Armada may be a difficult book for me to write a review about. i think it becomes trying to see past its shortcomings in order to enjoy the, somewhat predictable, story. On the other hand I think its shortcomings are part of its charm (it isn’t written amazing, explains things way too much, etc.)
There is one case, at the very beginning, where what the main character – Zach Lightman – is talking about gets repetitive where, no joke, one page later he repeats, nearly verbatim, what he said about something on the previous page. It is hard to see an editor missed this particular flaw (or they just didn’t care).
But the book finds its footing after that and you will either like it or not based on your willingness to enjoy it (or not) for the B grade sci-fi movie that it is.
Armada is the story of Zach Lightman, a high school student who is recruited to help save the world based on his skills in a video game – that is secretly a training simulator – for better or for worse.
Armada borrows heavily from what inspires it and Cline has no problem (and neither do I) mentioning what those things are. It is very self aware. The Last Starfighter is the biggest and most overt influence.
It is definitely cheesy, full of tropes, and hits all the right beats for characters that you would expect to be in a modern novel. But sometimes that is exactly what you need, and want, from a book. Something that is just enjoyable to read and cheesy or not, Armada won me over.