Book Review: “Armada” — Ernest Cline (2015)

Trying something with Goodreads. Let’s see how this works out:

ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Alien invasions! Video games! Loner angry kid with single mom as hero! Sci-fi, fantasy, action movie references! Wish fulfillment 101, get your seats, buckle up, and hang on for the ride of your life!

I refuse to compare this novel, despite its obvious similarities (and tropes and over reliance on pop culture beats) with “Ready Player One”, a book which I really, *really* enjoyed. A story should rise or fall on its own merits/demerits, and so be it.

That said… “Armada” simply didn’t work. It was clunky, ham-fisted, a bit too pleased with itself, relied on way too much plot contrivance that my eyes got tired of rolling, and do I even need to mention the Deus LEX Machina to push the storyline along when needed? No spoilers, but you’ll know it when/if you read it.

The book is squarely rooted in YA-territory, which is fine. But the flaws I listed above, combined with an ending that felt rushed and entirely unfulfilling, left me cold and disappointed. Young adults probably deserve something a little meatier.

Cline’s world-building strengths are on clear display in this book; the careful construction of the events and rules of his universe helped keep my interest afloat throughout its quick reading time. But in the end, it didn’t amount to much of anything.

Disappointed? Very much so, but I’ll definitely be reading his next book because I know he can do better.

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