Armada, Ernest Cline
Release: July 14, 2015
Pages: 368 (print length)
Seller: Random House LLC
*SPOILERS* – Note that I have not ruined the ending of Armada with my spoilers, but there are just a number of spoilers in this post about my speculations and 1 or 2 details. Since these 1-2 details are not printed on the back cover, I don’t want to upset anyone who hasn’t read it. Now carry on and please do read it (or read the book then check this out and let me know if you agree with my assessment).
Armada is the second science fiction novel by Ernest Cline, followed by Ready Player One. Armada is about an 18-year-old boy named Zack, who’s father is believed to be dead because of a sewage plant explosion where the dad worked, and Zack is raised by his mom. Zack obviously has some anger issues, he’s a geek, and he (and everyone else apparently) are obsessed with this video game called Armada or this other game called Terra Firma (the games are related).
The book opens with the reader learning that Zack is at school and sees an alien spaceship. As time goes on, you, the reader, begin learning about a government conspiracy to cover up alien life on Europa, a moon near to Jupiter that has been believed to have the most potential to have living life forms. Suddenly, all these gamers are enlisted into the Earth Defence Alliance (EDA – also Cline spelled it Defense in the book with an “s” – he is American) and have to defend earth from these alien invaders.
I feel like I have mixed feelings about the book. I am a pretty big geek, so I wasn’t bothered by all the sci fi references, even though they were aplenty, and mostly I like geek references. I found the book interesting, easy to read and I kind of got a kick out of alien invasion story line, even if the premise is kind of hooky.
There was a certain level of predictability in the novel, which is good or bad depending on what you look for in a book. Even the level of predictability isn’t a deal breaker for me because, while I had my guesses, I was willing to let the novel play itself out and see what would really happen instead of over analyzing ahead of time. One thing is that the readers find out that Zack’s dad wasn’t even dead, it turned out that the EDA faked his death so he could enlist without letting people know what was up. So yay, Zack gets to meet his dad resolve his daddy issues, but it is also not an unsurprising plot twist. Plus, a lot of the stuff about the alien invasion wasn’t even adding up right from the beginning. I was wondering if maybe Zack was having some kind of psychological break and everything was happening in his head; I was thinking that that would have been an interesting twist in the plot. I was also wondering if maybe the aliens didn’t even exist, I hadn’t quite worked out how I thought that the humans had “real” overly advanced technology if it wasn’t from a society far more advanced than ours, but I figured it was a reasonable guess that would be resolved by Ernest Cline in the way he saw fit it if I was correct. I thought that maybe the there really were aliens and maybe this invasion was sparked by some kind of cultural misunderstanding. In the end, I kind of thought that there was an interesting point about humanity because the war didn’t even need to happen, it turned out that the humans kind of escalated things by overreacting and that it probably could have been avoided if they’d have settled for just talking about things instead. Obviously that would ended the book pretty quickly, but nonetheless, I feel like that point was made.
Originally, I thought that Armada was being made into a movie, and it is possible that Universal or another studio like that does own the movie rights. Since I heard a rumour to that affect a while ago, I’d recommend keeping your eyes open. Last I checked though, Ready Player One is the more likely candidate for being made into a movie, and if I had to pick one to be made into a movie, it is definitely Ready Player One.