Here is another review written as if I wrote it for School Library Journal. Between this and Bones & All I wanted to write a positive review and a more critical review. This is the more critical one. I have not read Ready Player One yet, so sue me, but I will definitely still be giving that one a try.
One thing I wanted to add before the review, I listened to the audiobook version of this and Wil Wheaton absolutely made a book that wasn’t my favorite still interesting to listen to! He is a wonderful narrator!
Cline, Ernest. Armada. 349 p. Crown Publishing. July 2015.
Gr 9 Up – In Cline’s second foray into the world of science fiction he introduces us to Zack Lightman. Zack seems like your typical teenage boy until he starts seeing the spaceships out of his favorite video game. When he is recruited to help the government against an impending alien attack, he finds out that the video game, Armada, was in fact a training tool. As his time as a soldier continues he discovers just how much of an impact this organization and this battle has had on his life.
Teen readers will be able to relate to Zack on a personal level, while many adult readers will relate to him with his love for 80’s video games and sci fi paraphernalia. The action is slow going and the reader gets a lot of lists, particularly at the beginning of the novel. For a novel about a war there is a lot of sitting around and waiting. The themes of finding one’s self and embarking on your own are important and well done, but the filler is lackluster. The twist was not as surprising as anticipated and left an unsettled feeling. The ending is not dramatic and feels as if it just tapers off.
VERDICT – A decent comeback attempt after a successful first science fiction novel, that unfortunately does not hit the same mark. Give to teen fans of video games and 80’s culture.