By Its Cover: Armada

Best selling author, Ernest Cline, is at it again with his newest publication, Armada. Breaking focus from his last story, an exhilarating tale of gamers on a treasure hunt, Cline’s new story gives less attention to complex, geeky characters with a love for 80’s pop culture, and instead focuses on several downward-facing triangles of varying shades of green. The main character, a series of white and blue triangles stacked in a pyramid, must face the big blue void alone as it struggles to find meaning in a world consisting of only three colors.


The tension between the green triangles and the white and blue triangle is apparent from the beginning. They are shown to be in clear opposition of each other as the protagonist fights to move up in the world, while the green arrows keep pushing him down, attempting to preserve their place at the top. However, their struggle to keep things the same is met with equal tension from the white and blue triangle, who continually moves upwards.

At the climax of the story, Cline delivers a twist, revealing the white and blue triangle to be of green descent. Much to the surprise of the enemy, the protagonist displays its long green legs, a genetic gift from its mother. It explains that its mother had once sided with the green triangles, as she had been one herself, but had changed her ways after meeting the protagonists father, a checkered triangle. With this revelation, the green triangles accept the white and blue triangle into their community, allowing it to reach the top. In the end, it is not the protagonists skill and perseverance that lead it to success, but nepotism and racial bias.

Additionally, there is a subplot involving an R and A who constantly upstage a shy M, pushing it behind them. The last A is also in a relationship with a D, but feels smothered and moves out in search of a better spaced, less stylized font on the back cover. Overall, the subplots are unnecessary. The characters are underdeveloped and cliché, and they ultimately add nothing to the main story. Omitting them would have little to no impact.

Armada offers an interesting perspective into the upper-class, and the struggles the lower-class faces while climbing the ladder of success. Painting the cooperate world as a vast, blue wasteland, he presents his anti-capitalist propaganda through the eyes of real, struggling triangles with real, triangular problems.

Breaking the norms, Cline successfully weaves his unique tale, and does so through beautiful fonts and geometry. Despite a few underdeveloped characters and subplots, the main cast more than makes up for these short comings.

Armada receives a 7 out of 10.