Armada – A Review

After reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, I thought I would see how his other book, Armada, would play out.

Armada

It’s just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He’s daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom―if he can make it that long without getting suspended again.

Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

At first, Zack thinks he’s going crazy.

A minute later, he’s sure of it. Because the UFO he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada―in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

But what Zack’s seeing is all too real. And his skills―as well as those of millions of gamers across the world―are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too… familiar?

Armada is at once a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before―one whose every page is infused with author Ernest Cline’s trademark pop-culture savvy.

When I first started reading this, I was disgruntled as I thought “Oh, here comes The Last Starfighter again”. To my surprise, it isn’t. The concept of the book is good, and Cline names a fair few programs, films and games that conspiracy theorists would have a field day with.

Whilst the book is not overly bad, there were some twists I saw coming a mile off. Whether it is because of Cline’s style of writing, or because they are twists that are all too familiar.

Like Ready Player One, the book is similar to that of a teenager’s daydream. It is similar to the kind of daydreams I used to have when I was at school. Albeit with a lot more pizazz and graphical interface. Graphics and processor power have increased a millionfold since I was a teenager, and it shows in the book.

Cline draws upon his own experiences with science fiction games, films and all other memorabilia with his descriptions and backgrounds.

It is a good book, but some of the “seen a mile off” twists and a few cringeworthy moments that almost make me ashamed to be a gamer, it gets three stars.

This, like Cline’s other book Ready Player One, is in production for being turned into a film.

Armada ……………………………. Amazon UK Paperback

Armada ……………………………. Amazon UK Kindle

Armada ……………………………. Amazon US Paperback

Armada ……………………………. Amazon US Kindle

The Second Request a Review

Second_Request

The Second Request is a story that is set on an army base in Scotland, not long after it has gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Several children mysteriously and impossibly vanish from beds, from locked rooms, from a classroom where there is no possible exit.

Shortly after, the children return – walking up the road to the base and seemingly no worse for wear, in fact they are very happy. Every vanished child returns, as do some that disappeared from various other places. Then a stranger turns up with two requests. The second he will only give once an agreement is reached on the first and very difficult request.

The book has you holding your breath at several places and brings tears to your eyes in others. The layout of the book is unique in one sentence a line format, which really should not work but it does. I can’t say too much on this book as it is short and goes straight into the story, but it is a worthy, short read and shows the damage humanity is doing to this world, and there are some very impressive twists and surprises.

I WILL read this one again!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

***

If you want to know more about the author, AnElephantCant, then head over here

Saloon At The Edge of Everywhere – A Review

Saloon

Saloon at the Edge of Everywhere is a book very much along the lines of Pratchett or Adams. It has humour in it at just the right moments, and the descriptions of some of the characters are amusing. Places in the book had me smiling to myself, and others had me wincing at the ineptitude of some of the characters.

There is the occasional repetition, where the author describes something and then later on describes it again almost to a tee. Ignore that though as it is only occasional and fleshes out a scene a little more. The beginning of the book has a cast of the characters along with their races, detailing how they look and how they react to situations and their nicknames. After all, we call Plaice, Turbot and Dover Sole “flat fish”, so why not aliens.

The book is sometimes rude, from the perspective of one person and narrated through his journals and musings. I did find the main story a while to start, as the first quarter is the daily, sometimes dull, life aboard the station and the ways the residents make their entertainment.  Once it does start, you see the fear that everyday people would feel in the situations and encounters along with their way of dealing with it.

I am not a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams or Tom Sharpe with their humour in books, but Browne places his in a different manner. If you like the other authors I named, then this will definitely be one to add to your collection.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Screen Borrow Cyberland Book 2 – A Review

I did not realise that I had not reviewed this book as I promised the author I would. I finished this book in November 2013 and I really liked it.

ScreenBorrow

Screen Borrow is the second book in the Cyberland series by Karen Robiscoe. It follows the journey of Link and his escapades after being unwittingly sucked into a computer and then kicked out again in the first book – Through the Monitor.  At the end of the first book, Link and a few friends are printed out, and another person joins them who is none too happy. The only way they can avoid him is by getting back inside Cyberland and either getting away from him or defeating him.

Link makes new and amusing friends in this book. This book is written with Karen Robiscoe’s brilliant humour and will have you laughing aloud as you are reading it. You will also be groaning at the antics of Link who is now becoming used to differences between the corporeal world and digital world. There are many more adventures for him to go on and new areas for him to glide through. There are some that you will recognise instantly, and some that you will only realise once you have passed that part of the book.

It is an enjoyable and fast read, and one that is worth reading again, along with the first one, just before the author releases the third and final book in the trilogy. If you like computers, and you like humour, then this book is definitely one that you should have in your library.

You can buy Screen Borrow from Smashwords