ARMADA

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Ernest Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player One, shot the author to stardom. Not only did the book do very well indeed, it’s now being turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, helmed by Steven Spielberg. Part of the book’s appeal is that it’s peppered with pop-culture references and has a fast-paced, easy-to-get-into style. His second book, Armada, follows this seemingly winning formula very closely.

The plot follows the misadventures of Zack Lightman, a troubled teenager who is very good at video games. His father, also a gaming geek, died in a sewage explosion when he was very young, and Zack has inherited his dad’s full collection of '80s and '90s VHS tapes. He also owns his father’s pile of crazy-seeming notes about a Government conspiracy involving games. When Zack starts seeing video game-style spaceships in the sky, he begins to worry for his own sanity.

Armada is not the tense thriller you may suspect it is from the first 40 pages or so. It quickly moves into action movie territory, and this is slightly disappointing. It reads very much like an incredibly detailed movie pitch in places. The story structure follows the style of your typical popcorn-munching blockbuster, and it’s punctuated with the sort of big action sequences that would translate well into a big budget CGI-fest. The novel’s various heroes are also described in a way that would make them very easy to cast. It’s a good job that they’re easy to visualise as apart from that they’re pretty two-dimensional. For example, if Armada ever gets turned into a movie, it will fail the Bechdel test.

Cline has also filled Armada with video game and movie references. Every major character is some sort of geek, and most of them are quite happy to talk in a language composed of pop culture slang and movie quotes. This lends an air of fun to the story, but it gets quite tired quite quickly. Cline also feels the need to constantly point out various plot holes in the story. This is both foreshadowing and an attempt at maintaining the readers suspension of disbelief. This builds up reader expectations to an unmanageable level at times.

Armada is a solid sci-fi romp, written in a very relaxed style and is filled with lots of video game-style violence and crammed with pop-culture ideas and notes. If you’re looking for the  novel equivalent of bubblegum, then you’ll lap this up. Otherwise, just wait for the inevitable movie to come out.

ARMADA / AUTHOR: ERNEST CLINE / PUBLISHER: ARROW / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 11TH


Suggested Articles:
Having risen, rather like the series itself, out of the ashes of a company that last traded back in
When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he created a legend. Practically everyone knows the story of the vam
Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series continues as the last in a collection of nineteen short stories t
Let’s be clear from the start. A Conjuring of Light, the much anticipated third and final novel in
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

THE KEY TO TIME: ART OF COLIN HOWARD 26 February 2017

POWERS OF DARKNESS 24 February 2017

ANNO DRACULA 1899 AND OTHER STORIES 24 February 2017

A CONJURING OF LIGHT 23 February 2017

THE SONG RISING 21 February 2017

PSEUDOTOOTH 21 February 2017

THE CRUELTY 20 February 2017

SLOW BULLETS 18 February 2017

THE NINTH RAIN 14 February 2017

THIS YOUNG MONSTER 14 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
...