By Ernest Cline
I should start by saying I really enjoyed Ready Player One, Mr. Cline’s previous and perhaps more famous novel. That was the reason I picked up Armada. So let me bottom line you here: If you liked Ready Player One, you’ll like Armada too. If you didn’t then you’ll probably feel the way I describe below.
Armada is very conscious that it is essentially a b-movie plot. Alternatively, perhaps more accurately, it is a video game story plot. The entire book has references to the fact that this plot doesn’t make sense because it isn’t logical. The antagonist(s) act exactly like a game enemy, including boss levels and escalating difficulty. Quite self consciously.
People who love the genre will be happy that the protagonist/gamer/hero figures out why that is and saves the day. Those who don’t will find that the story is still just a b-grade plot with a twist.
I am more in the former camp,than the latter. That is because Cline is really good at getting your interest by referencing movies, tv shows,music, and games. The reference are to stuff that any video game and/or sci-fi movie geek older than thirty (arguably) remembers with intense fondness. This is how Cline hooks you in – via that nostalgia.
Just like Ready Player One.
So, Armada is candy. It is pure video game entertainment. You don’t have to digest much. You just have to think back in fondness and experience the fun with the protagonist. Pick up your popcorn, jujubees, and rasinettes, and enjoy the story.
Or just wait for the movie, I’m sure it will become one.