I really tried to like this. I really liked Ready Player One — in fact, that was probably one of the best books I read all year. In fact, I almost used an Audible credit to purchase Armada, since I liked the audio version of Ready Player One so much (both read by Wil Wheaton). Luckily, the library had Armada available, and I was able to find out for free that Cline couldn’t duplicate the magic of his debut.
“I had been hoping and waiting for some mind-blowingly fantastic, world-altering event to finally shatter the endless monotony of my public education.”
And he gets it. Staring out the window of his classroom one day, Zack Lightman recognizes, hovering in the sky, a spaceship from one of his favorite video games. He rushes home, eager to reread the journals that his game-loving father left behind when he died 18 years prior. Zack’s father had this crazy theory that all video games were created to train gamers to fight in the event of a real invasion. And it turns out, he was right.
It should have been a great read — I like video games, and of course, quite of bit of this recalls Ender’s Game, one of my all-time favorite series. But I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t really like Zack, the other characters didn’t get very well fleshed out, the conspiracy theory thing seemed too…easy. I don’t know. The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking “I don’t really like this, but I’m not sure why.”
The book definitely has some good moments, such as the dialogue below (which totally cracked me up). But overall, I came away pretty disappointed.
“Shit!” I heard Diehl shout over the comm. “I just lost my gorram shields because I’m already out of frakkin’ power!”
“Dude,” Cruz said. “You shouldn’t mix swears from different universes.”