Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Goodreads Rating: 3.59
My Rating: 2.3 stars
Recommendations:  Get it from your local library; purchase only after you’ve read it.

What I Liked: Giving the me opportunity to use the gif as displayed below… Oh! And the schematics inside the hardcover book jacket.  That was a neat touch.
What I Didn’t Like: Reads much like a pop-culture-riddled-Fan-Fic of Ender’s Game/Every Other Major Scifi Story… 

Before we get too far into this, I do want to state that I loved Ready Player One by the same author.  I wonder if my opinion of this book was influenced in that he set the bar really high with R.P.O?

Don’t get me wrong, there were entire chunks of this book that I really wanted to know what was going to happen next.  I had a rather love/hate relationship with Armada.  I slammed through it, hoping and praying the Cline would throw out something original, something I hadn’t read/watched before.  Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  It was entertaining… kinda.  Just far too predictable.

The writing itself was decent.  Grammar and syntax on par.  But that’s about as far as I can go on such.  The rest of the aspects about the book were very much a let down.  I wasn’t a fan of the constant pop-culture references.  At least in Ready Player One, Cline was able to weave that stuff into the story.  This time it was incredibly over kill and seemed there just for padding.

There was next to no character development.  The plot, from cover to cover, took place over just a 24 hour period with a few flashes here and there as the protagonist reminisced.  All the characters were horribly cliche… All of them.

The main character, Zack Lightman (cough >_>), is your typical stand-up-against-the-school-bully nerd who’s tall and dashing.  He has daddy issues since his dad died when he was baby in a poop explosion accident.  His super hot mother never got over her love for her deceased husband.  Never tossed out anything that he had owned, which conveniently allowed the protagonist to have access to all the secret, seemingly-paranoid filled journals and such. Oh, and Zack apparently can’t have internal dialogue without referencing any and all scifi movies/books/games/etc that his father had been obsessed with… In fact, I’m not sure that kid had any real feelings.  It was always “this must have been how Luke Skywalker felt during blah blah blah”.really

His best friends, and most of the other characters in the boo, are exactly what you’d think: there just for comic relief/filler.  Zack’s boss is the owner/operator the local video game store where they don’t actually work.  They just play video games all day and debate scifi stuff. You really don’t get to know anyone.

The two main games in the story, Terra Firma and Armada, also sounded too perfect.  If you ranked up high enough, they waived your monthly fee and there were no micro-transactions.  WHAT MMO DOESN’T HAVE MICRO-TRANSACTIONS?!  C’MON!! What any-kind-of-game doesn’t have some form of micro-transactions anymore?

The rest of the side characters really weren’t anything special either.  Of course he falls for the first girl he meets once things get rolling.  Of course, she’s some super hacker, super hot, and way super awesome.  Of course, she instantly falls for him too.  Of course, there’s more to the alien invasion than meets the eye.  The government was secretly training people via video games to be able to fight the alien invasion… of course they were hiding other stuff too.  Of course, Lightman was the one to do something about it once someone explained the secret plot to him in incredible detail. Of course, someone saves his ass at just right the moment so he can go on to save the planet… multiple times.

Some character’s died, but they’re exactly who you’re going to expect to die.  It was hard to feel sad over anyone’s death.  An example of the cliche characters is AtomicMom, the one non-teenager,non-government-player Elite Gamer.  Of course, she was a single mother of boys, that worked as the school librarian, that also flinched any time anyone cussed, and that prayed at meals and before launches… >_> I know female gamers.  They certainly aren’t anything like Ms. Debbie.

DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE EPILOGUE! OMG… that has to be the worst ending of a book I have ever read.


Have you read it yet?  Let me know what you think.  I really feel like I must have missed something major… this book couldn’t be that much of a disappointment. (Also, let me know what you think of this review… I wrote it while fuming over Armada…)signature 1


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