I have to say I didn't love it as much as Ready Player One, Armada was still perfectly geeky and a great entertaining read. I had a lot of fun following Zack and co. on their journey to save the world and look forward to finding out what Cline will come up with next.


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