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The Armada Paperback – August 1, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 1,792 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Garrett Mattingly (1900–1962) was a historian, educator, and best-selling author. He served with the U.S. Navy in World War II and in 1948 joined the faculty of Columbia University, where he taught European history.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618565914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618565917
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,792 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh boy. Where do I begin with this one? I really wanted to like this book, especially given I am such a fan of Cline's "Ready Player One." But after forcing myself to the end of this mind-numbingly boring and unimaginative story of clichéd alien conquest, I can't help but feel extremely disappointed.

For one, the blatant rip off of ideas from "Ender's Game" made me cringe as I consider this book to be a much less engrossing and developed adventure than Orson Scott Card's classic. I understand the concept of paying tribute and drawing inspiration from previous works, but Armada takes ideas from great works of science fiction and then inserts cheesy, one-dimensional, and predictable characters into its storyline.

Speaking of characters, the protagonist is just so darn unlikeable, that I can't stand it! An angry-at-the-world, oppositional defiant, geeked out gamer with daddy issues has got to be one of the most unappealing hodgepodge of character traits you can place into a protagonist. Sometimes a story can be saved by really well developed supporting characters, but there are none to be found in this book. There are so many one-dimensional archetypes in this book that it was impossible to develop an attachment to any character whatsoever. All the love interests are completely forced and the romantic dialogue (and I'm being generous by calling it "romantic") sounds like stuff you would read in cheap Valentines Day cards. Heck, the old school "do you like me, check yes or no" is more romantic than any love scene this book has to offer.

Another area of insult to me was in dealing with the military rank structure as portrayed in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don’t know what publisher wrote the Amazon’s description for Armada but it’s terribly misleading.

Armada’s only subversion is the way that Cline bucks against the works of sci-fi greats by only using tired character stereotypes to populate the story. Everyone is flat, unendearing, and so painfully boring as to make Wade Watts from Ready Player One look like Daniel Plainview from There Will be Blood. The inter-character dialog is so simplistic and unrealistic that it could almost be mistaken for satire. There are a few moments where it almost seems natural but the vast majority comes off as childish.

Nor it here anything in the least that qualifies as thrilling. There’s no suspense as major events and twists are literally mused over chapters in advance of when they actually happen. Not once, not twice, but three times with every major plot point. Not to mention Cline constantly references the stories Armada takes inspiration from with a wink wink, nudge nudge.

Cline also managed to take the multitude of references peppered though RPO and remove any meaning or plot importance. They’re now merely shoehorned side notes that overwhelm with the blunt force of a hammer. Many of these references come in twos, a single sentence where the the subject is compared to two separate pop culture references at the same time.

After enjoying Ready Player One several times it's heartbreaking to see how badly Armada missed the mark.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved Ready Player One and I wanted to love Ernest Cline’s new book Armada just as much. Unfortunately, I did not. (I apologize to Mr. Cline for comparing his second book to his first, but it’s just the easiest way to review the book.)

Ready Player One was original and inventive. Armada is neither, and it is very predictable. It’s so predictable that I thought it would surely end in another way, as the author points us so strongly in the direction of the predicted ending. Plot points along the way were also predictable, and Armada falls back on tired clichés (like the school bully accompanied by his two “big and dumb” thugs).

I totally bought into the world of Ready Player One. I can fully imagine our world disintegrating into the chaos of Ready Player One by 2044. I did not buy into the world of Armada, which is set in 2018. The whole scenario – sentient beings on a moon within our own solar system, a secret plan to prepare all of Earth’s citizens for war through popular culture and video games – did not seem plausible. I felt like I was reading a script for a forgettable alien invasion movie. I did not get caught up in Zack’s world.

Zack was also not nearly as likeable as Wade from Ready Player One, and Zack’s band of compatriots felt clichéd (African-American, check; gay, check; middle-aged, check; Asian, check).

I’m not a gamer, but that bothered me not a bit in Ready Player One. The gaming in Armada is much more focused on one type – “space invader” shooting games. I was bored by the long descriptions of game playing and combat.

The popular culture references in Armada feel forced.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought Ready Player One was a good, but not great, book. It was basically a novel-length stunt (let's imagine a world in which geek skills from the 80s are the key to success!), but it was well executed, and the stunt was fresh.

Armada tries the same stunt, but it fails horribly. As many others have already noted, it's basically a very light spin on The Last Starfighter. Cline creates an in-universe justification for the rip-off (basically, that The Last Straighter and other sic-fi movies were all attempts to prepare humanity for the events covered in Armada), but it doesn't make the story any less of a rip-off.

But still, Armada's derivativeness (of RPO, tonally, and The Last Starfighter, plot-wise) wouldn't necessarily make Armada a failure, if it had been executed well, or even competently. But it's not. The characters are tissue thin, and the dialogue is horrible. I like the occasional reference to dialogue from Star Wars, Aliens, Star Trek, etc. just fine, but Cline pushes it so far that at times I wondered if he was actively satirizing himself. There are pages where almost every line is a call-out to some sci-fi/fantasy movie or another. It was so over the top that it prevented me from ever thinking these characters might be real people (because nobody talks that way), as opposed to plot devices for Cline to show off more of his geek knowledge.

The female characters -- and I use the word "characters" advisedly -- are particularly awful. There are only two of them, really, and they're both so cliche that, again, it almost feels like a satire of shallow female characters in science fiction. There's Zack's mom, aka Manic Pixie Dream Mom, who is (1) hot; (2) brave; (3) geeky; (4) cool; and (5) utterly devoted to Zack.
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