Review: Armada

Armada Armada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I recognize when I am being pandered to. I don't mind being pandered to sometimes, especially if it is from a trusted source. Ernest Cline earned that trust with Ready Player One. Unfortunately he chose to completely cache in on that trust with Armada.

Have you seen the movie The Last Starfighter? That is essentially the plot of this book with a few minor tweaks. Slathered on like icing on a boutique cupcake are 80's pop culture references. It is like an episode of The Chris Farley Show sketch from SNL. "Do you remember that? Yeah, that was awesome!" Ad nauseum.

This was a quick beach read for me that hit on my interests, but unfortunately didn't rise to my expectations. The characters are uninteresting and I never really felt a sense of suspense. The character of Lex just is utterly ridiculous to me as she continuously supplies wondrous technical escapes for Zach. You could certainly read worse material than Armada, but if you were hoping for a worthy follow up to Ready Player One, this is not it.

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Review: The Library at Mount Char

The Library at Mount Char The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is dark. This book is ridiculous. This book is very good!

A powerful being referred to as "Father" adopts / abducts 12 children to become the librarians for his library. By becoming his librarians they become absolute masters of their subject matter. Father then mysteriously disappears, and the children are cast out from the library. They set about trying to find Father, find a way back into the library, and protect the library from opposing forces that will try to take it from then.

Over the course of the story we learn of the terrible techniques father has used to motivate the children to learn. These tortures have twisted the children. It reminds me very much of the children in Bitter Seeds.

I highly recommend this tale, but with a word of warning concerning the very dark nature of the tortures these children both endure and inflict on each other.

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Review: The Night is For Hunting

The Night is For Hunting The Night is For Hunting by John Marsden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is a bit of a guilty pleasure with me. The stories are neither challenging nor innovative. Even so, I've enjoyed the tale of these kids from Wirrawee as they tackle the challenges of surviving as rebels in their invaded country. I'm nearly to the end of the series now, and I'm glad to see that the characters are showing something like development. That's not to say that all of these kids are growing. While Ellie and Homer are showcased in this episode, Kevin is as useless as ever.

In this episode the group takes on the challenges of supporting some of the feral children they were accosted by in Stratton. The young children aren't eager to be under the leadership of older kids, and this presents difficult situations for Ellie and her friends. They must struggle not just to survive on their own but to also cope with these youngsters who at times work directly against them.

I'm excited to see how this is all going to wind up in the next book.

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Jade Mason