I loved Ready Player One: it was unique and clever and while the constant eighties references got repetitive it made some contextual sense. I was aware that Armada, Cline’s follow up to Ready Player One, was not as well received as his debut but was willing to give it a try.
Zack Lightman lives outside of Portland, Oregon in the near future. He spends his time playing video games with his friends or working at the local second hand video game store. His favorite game, Armada, is about an alien species coming to wipe out the citizens of Earth using drones. Zack is excellent video game drone pilot, he is ranked 6th in the world. One day he sees what looks like an alien drone outside of his school and his world begins to spin out of control as he discovers that Armada is not just a video game.
“I knew there was probably life elsewhere. But given the vast size and age of the universe, I also knew how astronomically unlikely it was we would ever make contact with it, much less within the narrow window of my own lifetime. We were all probably stuck here for the duration, on the third rock from our sun. Boldly going extinct.”
This books was ridiculous. That’s the best descriptions I can come up with and I can’t properly complain without unloading tons of spoilers.
Obviously I will take anything involving alien invasions with a grain of salt but…
This whole story takes place in like 36 hours. Zack gets from Orgeon, to the first EDA base in Nebraska, to the MOON and back to Oregon in the span of like 20 hours. I know there was some half assed explanation for this but it was pretty week. Why couldn’t they just stretch the time line out to a week or something?
Everyone is amazing at everything. Zack is our protagonist, he clearly establishes that he is a top ranked drone pilot for the video game, so I’ll accept that reality but all the hacking that Lex manages to do (again in less than a day) for her own benefit as well as Zack’s was a bit over kill.
Also, Zack wasn’t very likable, his main character trait besides being a good pilot was his short fused temper, and no one else had much of a plot outside of Zack’s story line.
So General Lightman was recruited (or forced) by the Earth Defense Alliance to help fight against the Europans. He faked his death (a theme in my last two reads) and was sent to the Moon. Where he lived, without any shore leave, for almost two decades. Again there is a quick explanation for why his spine isn’t jelly but even if he was a flight risk your telling me he wasn’t allowed to set foot on Earth ever in 18 years? Even if it was just on another EDA compound???
When General Lightman rigged four Athids to carry his wounded body into his final showdown with Vance made me laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the image. Who was this guy? John McClain McGuyver?
Most importantly the conspiracy theory was just too easy. It just felt cheap. A quick way to make the two Lightmans smarter than everyone else and to give Earth a way to win despite being outgunned- plus we all got a lesson!
And give yourself a cookie if you predicted Mrs. Lightman would get pregnant after her one night stand with her long lost husband! *eats cookie*