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