Armada by Ernest Cline is the second book from an author who showed a promising start with Ready Player One. Nancy and I both read and enjoyed his debut. Apparently, a bunch of folks did as it was a bestseller and has already been developed for a movie by Steven Spielberg. I had high hopes for Mr. Cline’s second effort. He has a knack for blending video games and popular culture into a fun adventure. Would he be able to recapture the excitement?
In a word, somewhat. Armada is packed with some great elements: fast-paced intergalactic space battles, underdog antagonists, and a regular flow of big twists and surprises. The pacing for me was way off. There entire story occurs mostly in a few days which is just too fast for my liking to develop the story and to immerse yourself in rise and fall of the characters on the page. The characters, as a whole, just don’t have me hoping and cheering along the way. And the fun elements of Ready Player One really felt forced and fell flat for me this time around.
The main character Zach Lightman is a high school senior on the verge of graduation when some abnormal things begin happening in his sleepy town. It seems as though an alien invasion is upon them but the real surprise is that the alien spacecraft looks exactly like the enemy ships in Zach’s favorite video game. His mother and friends and the wider world are dragged into the conflict. It’s difficult to say much more about the book without some level of plot ruining. Let me just say that Zach gets the chance to be the classic (played-out?) reluctant hero. How does the fast-paced arc of the character from bored teen to space pilot play out? I do recommend Armada as a worthwhile read. I wouldn’t consider it a compelling page-turner, but perhaps it would be an advantage to those of you who haven’t read the first book to read Armada first instead. Then you won’t feel compelled like me to keep comparing the two unfavorably and go in with a fresh mind. Please chime in if you’ve read either book and share in the comments section.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.