Armada: A Novel by Ernest ClineArmada: A Novel by Ernest Cline

Armada: A Novel

byErnest Cline

Hardcover | May 15, 2017

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From the author of Ready Player One, a rollicking alien invasion thriller that embraces and subverts science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline can. 

Zack Lightman has never much cared for reality. He vastly prefers the countless science-fiction movies, books, and videogames he's spent his life consuming. And too often, he catches himself wishing that some fantastic, impossible, world-altering event could arrive to whisk him off on a grand spacefaring adventure. 

So when he sees the flying saucer, he's sure his years of escapism have finally tipped over into madness. 

Especially because the alien ship he's staring at is straight out of his favorite videogame, a flight simulator callled Armada--in which gamers just happen to be protecting Earth from alien invaders. 

As impossible as it seems, what Zack's seeing is all too real. And it's just the first in a blur of revlations that will force him to question everything he thought he knew about Earth's history, its future, even his own life--and to play the hero for real, with humanity's life in the balance. 

But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can't help thinking: Doesn't something about this scenario feel a little bit like...well...fiction? 

At once reinventing and paying homage to science-fiction classics, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a coming-of-age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you've ever read before.
ERNEST CLINE is an internationally best-selling novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. He is the author of the novels Ready Player One and Armada and co-screenwriter of the film adaptation of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg.  His books have been published in over fifty countries and have spent more than 100 ...
Title:Armada: A NovelFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 9.51 × 6.47 × 1.21 inShipping dimensions:9.51 × 6.47 × 1.21 inPublished:May 15, 2017Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0804137250

ISBN - 13:9780804137256


Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Good Read Not the most original plot, but all in all a good read. Definitely geeked out with all the references. My first Ernest Cline book, will check out more of his books!
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still great because it's Ernest Cline, but doesn't begin to compare to Ready Player One. Most of Ernest Cline's work is filled with pop-culture references, although I found this to basically follow the exact same plot as "The Last Starfighter". Less original material. Overall disappointing compared to his first novel, but still okay when not ranked in its shadow.
Date published: 2017-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Book Great read by a fantastic author.
Date published: 2017-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Basically a YA novel I enjoyed this novel, but it's hard to avoid the fact that it is suffering from sophomore syndrome--as so many second outings do. If you like science fiction, you'll like the book, but it doesn't compare to Cline's first novel, Ready Player One. Like his first novel, Armada is a book for sci-fi and video game nerds, but the story isn't as fresh, and without the crutch of a million 80s references and easter eggs to fall back on, the unexceptional prose leaves you with the feeling that you're basically reading a young adult novel for grown-ups. Nevertheless, the story was fun, and the twist was kind of unexpected. The characters were a little flat, and it isn't exactly beautifully written, but it kept me engaged. I'd recommend it to sci-fi lovers.
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good Very good but not as good as ready player 1
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from great buy decent read, but not as good as RP1
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Saving $$ Not as good as Ready Player One but it had a great discount! Satisfactory read for sure.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Not as good as ready player one but still a great read!
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great second outing I went into this novel with great expectations after ready player one. It had similar style and again revolved around video games. Some may complain it was a rip-off of the last starfighter but I would argue it is more of an homage, and does not try to hide it. Still a fun read, not as good as RP1 but judged on it's own a good book
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Can't Compare to RP1 Ready Player One was an amazing novel, which unfortunately for Armada, set expectations very, very high. If you go in ready to compare this to RP1 you will be disappointed. However, going in without any expectations, the book is decent. It does feel a little rushed but it's still a good, captivating read. Many people seem to want to compare it to Ender's Game, which having just finished reading, it is not that similar at all. Ender's Game was more psychological, while Armada simply is not.
Date published: 2016-02-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unfortunately weak Ready Player One was a great read. Armada is not. The plot is weak, unbelievable, and really exists only to string together 1980s video game references.
Date published: 2015-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Try not to compare it to Ready Player One too much! Back in May, a couple of months after I first started this blog, I was summoned to go through the jury selection process. As most know, this process can take quite some time and even after days of sitting in a room, you may not even be selected as a member of a jury. Knowing how intricate and time consuming the process is, I knew I needed to take a book with me to pass the time. That book just so happened to be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I was completely hooked and Ready Player One easily became one of my favourite novels of all time. Soon after finishing it, I heard that Ernest Cline was going to be releasing another novel later in the year titled Armada, and you better believe I pre-ordered it right then and there. The hype surrounding Armada was huge as so many readers fell in love with Ready Player One. As is to be expected, once Armada was released, it was relentlessly compared to Ready Player One which resulted in average ratings. Readers expected so much from this novel and I think that is where the problem lies. When we compare a book to another that we loved so much, our expectations are set too high which results in disappointment. This is why I’m going to keep my comparisons between Armada and Ready Player One short and brief. Remember that wonderful sense of 80’s nostalgia created within the world of Ready Player One? You can once again find that nostalgia and the 80’s inspired quotes and dialogue within Armada, although this time around some of it felt a little forced as if Ernest Cline knew that was what readers would be expecting so he tried to include as much of it as he could. The nostalgic references flowed more seamlessly in Ready Player One. There was also less attention to detail this time around and things started to move at quite a fast pace. I’m usually a fan of stories that move quickly, but it felt as though something was missing. This being said, I knew going into this novel that I couldn’t expect everything to be exactly like Ready Player One and I accepted that. This is a brand new story in a completely different world and it needs to be treated that way, as hard as that may be. I am well aware of the comparisons that have been made between Armada and other stories within pop culture, whether it be film, television or other novels. I understand that for most readers, elements of this story didn’t feel particularly unique and creative. I also understand how frustrating that can be, however, I am one of the few who had never seen or read anything that Armada was being compared to which made it a unique story line for me. I understand that doesn’t excuse the fact that the story had a lack of creativity, but it was because of this that I was probably able to enjoy the novel more than others were. I thought that the level of adventure was great and the world that the story takes place in was well developed. The layers of the story weren’t as intricate as I had hoped, but it was still fun and entertaining regardless. As much as I loved the idea behind the story and the adventure that took place, I found that the characters weren’t as well developed as I would have liked them to be. Our main character, Zack Lightman was the only one who was described with a decent amount of detail, but even that wasn’t enough for me. Not to mention the abundance of side characters. They could have been explored in other, more detailed ways that could have provided us with even a little bit of a backstory. Unfortunately, a lot of the characters fell flat. As I stated earlier, this story was quite fast paced and made certain moments feel rushed. Unfortunately, the ending fell victim to this problem. On top of feeling rushed, it felt out of place. Once again, I wish things were explained with much more detail rather than leaving the reader hanging and responsible for coming up with their own explanations regarding the mysteries that the ending plagued us with. That’s about as vague as I can get without venturing into spoiler-ville. I still quite enjoy the writing style of Ernest Cline and I think Armada had a lot of potential, but it just seemed like there was a lot missing from this story and it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. I wanted so badly to learn even more about Zack’s father and the details surrounding what happened to him. I wanted my unanswered questions to be acknowledged, especially towards the end of the novel. I was hoping for an intricately woven story, but sadly, that just wasn’t the case.
Date published: 2015-11-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very dissappointed I found the book way too predictable with many of the themes and ideas found in other syfy books many of which were mentioned in the book. A bit disappointed at the cost for the length and content felt that for this book half of the price required would have been more than enough. Though the style was the same as the previous 'Player One' it seemed that it had all been done before with nothing really unexpected as far plot. A way to rushed with very little character development. It seems that this was written just for commercial value not literary value.
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nostalgic! I read Ready Player One, and I feel in love with the nostalgic feel throughout the book. I bought this in hopes of more of the same, and he nailed it! It felt like Ender, to me, but with more video games and pop culture. It was fun to read and I anticipate Clines next novel.
Date published: 2015-10-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just not enjoyable This book was just not good to read. It reminded me of fan fiction. The geeky wish-fulfilment that I think he was going for was very over the top, and the narrative relied on *way* too many pop-culture references, to the point that it took me out of the reading experience. Yes, I got pretty much all of them, but when you took them away, there was really little in the way of interesting narrative to go on. The real kicker for me was the main character's obsession with his dead father – it made him extremely one-note. There was really nothing else to him. Overall, pretty disappointing.
Date published: 2015-09-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing...feels rushed? Lazy? Let me start by saying that I loved Ready Player One and was super excited when I heard Cline was coming out with another book. And then I read it. Disappointment all around. In Ready Player One, Ernest Cline uses nostalgic references to enhance the vibrant world he creates, it's like the frosting on an already delicious cake. In Armada nostalgia is the cake and there is nothing else. Let me use an example not in the book as the best way to describe what it's like without giving any spoilers. Instead of describing a house where the main protagonist lives he would say something like: "The house looked exactly like the house from Back to the Future." Which is okay if you remember what the house looked like in the movie but if you don't well you are out of luck. It just felt so rushed and lazy in terms of writing. Chapters end abruptly as if cuts were made in order to rush the book out. Which is what I feel may have happened. The publisher rush Cline to get his next book out while the excitement and demand was there from Ready Player One's success. This is purely my opinion and a part of me wishes I had never read Armada.
Date published: 2015-09-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too Much Found Armada to be an okay book, though I found the sheer amount of gaming-sci-fi-etc references to be distracting at times. While I got all of the references, if you took them out what you end up with is something more suited to the Young Adult section as opposed to mainstream science fiction.
Date published: 2015-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Teen gaming saves the world Zack Lightman has grown up without his father, but has learned of him from the journals he left behind. As a teenager, he knows that the virtual reality games he plays are fantasy, that his father is dead and nothing can change these facts. Then how does he explain that he saw an alien space ship that is identical to the one from his favourite online game. It's time to grow up quickly when Zack is faced with a string of seemingly impossible situations. There is no time to consult his mom or his best friends, he has to act immediately as lives are at stake. I really enjoyed this book. It moved at a quick pace and was jam packed with action. At the same time, the story line didn't seem rushed. There was ample detail and descriptions to satisfy both teen and adult readers. Having watched my children and various nephews playing their online games, I feel that this story accurately portrays teens and their passion for gaming. The level of skill they show and how immersed they got into their games was nothing different that what happens in front of my gaming console. I particularly enjoyed how author Ernest Cline drew in real world examples of movies and games to support the plot line, particularly including reference to the movie The Last Starfighter. I would not hesitate to recommend parents to purchase this book for their teen reader, though they might want to read it first as I suspect the recipient won't be putting it down once started.
Date published: 2015-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Bit of a let down after Ready Player One Still a mostly fun read, but doesn't really compare to the enjoyment of his first novel. The ending, especially, felt very rushed and convenient.
Date published: 2015-08-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I don't know what to say about Armada. I definitely feel a little let down. I may have put too much expectation on it being another Ready Player One. And that was never going to be. I don't know. I started the book the day it came out, two and a half weeks ago. It took me about that to get through it. I would read it and really enjoy it. But as soon as I put it down I didn't have the urge to pick it back up. Armada is still full of awesome sci-fi references. You don't get geekier than an Ernest Cline book. And some of the alien parts were fun. But mostly it was tedious, slow and a bit to preachy on the humanity aspect. I know with sci-fi you gotta overlook the wonky science(I'm a massive Star Trek fan, enough said) and suspend your believe, but I felt like there was too much grasping at straws with the whole conclusion of the alien confrontation. I did thoroughly enjoy Armada. I will read absolutely anything Cline publishes. I loves his true geeky nature. Which is why I'm finding it hard to give Armada lower than a 4*, when really it's probably pushing a 3.5*.
Date published: 2015-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fun blockbuster kind of read Like Ready Player One, Armada is a fun homage to video games and pop culture. A quick read that's perfect for a gamer, but it might be a bit challenging (overly referential) for others. Would definitely recommend.
Date published: 2015-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I thought that "Ready Player One" had chronicled my teen years perfectly but then along comes this incredible read!
Date published: 2015-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beginning, Middle and End I did like this book overall, although not as much as <i>Ready Player One<-i>. The beginning was a little slow, The middle was great, as was most of the last section of the book. The very end of the book felt limp, or possibly rushed. Still I did enjoy this book.
Date published: 2015-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Loveletter To 80s Film & Video Games Disclaimer - This review is spoiler free. As a stand alone work of fiction, this isan enjoyable book. If you have friends who are serious gamers then much of this is more realistic than many would suppose. The events taking place are in no way connected to Ready Player One, so the sense of nostalgia come completely from how well Cline integrates cultural references into the framework of the story. There is a certain amount of predicability to the plot especially for those who read classic SF. All in all, highly entertaining, which is what I ponied up the money for.
Date published: 2015-07-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was a fun ride I finished reading "Armada" by Ernest Cline the other day. I have never read his other book "Ready Player One" before, making this my first experience of Ernest Cline. The book has a ton of pop culture references, especially gaming references. As a "gamer", I understood 90% of the references. The book in general is fun, lighthearted. It felt like watching a summer blockbuster movie. The books is also very short. If you just want to have a fun read, I recommend it.
Date published: 2015-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad at all... ...but for some reason I didn't enjoyed it as much as Ready Player one.. Looking forward to his third book
Date published: 2015-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Indigo Staff Pick Armada: an aliens-are-coming, world-is-ending, wise cracking thrill ride! What if all the video games played since the beginning were actually real battle simulations preparing us for the alien invasion that starts today? Conspiracy theories. Big battle scenes. Touching family moments, and really likable characters. Armada has it. Loads of classic movie and game references. With a surprise or two still in store. Armada is a gem. A big, bold adventure sure to please any sci-fi fan. This book was so much fun to read that more than once, I laughed out loud!
Date published: 2015-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The armada is coming I don't count myself as someone who is fully immersed in nerd culture nor am I in touch with throwback pop culture references. Perhaps that has been one of the reasons why I never read "Ready Player One" despite having heard so much positive things about it. When a copy of "Armada" was made available, I thought I'd give it a go seeing how this is one of the most anticipated books of the year. Fans won't be let down, at least I sure wasn't as someone being introduced to Ernest Cline. It's a simple but exhilarating story of video games and an alien invasion (really, what more can you ask for?!). Some twists and turns along the way made the narrative move along in an otherwise linear story with a discernible climax and ending neatly tied up in a bow, but not in the way you'd predict. It definitely reads like a big screen adaptation in the making, since it is very "Ender Games"-esque and is pure unadulterated fun. I surprised myself by getting most references on video games, movies and music of yesteryear, which made me appreciate how accessible "Armada" is to Ernest Cline's credit, and how it made me geek out like a fanboy.
Date published: 2015-05-24

Read from the Book

1I was staring out the classroom window and daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer.I blinked and looked again--but it was still out there, a shiny chrome disc zigzagging around in the sky. My eyes struggled to track the object through a series of increasingly fast, impossibly sharp turns that would have juiced a human being, had there been any aboard. The disc streaked toward the distant horizon, then came to an instantaneous stop just above it. It hovered there motionless over the distant tree line for a few seconds, as if scanning the area beneath it with an invisible beam, before it abruptly launched itself skyward again, making another series of physics-defying changes to its course and speed.I tried to keep my cool. I tried to remain skeptical. I reminded myself that I was a man of science, even if I did usually get a C in it.I looked at it again. I still couldn’t tell what it was, but I knew what it wasn’t--it wasn’t a meteor. Or a weather balloon, or swamp gas, or ball lightning. No, the unidentified flying object I was staring at with my own two eyes was most definitely not of this earth.My first thought was: Holy fucking shit.Followed immediately by: I can’t believe it’s finally happening.You see, ever since the first day of kindergarten, I had been hoping and waiting for some mind-blowingly fantastic, world-altering event to finally shatter the endless monotony of my public education. I had spent hundreds of hours gazing out at the calm, conquered suburban landscape surrounding my school, silently yearning for the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse, a freak accident that would give me super powers, or perhaps the sudden appearance of a band of time-traveling kleptomaniac dwarves.I would estimate that approximately one-third of these dark daydreams of mine had involved the unexpected arrival of beings from another world.Of course, I’d never believed it would really happen. Even if alien visitors did decide to drop by this utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, no self-respecting extraterrestrial would ever pick my hometown of Beaverton, Oregon--aka Yawnsville, USA--as their point of first contact. Not unless their plan was to destroy our civilization by wiping out our least interesting locales first. If there was a bright center to the universe, I was on the planet it was farthest from. Please pass the blue milk, Aunt Beru.But now something miraculous was happening here--it was still happening, right now! There was a goddamn flying saucer out there. I was staring right at it.And I was pretty sure it was getting closer.I cast a furtive glance back over my shoulder at my two best friends, Cruz and Diehl, who were both seated behind me. But they were currently engaged in a whispered debate and neither of them was looking toward the windows. I considered trying to get their attention, but I was worried the object might vanish any second, and I didn’t want to miss my chance to see this for myself.My gaze shot back outside, just in time to see another bright flash of silver as the craft streaked laterally across the landscape, then halted and hovered over an adjacent patch of terrain before zooming off again. Hover, move. Hover, move.It was definitely getting closer. I could see its shape in more detail now. The saucer banked sideways for a few seconds, and I got my first clear glimpse of its top-down profile, and I saw that it wasn’t really a saucer at all. From this angle, I could see that its symmetrical hull resembled the blade of a two-headed battle-axe, and that a black, octagonal prism lay centered between its long, serrated wings, glinting in the morning sunlight like a dark jewel.That was when I felt my brain begin to short-circuit, because there was no mistaking the craft’s distinctive design. After all, I’d seen it almost every night for the past few years, through a targeting reticle. I was looking at a Sobrukai Glaive, one of the fighter ships piloted by the alien bad guys in Armada, my favorite videogame.Which was, of course, impossible. Like seeing a TIE Fighter or a Klingon Warbird cruising across the sky. The Sobrukai and their Glaive Fighters were fictional videogame creations. They didn’t exist in the real world--they couldn’t. In reality, videogames did not come to life and fictional spaceships did not buzz your hometown. Implausible shit like that only happened in cheesy ’80s movies, like TRON or WarGames or The Last Starfighter. The sorts of movies my late father had been nuts about.The gleaming craft banked sideways again, and this time I got an even better look--there was no doubt about it. I was looking at a Glaive, right down to the distinctive claw-like grooves along its fuselage and the twin plasma cannons protruding from the front end like two fangs.There was only one logical explanation for what I was seeing. I had to be hallucinating. And I knew what sort of people suffered from hallucinations in broad daylight without any help from drugs or alcohol. People who were cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, that’s who. Cats with a serious marble deficiency.I’d long wondered if my father had been one such person, because of what I’d read in one of his old journals. The things I’d seen there had given me the impression that he’d become somewhat delusional near the end of his life. That he may have even lost the ability to differentiate between videogames and reality--the very same problem I now seemed to be experiencing myself. Maybe it was just as I had always secretly feared: The apple had fallen right next to the Crazy Tree.Had I been drugged? No, impossible. All I’d eaten that morning was a raw strawberry Pop-Tart I’d wolfed down in my car on the way to school--and the only thing crazier than hallucinating a fictional videogame spaceship would be to blame it on a frosted breakfast pastry. Especially if I knew my own DNA was a far more likely culprit.This was my own fault, I realized. I could’ve taken precautions. But instead, I’d done the opposite. Like my old man, I’d spent my entire life overdosing on uncut escapism, willingly allowing fantasy to become my reality. And now, like my father before me, I was paying the price for my lack of vision. I was going off the rails on a crazy train. You could practically hear Ozzy screaming “All aboard!”Don’t do this, I pleaded with myself. Don’t crack up now, when we’ve only got two months to go until graduation! This is the home stretch, Lightman! Keep it together!Outside the window, the Glaive Fighter streaked laterally again. As it zoomed over a cluster of tall trees, I saw their branches rustle in its wake. Then it zipped through another cloud bank, moving so fast it punched a perfect circular hole through its center, dragging several long wisps of cloud vapor along with it as it tore out the other side.A second later, the craft froze in midair one last time before it streaked straight upward in a silver blur, vanishing from sight as quickly as it had appeared.I just sat there for a moment, unable to do more than stare at the empty patch of sky where it had been a second earlier. Then I glanced around at the other students seated nearby. No one else was looking in the direction of the windows. If that Glaive Fighter had really been out there, no one else had seen it.I turned back and scanned the empty sky once again, praying for the strange silver craft to reappear. But it was long gone, and now here I was, forced to deal with the aftermath.Seeing that Glaive Fighter, or imagining I’d seen it, had triggered a small rock slide in my mind that was already growing into a crushing avalanche of conflicting emotions and fragmented memories--all of them linked to my father, and that old journal I’d found among his things.Actually, I wasn’t even sure it had been a journal. I’d never finished reading it. I’d been too disturbed by its contents, and what they’d seemed to imply about the author’s mental state. So I’d put the old notebook back where I found it and tried to forget that it even existed--and until a few seconds ago, I had succeeded.But now I couldn’t seem to think about anything else.I felt a sudden compulsion to run out of the school, drive home, and find it. It wouldn’t take long. My house was only a few minutes away.I glanced over at the exit, and the man guarding it, Mr. Sayles, our elderly Integrated Mathematics II teacher. He had a silver buzz cut, thick horn-rimmed glasses, and wore the same monochromatic outfit he always did: black loafers, black slacks, a white short-sleeve dress shirt, and a black clip-on necktie. He’d been teaching at this high school for over forty-five years now, and the old yearbook photos in the library were proof that he’d been rocking this same retro ensemble the entire time. Mr. S was finally retiring this year, which was a good thing, because he appeared to have run out of shits to give sometime in the previous century. Today, he’d spent the first five minutes going over our homework assignment, then given us the rest of the period to work on it, while he shut off his hearing aid and did his crosswords. But he would still spot me if I tried to sneak out.My eyes moved to the ancient clock embedded in the lime green brick wall above the obsolete chalkboard. With its usual lack of pity, it informed me there were still thirty-two minutes remaining until the bell.There was no way I could take thirty-two more minutes of this. After what I’d just seen, I’d be lucky if I managed to keep my shit together for another thirty-two seconds.Off to my left, Douglas Knotcher was currently engaged in his daily humiliation of Casey Cox, the shy, acne-plagued kid unfortunate enough to be seated in front of him. Knotcher usually limited himself to lobbing verbal insults at the poor guy, but today he’d decided to go old-school and lob spitballs at him instead. Knotcher had a stack of moist projectiles piled on his desk like cannonballs, and he was currently firing them at the back of Casey’s head, one after another. The back of the poor kid’s hair was already damp with spit from Knotcher’s previous attacks. A couple of Knotcher’s pals were watching from the back of the room, and they snickered each time he nailed Casey with another projectile, egging him on.It drove me nuts when Knotcher bullied Casey like this--which, I suspected, was one of the reasons Knotcher enjoyed doing it so much. He knew I couldn’t do a damn thing about it.I glanced at Mr. Sayles, but he was still lost in his crossword, clueless as always--a fact that Knotcher took advantage of on a daily basis. And on a daily basis, I had to resist the urge to knock his teeth down his throat.Doug Knotcher and I had managed to avoid each other, for the most part, ever since “the Incident” back in junior high. Until this year, when a cruel act of fate had landed us both in the same math class. Seated in adjacent rows, no less. It was almost as if the universe wanted my last semester of high school to be as hellish as possible.That would have also explained why my ex-girlfriend, Ellen Adams, was in this class, too. Three rows to my right and two rows back, sitting just beyond the reach of my peripheral vision.Ellen was my first love, and we’d lost our virginity to each other. It had been nearly two years since she’d dumped me for some wrestler from a neighboring school, but every time I saw those freckles across the bridge of her nose--or caught sight of her tossing that curly red hair out of her eyes--I felt my heart breaking all over again. I usually spent the entire class period trying to forget she was in the room.Being forced to sit between my mortal enemy and my ex-girlfriend every afternoon made seventh-period math feel like my own private Kobayashi Maru, a brutal no-win scenario designed to test my emotional fortitude.Thankfully fate had balanced out the nightmare equation slightly by placing my two best friends in this class, too. If Cruz and Diehl hadn’t been assigned here, I probably would’ve snapped and started hallucinating shit midway through my first week.I glanced back at them again. Diehl, who was tall and thin, and Cruz, who was short and stocky, both shared the same first name, Michael. Ever since grade school I had been calling them by their last names to avoid confusion. The Mikes were still engaged in the same whispered conversation they’d been having earlier, before I’d zoned out and started seeing things--a debate over the “coolest melee weapon in the history of cinema.” I tried to focus in on their voices again now.“Sting wasn’t even really a sword,” Diehl was saying. “It was more like a glow-in-the-dark Hobbit butter knife, used to spread jam on scones and lembas bread and shit.”Cruz rolled his eyes. “ ‘Your love of the halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed your mind,’ ” he quoted. “Sting was an Elvish blade, forged in Gondolin in the First Age! It could cut through almost anything! And its blade only glowed when it detected the presence of orcs or goblins nearby. What does Mjolnir detect? Fake accents and frosted hair?”I wanted to tell them what I’d just seen, but best friends or not, there was no way in hell they’d believe me. They’d think of it as another symptom of their pal Zack’s psychological instability.And maybe it was, too.“Thor doesn’t need to detect his enemies so he can run off and hide in his little Hobbit hole!” Diehl whispered. “Mjolnir is powerful enough to destroy mountains, and it can also emit energy blasts, create force fields, and summon lightning. The hammer also always returns to Thor’s hand after he throws it, even if it has to tear through an entire planet to get back to him! And only Thor can wield it!” He leaned back.“Dude, Mjolnir is a bullshit magical Swiss Army knife!” Cruz said. “Even worse than Green Lantern’s ring! They give that hammer a new power every other week, just to get Thor out of whatever asinine fix they’ve written him into.” He smirked. “By the way, lots of other people have wielded Mjolnir, including Wonder Woman in a crossover issue! Google it! Your whole argument is invalid, Diehl!”

Editorial Reviews

“A thrilling coming-of-age story.”—Entertainment Weekly“Nerd-gasmic…another science fiction tale with a Comic-Con's worth of pop-culture shout-outs.”--Rolling Stone“An amazing novel [that] proves Cline has the ability to blend popular culture with exciting stories that appeal to everyone.”—Associated Press “Mixes Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, Independence Day and a really gnarly round of Space Invaders into a tasty sci-fi stew.”—USA Today   “A fantastic second novel…fans of Ready Player One, it is time to rejoice.”—Huffington Post   “A joyous, rollicking read…will garner Cline an even larger group of fans than the formidable crew he’s already assembled.”—Boing Boing   “A great romp…Cline (ever the fanboy) is both reverent of and referential to the books and movies and games of his childhood.”—Mother Jones“Video games come to life in this witty, extraterrestrial thriller.”—New York Post“Built like a summer blockbuster…Cline recombines the DNA of Ender’s Game, Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, and old-school arcade games like Asteroids into something that’s both familiar and unpredictable. It’s a mutant homage to sci-fi tropes past.”—Gawker"Hugely entertaining…a paean to the videogames of a bygone era, and like Ready Player One it is a tremendous amount of fun for anyone who remembers that time and played those games." –George R.R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Game of Thrones"A novel so fun, you'll want to reboot it and read it again…the best novel this gamer geek has read in a long, long time."—Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool"Those conspiracies you imagined when you were fourteen turn out to be true in this masterful tale of Earth's desperate struggle against a powerful alien foe."—Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian"Armada proves Ernie Cline is the modern master of wish fulfillment literature - and of reminding us to be careful what we wish for."—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War“With another winning teen protagonist in Zach, Cline mines the nostalgia and geek spheres just as successfully as he did in his acclaimed debut, Ready Player One. The works that obviously influenced the story line, such as Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and the films The Last Starfighter and Star Wars, feel like homages rather than borrowings- a rap artist sampling the best beats our there to create an irresistible jam.”—Library Journal, starred review “Cline once again brings crackling humor and fanboy knowledge to a zesty, crowd-pleasing, countdown-clock, save-the-planet tale featuring an unlikely hero, adrenaline-pumping action, gawky romance, and touching family moments.…Cline’s sly, mind-twisting premise and energetically depicted and electrifying high-tech battles make for smart, frenetic, and satisfying entertainment.” —Booklist, starred reviewPraise for Ready Player One:   “Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. Its geeky characters are geeky cool. And its action is imaginative, always cinematic.[Cline] even weaves a sweet romance into this hero-vs.-villain tale.”—USA Today    “The grown-up's 'Harry Potter’…the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all.”—Huffington Post   “A rollicking, surprise-laden, potboiling, thrilling adventure story...the best science-fiction novel I’ve read in a decade.”—   “Ridiculously fun and large-hearted… Cline is that rare writer who can translate his own dorky enthusiasms into prose that's both hilarious and compassionate. You'll wish you could make it go on and on."—   “A smart, funny thriller that both celebrates and critiques online culture... layered with inside jokes and sly references.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “An addictive read… part intergalactic scavenger hunt, part romance and all heart.”—   “Incredibly entertaining…a geek fantasia, ‘80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once.”—Austin American-Statesman