Armada Review: Big Summer Popcorn Book

A few years ago Ernest Cline released a modern classic, Ready Player One. RPO continues to be a hit and the book resonates with my generation in a way that few books have. Cline wove a tale that is relevant while still giving nods to the pieces of my childhood that helped to shape me into the person that I am. From early home computer programming, to gaming and comic book morality tales, RPO pushed all of my buttons, and the buttons of a whole generation.

That’s not an easy mantle to wear, I’m sure, and when his follow up book Armada was announced, people immediately started talking about a follow up to Ready Player One. But Cline never promised that Armada would be a sequel to RPO. The book has been out for a week now and already fandom have started posting their disappointment with negative reviews.

I got the audiobook from Audible on release day. I listen to tons of audiobooks, they’re a dream come true for people with dyslexia. Wil Wheaton narrated Armada with the same skill that he narrated RPO, bringing to life the nuance of all the geek inside jokes.

I did not come to Armada with the expectation that it would be RPO 2.0. I listened to some interviews with Cline ahead of time and knew that this was a completely different book. So I let the book be what it is, a big summer blockbuster popcorn reading experience. There is lots of action, geek references, a fast paced plot, and plenty of humor. What you won’t find here is a serious treatise on the depths of human interpersonal relationships, although there is plenty of character development. In the end, that’s not what this book is about.

Every summer people flock in droves to the cinema and plop down hundreds of millions of dollars to see big explosions, gun fights, super heroes save the day, and Liam Neeson save his daughter from kidnappers one… more…time. We all know how these movies are going to end, yet we still go and we still give them our money. That’s what we expect from big summer movies. The movie industry calls them tent pole movies for a reason. Think of Armada as one of those. And besides, was anyone surprised when the rebels blew up the Death Star at the end of Star Wars? No, we all cheered even though we knew the good guys would save the day. Duh.

Don’t try to hang deep literary meaning on it, but instead enjoy the story for what it is and put it down at the end with a smile on your face because once again Ernest Cline delivered on an entertaining, but possibly predictable, big summer blockbuster.

Now pass the popcorn, please.

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