Book Reviews

Armada by Ernest Cline

ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this one on audio read by Wil Wheaton, and he did a great job. The story brings excellent gamers from all over the country and Wil does a fantasic job of portraying the characters with different accents and personalities. I was inspired to read this book after reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, and while they are both super fun reads, I did find it a little less enjoyable.

Armada has the same use of 80s pop culture references, this time by connecting a son with his deceased father, but there were fewer references and more of a focus on the history of gaming than the future of the internet like Ready Player One. Someone with an interest in gaming and scifi movies would probably prefer Armada based on that.

What would you do if one day you discovered that everything you were taught from scifi movies and books was based on fact and the video games you’ve been playing were trainng you to fight for the survival of all mankind? This book is a love letter to Ender’s Game, The Last Starfighter, Contact, and other great science fiction pop culture elements. My only criticism is the lack of character development. The story was so fast-paced that we don’t really get to know and love our characters before everything starts moving.
While Ready Player One is being made into a movie, I feel like Armada would do well as a TV show. Armada introduces many fascinating characters, too many to really enjoy in such a short period. Zack is a likable guy, but his flirtation with his love interest comes and goes so quickly. His mom has been through a lot and I would have liked more time with her. We could have experienced some amazing flashbacks with Zack’s father. I want to know the story of the comic book store owner, living so long with his secret, and of course, there is so much that could be done on the moon base with the rest of the game players. I guess if your main criticism with a story is that there isn’t enough of it, the author must be doing something right. A TV show, maybe, please?

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