Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

With Ready Player One hitting the theatres and a week of vacation, there was no better time to read this second novel by Ernest Cline. I got Armada as part of my Z-Threads boxes, where you get a shirt and a book for about 12 euros. I like to call myself Geek of all trades,  I love a lot of things from various universes. As a kid I grew up with Star Wars, He-Man, Transformers and later on Star Trek. As a teenager my love for metal and horror grew, from Lovecraft to Stephen King. The fact that I have such diverse hobbies and interests, makes it so that everything stays fresh. From the synopsis I gathered that Armada featured a lot of my interests.  So is it Yes Armada or No ArNada?


Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.


As said before I haven’t seen Ready Player One, but there will be a lot of pop cultural references, Even the King of Monsters Godzilla will pop up, Just like Ready Player one Armada is a pastiche of various geeky interest. The book is described as ender’s Game meets The Last Starfighter.

The main character is Zack, a typical teenager who is destined for bigger things – that cliche. He is a top 10 player of the game Armada and ofcourse because of these skills he will be hero. The book focuses heavy on him. While the rest of the characters inhabit the same world, they don’t stand out as much. A lot of the pop culture that is injected into Zack’s life, are all things his deceased father liked. So he is emulating his dad in every way. Without spoiling too much there are some major cliches ahead in the story.

In the end I did like the book, but I am born in ’78 and lots of the things referenced are things I know or I grew up with. The book is basically Zack and it is trying to fill the shoes of his predecessors, all the great sci-fi games/movies/books of an earlier period.

And therein lies the biggest problem of this book: Ernest Cline is constantly reminding me of better things that have been made.


It’s never easy to follow up a great first novel/book/album and Ernest Cline gave us with Armada a try.

Things I liked:
  1. I finished the book in two days; it reads great and it keeps up a great pace.
  2. I loved the references because they reminded me of my childhood.
  3. Even though there are some major cliches going on, it did gave me a good feeling in the end.
Things I didn’t like as much:
  1. The main character is not that interesting.
  2. The references kept reminding me of better things.

All with all Armada is a fun read, to me it’s more an appetizer than a main dish. Universal did like it and they are also making a movie about this book by Ernest Cline.



Article written by Tom

Tom is a 38-year-old lover of everything from the big G himself, Godzilla, to Star Trek and from playing D&D to Overwatch. Codename: Dr.BadTaste, because of a love for everything Cult, weird and bad. He founded Camp Camp with friends to celebrate this and to celebrate Bad Taste! Powers: Geek of all trades, bad puns and a certain je ne sais quoi. Weaknesses: his partner, their cat named Monster and everything to do with Pugs.

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