One thing is for certain, this pandemic has me seeking expansive worlds to escape to. I began reading this one right after I read Artemis by Andy Weir. Both of these were highly anticipated follow up books to their respective blockbusters that were eventually made into movies. Earnest Cline was following up the hugely popular Ready Player One, and Andy Weir was following up The Martian. Both books were “sophomore slumps” in that respect. Neither quite lived up to the ease of reading of their former books. HOWEVER, both are definitely great books on their own… if you take away the anticipation and read them as their own works. Armada follows in the theme of video game escapism and we find our main character Zack Lightman in a small Oregon town playing the video game Armada. He is a top ranked player. It is eventually revealed that his father had died in a waste water treatment explosion when Zack was just a young boy. His father left Zack journals with conspiracy theories that the proliferation of science fictions movies, books, and tv shows were actually funded by the government as a means of preparing the human race for extra terrestrial Contact. We eventually learn that the Earth Defense Alliance(EDA) is real and they are enlisting top gamers to help defend earth from alien invaders.
This book was a slow starter for me but at about the time we find out the EDA is real I could no longer put it down and had to find out the eventual conclusion. Earnest Cline has written a easily digestible pop culture laden book that you will read in no time, but he added some ethical and moral questions that are eventually answered by our hero. Do humans have too easy a disposition toward war? How would we react if aliens made contact? To find out his take you should pick up a copy of this book. It is being reported that a movie adaptation is being made, I would try to read it before that happens. This world, just like Ready Player One, is too big for the screen.