Oh dear. I’m going to keep this exceptionally short, as I don’t really have anything good to say.
Like many of you, I really, really wanted to like this one. I tried really hard to keep Ready Player One out of my mind, and I tried not to compare the two while I was reading this one.
And for almost half of Armada, I was ok. I was annoyed, and yes, I realized that this one wasn’t as good as RPO, but I was still sort of having fun.
And then everyone went to the moon, and all the stuff with Zack’s dead dad happened, and all the space fighting, and whatnot. And I was all set.
This book annoyed me. So much.
What was fun and cute in RPO was annoying and trite here. All of the unnecessary pop culture references really got on my nerves in a big way. I felt like Cline was using some sort of macro, where every 50 words or so, he would insert some pop culture, sci fi mumbo jumbo, whether it fit, or not. It was overwhelming and distracting. And just plain annoying.
And the battle scenes? Equally annoying. Made up terminology, and hard to understand battle plans. I’m no scientist, but I can’t grasp how anything — no matter how super-alien-amazing the technology is — can fly to the moons of Jupiter in a matter of minutes. Annoying.
Really, I’m just so annoyed.
Look, I’m not going to write Ernest Cline off just yet. I just think he needs to find a new hook. Not everything needs to have a nerdy soundtrack and snappy dialogue that has hidden Aliens easter eggs in it. Sometimes a story can just be a story, and that’s enough for me.