Ernest Cline released his sophomore novel, Armada, in July 2015. The science fiction book follows much of the same formula of his successful first novel, Ready Player One. Using structured plot premise, littered with pop culture references, topped with talented execution. Creating another story that reads like an epic film.
Almost a retelling of movies like The Last Starfighter or Enders Game, Armada is based off an elite video gamer being recruited into a real life battle of his favorite game. Mixed with the emotional loss of his father young, protagonist Zack Lightman comes of age in this tale. Lined with an undertone of everything not being what you expect, the book is not as predictable as the synopsis makes it seem. With a fulfilling, yet rushed conclusion, Armada builds a world and wraps it up well.
What was really enjoyable was Mr. Clines creation of the video game, spaceships and alien enemy. The endless science fiction references mixed with his talent, creates honest imagery. Unfortunately the characters were a little dry and one dimensional. I tried so hard not to compare this book to Ready Player One as I read through, yet it was hard to ignore Zach as a repeat of the main character from his debut novel.
I have to say Armada fell a little flat for me. 3/5 I am happy I read it, though it failed to captivate me and I feel I gained nothing from the experience. I will recommend this story as a quick, fun, stand alone for nerds of 80-90’s science fiction. I believe Armada would make a great movie, which is supposedly in the works. In which case we may be in for a new cult classic, based on execution of course.
Thanks booknerds; ‘you’re welcome’.