Ready, player one? Then get ready for Armada, the latest in sci-fi shoot ‘em ups where, and get ready for your mind to be blown, you are not playing a video game, but instead are helping the Earth Defense Alliance in repelling an alien invasion. Waitaminute, you might say, that sounds exactly like The Last Starfighter, or Ender’s Game. Unfortunately, you are correct. Nothing else to see here. Game over, man.
Ernest Cline’s follow-up novel sadly does not live up to the hype and excitement that was abundant in Ready Player One. The characters within are as cliché as they are one-dimensional with bulky-dialogue soaked in Gen-X nostalgia that goes way outside the realm of the believable. If it wasn’t for the R-rated language, one might think Cline could have presented this as a stellar YA novel and built a unique story on top of what has come before. Instead, he takes a shortcut and interlaces the tried and true with inundated references to the Stars, Trek and Wars, among many others.
Ready Player One was fun and new with characters that were developed and continued to develop. Armada was a fountain of clichés; an arcade experience that becomes mostly forgotten once your quarter disappears into that slot.