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

Ready Player One … Boop Beep Boop

I was recommended this book by a friend who said she enjoyed it immensely. I had bought it over a year ago, but finally got around to reading it in February this year.

ready-player-one-book-cover

Ready Player One was suggested to me by a friend who knows the types of book that I like. I thought it was going to be a trip down the nostalgic lane, but it was so much more than that.

The book is set in the OASIS, a virtual reality system that with the right equipment can feel like the real thing, where people are searching for Halliday’s Egg, an Easter Egg that contains riches beyond belief to the person who finds it first.

The story is from the point of view of Wade Watts, an 18 year old “gunter” – Egg Hunter – obsessed with the 80s and Halliday as most people in OASIS are. He receives a wake up call when the first key is found and he learns what lengths some people will go to in order to win the competition.

Cline draws upon his own childhood and teenage years as the background and inspiration to flesh out the book. Being an avid gamer and roleplayer in the 80s, I can see all the inspiration through the games, books, films and TV programs. The detail is incredible, and at times you forget you are reading a book as you are transported in there.

It is one of the only books that when I finished it, I immediately started it again to see what I missed.

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Paperback

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Kindle

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon US Paperback

Ready Player One ……………..  Amazon US Kindle

Elite: Dangerous – Reclamation

Having been a fan of Elite since I played it on the ZX Spectrum over 30 years ago, this book had a lot of work to do to impress me. In the words of a famous smuggler from a different galaxy “I have been from one side of the galaxy to the other” and I have visited many planets and systems.

This book by Drew Wagar started off with a bang and it didn’t let up. The characters are believable, and the locations are described well. At one point someone is referring to things as they used to be, and it was a definite throwback to the original game. The intrigue and twists are very well done and you find yourself holding your breath at points.

It is a fast paced book that hits the ground running. You don’t need to know the game to read the book, it does well as a standalone.

If you like science fiction, this is a definite addition to your library.

ElitevReclamation-Cover

Elite Reclamation – Amazon US

Elite Reclamation – Amazon UK

Sunday Photo Fiction ¦¦ Music For All Ages

Every week a photo is used as a prompt for a story using around 200 words. If you want to have a go, head over to Sunday Photo Fiction and take a look at all the details. If you want to see what others have written, then head to the InLinkz link up page and click on any of the images there to read one of the stories.

70 07 July 27th 2014

Tripsy looked at the buildings in front and giggled. “Pretty houses, pretty, pretty houses”, she said in her high-pitched voice. Beau looked at her wishing she would shut up. Opening his case, he laid it on the table nearby and started plugging wires into the back of the case and then into sockets and other devices so it looked like a tangle of linguine dangling from the back of the case and then splaying out in different directions.

Breathing in calmness and exhaling tension, he flicked the switch and a humming sound filled the air, with vibrations emanating from the case. He looked at the houses, waiting for someone to come out. He frowned when there was no movement except Tripsy prancing and running like a four-year old. Beau adjusted dials sliders and turned the volume up again, but still there was no movement.

Scratching his head, he went to look at the houses and saw his sister running to the case. He called out to her to stop, but she slammed her hand down on the case, which resulted in huge white and blue flash. When he could see again, the only thing left of the houses was their foundations.