Review: Armada – Cool premise, cool dustjacket, wish the book were better

Armada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pop culture fans of the 80s rejoice: ARMADA is an entertaining book. To me, it’s close to being the written equivalent of FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR. It’s fun; it’s campy.


Don’t expect big plot twists or ENDER’S GAME quality characters. There’s no subtle foreshadowing or emotionally-driven dialogue: it’s easy-going from point A to B, in three sections. Ernest Cline delivers exactly what the description says: a high school kid gets to live out his favorite video game of defending the world against aliens.

I’m going in with the disadvantage of never reading READY PLAYER ONE (RPO). It has been on my shelf for over a year, but other books kept getting precedent. Reading other reviews of ARMADA, it sounds like I need to go back and read RPO—immediately! The pop culture references were a lot of fun in this book; I’ve heard there is so much more in RPO.


The references in ARMADA seem geared toward one type of person: those like me, who grew up playing video games and watching STAR WARS. Everything from the mother looking like Sarah Connors to his buddies yelling out, “Leeerrrrooyyy Jenkins!”. That was all fun. I just wish it wasn’t used to cover up the straight-forward plot. A dynamic plot full of these references would have made this an easy 5-star book.

The writing style is flat. This feels like a movie script writer trying to write a novel. It’s obvious Cline had a lot of fun with this (as they reader will witness), but the writing wasn’t as crisp or passionate as a dedicated novelist would produce.

I’d be remiss not to mention the beautiful dustjacket: both outside and in. Open up the book and you’ll find an awesome blueprint design of the ship featured in this book. Very cool!


Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing this book for my review. It was fun and just enough to get me to finally give RPO a try.

You can see the other reviews and the preview of the book on Amazon, here: Armada: A Novel

Happy Reading!!


9 thoughts on “Review: Armada – Cool premise, cool dustjacket, wish the book were better

    1. ryandejonghe Post author

      If I had to choose one, I heard RPO is the best. This is straightforward, but still fun. And you’re right, I’m going to check all my dust jackets now. I think David Mitchell’s last had an intricate interior.

  1. leahwritessometimes

    I was going to read this because I love Ready Player One but I’m not sure I will anymore as the general consensus seems to be that it isn’t great!

  2. Thuong Le

    I read Ready Player One earlier this year and I liked it but not as much as everyone else did. It may be because I’m not into video games. The only game I like when I was younger was Mario Bros! But I think the upcoming film will be really interesting, as it will be directed by Steven Spielberg! Nice review on Armada. I’m going to give this one a miss. However, the design and the dust jacket looks really cool 🙂

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  4. abOOkishOwl

    i love ready player one. actually, i listened to the audiobook and so i think will wheaton has got to do with my love for the book. i agree about the writing style of cline. i think i could say that about him regarding rpo as well. ive been excited about getting my hands on this book, especially with those photos you got. i think its safe for me since i got to read rpo first. thanks! strong review 😀

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