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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Armada

Armada is Ernest Cline's love letter to the 1980s media, including video games and movies.His first novel, Ready Player One was also from the same mold, so if you read that novel and wished for more, well, here it is.

Treading the same waters is a dangerous game, but Cline pulls it off. The plot is a remix of The Last Starfighter, where video games are used as a testing ground to train and recruit fighter pilots (and mech warriors) for a secretly planned war against an alien invasion. Except this is updated to modern times, where it's a MMO shared world shooter.

The twist that Cline adds is that all the obvious plot-holes of The Last Starfighter are covered. Cline covers all these issues in a fun and straightforward way, with the protagonist constantly questioning the underlying premise he's presented with. The net result is that you never feel like you're being taken for a fool, while Cline still gets to throw in all the fun and important action hijinks that's a crowd-pleaser.

Nevertheless, the entire novel still feels like a re-tread. If Ready Player One satisfied your 80s nostalgia, there's no need to read this book. It's fun, but it does feel a bit too obviously an attempt to repeat the prior success without adding a whole lot.

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