Armada by Ernest Cline
Disappointed is an Understatement…
Oh, I’m so disappointed.
I’ve been waiting for Armada for months and months—and it’s a stinker. I was looking for the same magic I found in Ready Player One. What I found was a cool story sacrificed for something that will be easy to turn into a movie. What’s left behind is a clunky novel with no heart and a lot of fun pop culture Easter eggs.
Here’s what I liked:
The story was cool.
It was fun to see how many of the nerdy 80’s music, movies, and video game references I knew without having to look it up.
That’s it. Everything else sucked.
Reading Armada felt exactly like watching a subpar movie adaptation of a really great book. The whole plot—from start to finish—happens in less than 24 hours. There was zero effort to give the reader any reason to care about the characters. Seriously, I’ve never read a book that made less of an attempt at character development. I just finished the thing, and honestly I couldn’t tell you their names, and I don’t ever care enough to go look them up. The story was full of potential that was never realized. Everything just moved to fast to work. This book should have been twice as long.
The language was horrible, unexpected, and without purpose. I get that there might be times when a well placed f-bomb can add feeling and mood to the narrative. In those situations, it’s justified by the gravity of the situation or it fits the characters personality appropriately. There is no justification for the use of profanity in Armada. It is frequent, out of character, misplaced, and detracts from the story.
That about sums it up for the negatives. Pretty damning if you ask me. No plot or character development—not poor development, NO development—and lazy writing.
Certainly the disappointment I’m feeling is magnified for me. I had expectations built up pretty high. I can’t help but feel like I was robbed of a brilliant story by an author who decided it was more financially beneficial to write a movie instead of a book.
I say give him what he wants. Skip the book and wait for the movie.