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Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I wasn't thrilled with finishing this book. I went in with very high expectations, considering how much I loved Ready Player One. There were a few decent elements of this that really showed promise, but the overall story was a Last Starfighter meets Ender's Game. I didn't think it was "terrible", but there were times I thought originality was lacking. Trying to separate out my expectations is tough, so three stars is where I decided.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
I get the desire to include a romance element into the story, but this aspect was way too brief to be even slightly believable - so that's probably the main area I would change. The best parts of the book had to do with the time frame between learning the origins/effects of the game, and the actual fighting. That element was the most interesting, and offered some real opportunity. The ending was just way to predictable and too similar to other esteemed cult classics, but can one suggest a different ending?
Which character – as performed by Wil Wheaton – was your favorite?
When Wil tries to display angst or sadness in talking, it makes me smile. So rather than a particular character (there's not a whole lost of character differences), I'll have to go with Wil trying to portray the appropriate emotion. I think he does excitement, interest, smugness, non-emotion really well. Any type of negative emotion pretty much sounds like he's 9, and his friend just broke his favorite toy (sometimes that's what you want, but sometimes not). Still enjoyable :)
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Well, I'm a nerd, and it'd be a movie about a gamer becoming a real space fighter.... so um, yeah, It's a safe bet that I would go see it.
Any additional comments?
If you enjoyed Ready Player One, then you are going to read/listen to this no matter a review, so you might as well just buy it. It's not "terrible", but it's not going to be as good as Ready Player One. It's almost unfair for Cline that our expectations are unreasonably high due to how good RPO was.
93 of 97 people found this review helpful
I loved Cline's first novel, Ready Player One, because it was an exciting, intelligent plot, and an orgy of 80's nostalgia. The writing was immature, and the book had many flaws, but I forgave it everything because it was so much fun.
I was prepared to absolutely love Armada. I pre-ordered it on the first day it was possible to do so. I also listened to it the instant it became available. And I cringed my way through every painful second of it.
While the 80s nostalgia seemed to be a genuine, organic thing in Ready Player One, it seemed forced and gratuitous in Armada. Reference after reference after reference was made from the first page to the last... but unlike in Ready Player One, the referenced 80s games, movies and music serve no purpose in the story. OH, a handful of them are critical to the backstory, but 99 percent of every reference made in this book is just transparent pandering to the audience. HA! REFERENCES! HA! I REMEMBER THINGS. DO YOU REMEMBER THOSE THINGS TOO? HA! ISN'T IT FUNNY TO REMEMBER THINGS?
Next let's talk about the characters. Really there was only ONE character in the whole book: a person of loves video games, who is a nerdy outcast, smart but misunderstood, who loves 80s nostalgia, who acts inappropriately and unprofessionally, and who is social awkward. There. I've just described EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON in this entire novel.
The plot is half-baked, and Cline knows it. He deals with the problem by sweeping it under the rug. He pretends that the weirdness will be dealt with, but really he ends the book with a very rushed, very lame explanation that even the protagonist isn't happy with.
There is absolutely no nuance to the plot, either. We go from point A to point B without any plot twists, and without our main character experiencing any sort of real drama or crisis... not in the literary sense. At no point in this book do you ever get to ask yourself "How will he get out of this?!".
The dialog is lame. There is no ACTUAL humor at all. Every "joke" in the book boils down to: "HA! REFERENCES!".
I'm so incredibly disappointed in Cline. He's shown no growth at all in his writing, apparently learning nothing at all from the criticisms of his first book. And instead of doing something truly original here, he's produced an entire book that is just shameless pandering to his audience.
Like so many sequels, the author failed to understand what made his first work great, and so he repeated all the wrong things in his second work, while leaving out the heart.
336 of 400 people found this review helpful