Tuesday, August 11, 2015

ARMADA

WARNING: SPOILERS 
If you have not yet read ARMADA, there are a couple spoilers in this review so proceed at your own risk. To be honest, you'll see these coming from the first few chapters of the book, because, in short, the book is very predictable.

If you're just here for the giveaway, you can skip straight to the bottom of the post for the link and good luck! :)



ARMADA - 3 star Review

Let's go ahead and get the biggest question out of the way here; Does ARMADA stand up to Ready Player One?

No. It does not. 

Let's move past that fact and review ARMADA as it's own, stand alone book. (No, it's not a sequel)

Zack Lightman is obsessed with the father he never had a chance to know. He clings to his fathers treasures, 80's-90's memorabilia ranging from VHS, cassette tapes, and classic gaming equipment to clothing, and wall decor, all packed away by his mother in anticipation of his curiosity for the man who helped create him.

The relationship Cline created between Zack and his mother is great by the way, it's refreshing to read of a mother figure who actually gets along with her child while still actively being a mother rather than befriending him. She is first and foremost an authority figure and looking out for her son and what's best for him. She's a great mom.

Zack's desire to know his father is touching and his insight on what his mother's reaction to having all his father's old belongings in his room shows some maturity on his part. Zack's a good kid, a bit ill tempered at times, but from the beginning we're given a character worth caring about, one we can trust and believe he has what it takes to save the world.

After all, he's spent the last four years of his life unknowingly training in simulated warfare and is listed in the top ten people prepared to save the world from any alien invasion.

Because what else would an alien race do but try to invade and destroy Earth?

And that's the problem. Zack's journey into this War of the Worlds scenario is predictable, even laughable at times. You can see it coming a galaxy away, just like the Europan armada heading for Earth, and at times I felt it as done on purpose, other times it felt like laziness on the part of plot and storyline. 

If the extreme predictability was indeed on purpose, then job well done. As you'll find, if you give this book a read, the characters themselves find it odd the aliens are doing exactly what they expected. Everything is just as, well, as they predicted and I believe we are meant to see the patterns and question what is really going on behind the scenes with these aliens. A 'what aren't they telling us?' kind of approach. Along this line of thinking, the confusion does tie into the ending, and overall makes sense in the end as to why everything happens just as planned, but that doesn't mean that made for a good read. That storyline fell a bit flat and bland.

Now, having said that, I could forgive the aliens for being predictable, they are, after all, just aliens trying to invade Earth, what more could there be to understand of their purpose for doing so, but sadly that was not all that was predictable about ARMADA.

A teenage boy, obsessed with his father and his mysterious death, a son who has spent his entire life watching what his father watched, playing what his father played, wearing what his father wore. What could be more shocking than to bring that father back? But it's not shocking, I figured that out from chapter one. 

And what excuse could his father possibly have for faking his own death? 

Saving the world from aliens.

Because what else do long lost, thought-to-be-dead father's do?

Let's move past that little snafu in plot and be happy for Zack for a bit. His dream came true and they had their sort of touching moment and joined the fight side by side.

A little sweet, kind of touching, a whole lot of predictable.

Now, the book is written in first person, so we're experiencing this all through Zack's point of view. We know what he knows and see what he sees, and for the most part it works, except at times that the author has to stop and explain how another character outside of Zack's small range of view happens to allow him access to video feed to witness an important part of the story or how the cavalry just happens to show up in the nick of time and they decide to quickly explain to Zack how they did it. 

Enough with the backstory and explanations. Some things just don't need to be explained.

Which brings me to the ending. One giant explanation, filling in the blanks of the all mysterious purpose of the global scale attack on Earth by the Europans, which I have to say was not only a bore to read through and a pretty weak excuse, but it also could have been revealed bit by bit from early on when we first learned of this mysterious purpose and had a much better impact as well as actually including the reader in on the discovery. 

Instead, it was talked about and people discussed it, but we're left in the dark with barely a clue as to what it is until the grand (and lengthy) reveal at the end. 

This angered me and I'll tell you why. The information given was not enough to come to the final conclusion on my own, I want a chance to guess, I want that Aha! moment where I think I'm smarter than the author and all his characters combined. I want in on the secret! When I finally was able to discover this big secret, which ultimately caused me more confusion and frustration than was necessary, it wasn't a big enough reveal to be worth the wait. The consequences outweighed the outcome. It was anticlimactic and if I'm not mistaken, there's a hint of a sequel in its final pages...

Overall, ARMADA is a fairly entertaining book. Aside from my few frustrations and the predictable plot, the characters are very well developed and Zack is a great narrator. I did enjoy this read all the way up until the end when it drops off into lengthy explanations and rushes to a close.

So, is ARMADA worth the read? 

Sure! Why not, the majority of it is well written and if you're a gaming geek or nostalgic nerd you'll really get a kick out of it. If you're not willing to hand out the cash for it, borrow it from the library or a friend who actually shares their books (I don't share). 

There were a lot of high points I enjoyed while reading this book and as I said, the characters are fantastic and really well developed. It simply fell short at the end and I'm still suffering from the disappointment.

So, if you'd like to give this book a try, I'll be giving away my copy on my blog. Try it out for yourself and hopefully you'll love it. This is just one persons opinion after all ;)

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

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