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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Armada is a humorous science-fiction adventure about an alien invasion. As in Ernest Cline's previous book, Ready Player One, the text is full of references to popular culture, especially movies, sci-fi, and music from the '80s.The violence is mostly limited to starship battles, although there's a shoot-out in which a main character is wounded. Casual swearing occurs throughout, including "damn," "hell," "asses," "a--hole," "bitch," and variants of "f--k." Instances of lovemaking are implied rather than shown. Two teens take sips from a hidden flask of alcohol.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
When high school senior and gamer Zack Lightman spots a UFO outside his window, he thinks he might be hallucinating. But when he's recruited later that day by the Earth Defense Alliance to repel an alien invasion, he knows the threat is all too real. Although skilled at piloting digital starships online, Zack needs to prepare himself for real-life combat at a military base on the dark side of the moon. In the process, he learns some long-hidden family secrets, but even bigger surprises await him as the countdown to battle ticks away.
Is it any good?
For anyone who enjoys sitting down and picking apart the logical inconsistencies in favorite movies or TV shows, this is the perfect book. But if you're not interested in the minutiae of video game history and sci-fi lore, Armada may be a tougher read than Ernest Cline's earlier novel, Ready Player One.
The setup doesn't feel as fresh, the battle scenes seem repetitive, and the big reveal at the end disappoints. There's still plenty to like, though: funny gags, an engaging narrator/protagonist, some thrilling action scenes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how video games have become an important part of pop culture. Why are online games so popular? What does the medium offer that others don't?
What kinds of sacrifices do parents have to make in military families? How might it feel to be a child whose parent is stationed in a dangerous area overseas? What can be done to support such families?
Do governments ever lie to their citizens? Why might they do so? Is concealing important information from the public ever justified?
- Author: Ernest Cline
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
- Publication date: July 14, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.