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Armada: A Novel Hardcover – July 14, 2015
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“A thrilling coming-of-age story.”
“Nerd-gasmic…another science fiction tale with a Comic-Con's worth of pop-culture shout-outs.”
“An amazing novel [that] proves Cline has the ability to blend popular culture with exciting stories that appeal to everyone.”
“Mixes Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, Independence Day and a really gnarly round of Space Invaders into a tasty sci-fi stew.”
“A fantastic second novel…fans of Ready Player One, it is time to rejoice.”
“A joyous, rollicking read…will garner Cline an even larger group of fans than the formidable crew he’s already assembled.”
“A great romp…Cline (ever the fanboy) is both reverent of and referential to the books and movies and games of his childhood.”
“Video games come to life in this witty, extraterrestrial thriller.”
—New York Post
“Built like a summer blockbuster…Cline recombines the DNA of Ender’s Game, Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, and old-school arcade games like Asteroids into something that’s both familiar and unpredictable. It’s a mutant homage to sci-fi tropes past.”
"Hugely entertaining…a paean to the videogames of a bygone era, and like Ready Player One it is a tremendous amount of fun for anyone who remembers that time and played those games."
–George R.R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Game of Thrones
"A novel so fun, you'll want to reboot it and read it again…the best novel this gamer geek has read in a long, long time."
—Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
"Those conspiracies you imagined when you were fourteen turn out to be true in this masterful tale of Earth's desperate struggle against a powerful alien foe."
—Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian
"Armada proves Ernie Cline is the modern master of wish fulfillment literature - and of reminding us to be careful what we wish for."
—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War
“With another winning teen protagonist in Zach, Cline mines the nostalgia and geek spheres just as successfully as he did in his acclaimed debut, Ready Player One. The works that obviously influenced the story line, such as Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and the films The Last Starfighter and Star Wars, feel like homages rather than borrowings- a rap artist sampling the best beats our there to create an irresistible jam.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Cline once again brings crackling humor and fanboy knowledge to a zesty, crowd-pleasing, countdown-clock, save-the-planet tale featuring an unlikely hero, adrenaline-pumping action, gawky romance, and touching family moments.…Cline’s sly, mind-twisting premise and energetically depicted and electrifying high-tech battles make for smart, frenetic, and satisfying entertainment.”
—Booklist, starred review
Praise for Ready Player One:
“Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. Its geeky characters are geeky cool. And its action is imaginative, always cinematic.[Cline] even weaves a sweet romance into this hero-vs.-villain tale.”
“The grown-up's 'Harry Potter’…the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline's world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all.”
“A rollicking, surprise-laden, potboiling, thrilling adventure story...the best science-fiction novel I’ve read in a decade.”
“Ridiculously fun and large-hearted… Cline is that rare writer who can translate his own dorky enthusiasms into prose that's both hilarious and compassionate. You'll wish you could make it go on and on."
“A smart, funny thriller that both celebrates and critiques online culture... layered with inside jokes and sly references.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“An addictive read… part intergalactic scavenger hunt, part romance and all heart.”
“Incredibly entertaining…a geek fantasia, ‘80s culture memoir and commentary on the future of online behavior all at once.”
About the Author
ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.
Top customer reviews
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. As an armed forces member myself, the blatant disregard of proper military customs and courtesies was appalling to say the least. Captains saluting lieutenants, same ranked individuals saluting each other, and admirals being higher ranking than generals were just a few of the gaffes I suffered through as Cline attempted to depict the Earth Defense Alliance as an actual military organization. There is no excuse for not having this nailed down as the author's brother is a marine I believe.
And then lastly, the actual flying/dog-fighting/drone-killing sequences were complete snooze-fests as the protagonist and company shoot down mindless legions of spacecraft in a very predictable manner. In fact, once you read through the first battle scene, the rest of them are pretty much carbon copy showdowns of what happened previously. Also, due to the very nature of the plot design, there was always a lack of suspense in each battle (without giving too much away, think of the whole issue of "drone-fighting" as it relates to our current engagement in conflicts around the world)
The only slightly redeeming quality was found in a neatly packaged (albeit predictable) ending that set the stage for a possible sequel while avoiding the all too popular "cliffhanger/unexplained plot holes" trap. The book is also a fairly quick read, though I almost abandoned finishing it multiple times due to sheer boredom. I hope Cline's next book restores him to the former glory of Ready Player One, but until then, I recommend you pass on this dud and re-read Ender's Game for a much better experience.
All said, I was a bit disappointed in this book. More because it didn't live up to the greatness of Ready Player One, which had it's flaws in terms of writing, but those could be overlooked due to the fresh nature of the story and style. In a lot of ways it felt like Ernest Cline did not progress and grow as a writer between books, which is disappointing.
Also, some of the pop culture references will date it badly in a few years. So don't postpone reading it for too long.
The premise for Armada is nice. Don't get me wrong, and certain parts of its execution are really well done. However since part of the idea that the World Governments are running this whole op then there should be some reasonable order to it. For example there were reasons for the stupidly hilarious post apocalyptic internet ridden world of Ready Player One. For that matter the nerd dialogue is overdone. I sort of feel like he got a license to say whatever stupid nerd thing he wanted and half of them should have been cut.
First off the main character. I know the last Cline character was a fat kid who transformed his life so we might as well have this new character be different. So he is supposed to be a badass shut in of sorts, but it doesn't compile well and he just doesn't come off as believable. Actually the romance (which otherwise functions with the plot) is just so awkward it makes the character even less believable. Maybe that is just intended to be an intentional pipe dream but a few shifted details and it would have been buyable.
It makes fun of stuff like the last starfigher while making many of the same mistakes.
Ranks are treated like they are in a video game where rank correlates to badassery with perhaps some of the perks of real rank? As in superiors are superiors, but no one really give orders or cares. In other words next to no teamwork that you see in coordinated militaries. Any effort to militarize the planet would have some level of coordination.
Perfect opportunity to have conversation about being manipulated into sign up for the defense of earth only to never mention it.
Minor fail. When the world decides to spread all of the best technology to everyone on the planet no one goes to war with each other or really makes a big deal. I know this is in the background, but a little shout out would be nice. Maybe that is just the geopolitical nerd in me.
Bigger spoilers past here so be proceed at your own risk.
Waste of a damn moon base. As in they have a moon base, but rather than have multiple moon bases or stationing more people there they just have the aces. Not a bad spot but they probably could have spread the aces out in a strategic manner or at least given them backup.
I can kind of go either way on the Fathers death, but it wasn't strictly necessary. Though at least it was done with flare.
Still might make a decent movie if they clean it up. Also wacky commentary on Aliens but again poorly executed.