Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Series: No
Published: July 14, 2015 by Crown Publishing
Length: 355 pages (hardback)
Source: Blogging for Books


Zack Lightman is caught up in the video games, sci-fi movies, and dreams that consume his life. He only has to make it through a few more weeks, and he will be done with high school, but he has no idea what he could possibly want to do. When one day, he sees a UFO from Armada, his favorite video game, he thinks he is going crazy. That mixed with his childhood enemy constantly taunting him and the other people in his class, causes him to almost go over the edge. He quickly finds out he isn’t crazy, and there is a lot more going on than the world knows. Can his ranking and skill in the video game Armada help him to save the world?


Armada was very hard to get into. It took me a long time to read, and I was forcing myself to read at times, because I was just trying to get through a specific chapter. A lot of times I was bored because it didn’t really pull me in. About half way through the book it started to get a little more interesting, but I was still bored. Normally when I read books, I have a problem stopping at the end of chapters, but on multiple occasions I had to stop mid chapter because I couldn’t get into the chapter.

There is a lot of inclusive video game terminology in this book. Not everything clicked with me, but some of the references taught me more about video gaming. I zoned out on the terminology many times, and had to reread it to try and piece together what he was talking about. Multiple times I wished that the book would go faster, so it could be over, and I could read something else.

Zack was semi-relatable, but the relationships between some of the characters seemed forced, and underdeveloped. I didn’t develop any connections to the characters, and didn’t like a lot of them. I love character development throughout books, and there was only a minimal amount.

Armada is gorgeous on the outside, and I love the inside of the dust jacket as well. As I wrote this review, I listened to the “raid the arcade” playlist from the book which is pretty cool. I laughed a few times at some of the jokes in the book, and I liked the themes of self sacrifice, and some of the crazy conspiratorial ideas throughout the book, but that is about it.

If you live video games, and know about all of the popular games since the 80s, this book might be for you. But I think that my brain just isn’t wired for this book. I didn’t have enough experience with playing video games to understand much of the book, and I found it slow. Plus there is a lot of swearing, especially at the beginning of the book. I would give Armada 1.2/5 stars.


“I shook my head vigorously, as if it were possible to shake out the crazy.” (29) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“I know the future is scary at times, sweetheart. But there’s just no escaping it.” (57) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“Music was key. The old rock songs on my father’s old mixtapes were perfect, because they had a steady, hard-driving beat that served as my mental combat metronome.” (75) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“‘I know you, Zack,’ Ray said. ‘You’ve been waiting your whole life for something like this to happen. Something important. Something meaningful. A dare to be great situation. Right?’ He took me by the shoulders. ‘Well, this is it, ace! The universe has given you a chance to use your gifts to help save the world. Do you really expect me to believe that you’re gonna pass it up to run home, sit on your a-, and watch the end of the world on TV?’” (103) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“…and thinking about how hard that must have been for her makes me feel like jumping off a cliff. Of course, I realize now – I already jumped. That’s why I’m stuck up here.” (234) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“And the first words he spoke contradicted nearly everything I’d ever been told about our current understanding of the universe.” (124) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“Until then, we continue to work toward peace, while preparing for the possibility of war.” (133) -Ernest Cline, Armada

“But it was going to end, and soon – because there was an egg timer strapped to my forearm counting off exactly just how many more hours, minutes, and seconds remained until my rude awakening.” (200) -Ernest Cline, Armada


For more information about the book, click here.

For more information about the author, click here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.


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