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.
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