Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Armada by Ernest Cline

I loved Ready Player One, so I was keen to read Armada.  Unfortunately, I only thought it was okay. 

Armada is unrelated to Ready Player One.  Well, there are similarities:  gamers and 80's pop culture are prevalent in both.  However, in Armada, we start in the now whereas Ready Player One is in the future.  Zack, our main character, is 18 and a big gamer.  Other than that, he's not sure what he wants out of life.  One day, he sees a ship from his favorite game, Armada, in which he's ranked number 6 world-wide, in the sky in real life.  At first, he thinks maybe he's going crazy.  After all, he's found some evidence that his deceased father was kind of crazy.  Maybe it's genetic.  But, then, the next day, he's picked up by a friendly ship and taken off to battle for the future of the earth. 

I more or less liked Armada, but I found more faults with it.  Many of the possible plot holes are pointed out and addressed in the book, but the basic premise of a vast conspiracy in which we, earthlings, are united against a common enemy, have been for decades and are technologically much more advanced than we seem to be was an issue for me.  It's simply unbelievable.  I was more or less willing to set that aside for the story, but it niggled at me.

I also got very frustrated with Zack who has an anger issue and made some really stupid choices when he let his temper get away from him.  Of course, having faults makes characters more real, but it didn't endear me to Zack or the story.

I found my attention wandering more while reading Armada than while reading Ready Player One.  I'm not totally sure why that was except I think maybe there was more information dumping about things I didn't really care about.  Whatever it was, I often found myself reading something without being quite sure how we got there and having to go back and re-read the last page.  To have that happen as many times as it did with Armada is unusual for me. 

It seems likely, given the ending, that there will be a sequel.  I am willing to give that a shot.  I think that we've got the universe built now and can move on and I'm willing to gamble that I'll enjoy that.

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