Written by Beth Winters
So, "Armada." Sorry, Ernest Cline, but what a letdown. There are many ways in which this book could be great, but it fizzles.
After reading "Ready Player One" just a few weeks ago, I was more than excited to learn that "Armada" would be dropped (and that Cline would be there to sign ARCs at Book Expo America (BEA) this year—once BEA ended, I earmarked Armada as “to be read ASAP”). A week and many eye rolls later, I finished the book.
"Armada" was similar to "Ready Player One" in that it includes many obscure 80s references, which make both books quirky. But there are so many things wrong with "Armada."
To begin, aside from the main character, Zach, the characters are not very developed. They all seem a bit like caricatures. Cline spends so much time trying to develop Zack that side characters (like Zack’s mom, his best friends and his boss) are left underdeveloped and thus uninteresting.
Also, there is way too much explanation of what everything is. The technology talk regarding the Armada game is a bit too dense. It was not until around page 250 that I fully understood how the game works. Then Cline adds a whole other dimension to what is happening, making the situation that much more confusing—the aliens Earth is supposedly fighting against get their own 10-page explanation.
Do not even get me started on the cop-out that composes the end of the story. Cline spends the entire book working towards a great climax, but the story comes to a raging halt.
Do not get me wrong. There are definitely sections that do need abundant detail, but overall there is just too much explanation and not enough action. If there was actual character development and a little less complicated technology talk, this book would have been amazing.
In the end, I would recommend "Armada" to those who love 80s references, those who like nerdy books, those who like many explanations of circumstances in the story and those who are big fans of Cline.
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication date: July 14, 2015
Page count: 368
List price: $26
Nominations: 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Nominee for Science Fiction
Book type: Advanced Reader’s Copy from BEA
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