Review: ARMADA by Ernest Cline

ARMADA by Ernest Cline

Because I loved Ready Player One so much, I didn’t argue very much when my husband insisted on pre-ordering the hardcover of Ernest Cline’s second novel, Armada. My husband read it first, and I have to admit that my stomach sank a little bit when he described it to me. My takeaway was that it was yet another novel where the straight white nerdy male saves the world through being special.

I definitely still read Armada. And I enjoyed it thoroughly, for the action, the adventure, the wonderful (yet not overwhelming) video game and other pop culture references, and the happy ending that included just enough poignancy to avoid being too saccharine. It was a fun, fast-paced read. All of the secondary characters were well-developed and interesting. As a person who lost a few years of her life playing way too much World of Warcraft, I was completely sucked into the idea of a game of that scope being a training ground for a real-world enemy. (To be fair, if someone handed me a bow and said Azeroth needed me, I wouldn’t blink. And I was certainly not one of the world’s best players.) In a way, the ridiculousness of Armada surpassed that of Ready Player One in a way that makes it just more FUN.

But ultimately, it’s yet another science-fiction novel where the straight white nerdy male saves the world through being special. By riding the success of his first novel and because the rest of this one was of such high quality, a large part of me wishes that Cline had broken the mold a bit with that one detail. I like to think that the genre and it’s readers are expanding so much that the world would have still embraced it.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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