Ernest Cline's well-known science fiction novel, Armada, departs from other cliche novels of this genre to freshly examine the familial bond of love and relationships in a dangerously alarming environment thwarting humankind's existence. The book uniquely exploits the otherwise commonplace themes of science, technology, and machines to warn human beings of their boon and bane both, showing how destructive they can prove if misused, as in the case of aliens' attack, or how fruitful and life-saving it can be, as is the case with Zack and his Earth Defense Alliance team. Besides producing a visually captivating and sensually thrilling narrative ready to give us goosebumps, this book also warns the readers of the cons of being extremely addicted to video games.
Cline, in the book, tells the story of a young student named Zack Lightman, one of the top few players of the video game called Armada. This is an online defense system game where the Earth Defense Alliance[EDA] combats alien invasions of the earth. However, later, to his utter surprise, spotting a spaceship outside his classroom and going through his late father Xavier's notebooks relating to a conspiracy theory, he discovers that the game is indeed real and the threat of an alien invasion of the Earth is impending.
Though the entire book focuses on war, mainly the pop culture wars, at last, it realizes that peace is always the best solution for a harmonious co-existence. Thus, the book, although narrated refreshingly and entertainingly, is also didactic in tone because it teaches the readers the importance of peace relations on earth.
The novel also manages to capture the essence of the typical teenage angst and its struggle to find the right balance between childhood and adulthood. Cline's exploration of the emotional and physical journeys of the characters through the use of vivid and descriptive language allows readers to connect with the characters on a personal level. The characters are all portrayed as individuals with their flaws, fears, and desires all of which add depth to the story.
Through the novel, Cline also introduces readers to the concept of augmented reality, a technology that is slowly becoming popular in this era of digital transformation. This technology is portrayed as an integral part of the story, and it is used to give readers a glimpse of what the world could become if it is used to combat the threat of alien invasion. By introducing this concept, the novel serves as a warning to readers, suggesting that it is important to be mindful and to use this technology responsibly.
Moreover, the novel also serves to remind readers that family bonds are extremely important and that even when things may seem dire, these relationships can help to weather any storm. Throughout the novel, Zack and his father's relationship is explored in a way that allows readers to understand how these bonds can be lasting and meaningful. Showing the importance of maintaining relationships with family and friends, the novel serves as a reminder that people are not alone in this world, and that companionship and support are essential.
Finally, the book with its scintillating imagery, use of hyperbolic humor, sometimes even in a ribald way, and telling narrative styles and techniques make it one of the most indispensable books to be read by a Sci-Fi reader.