This is one of those books that makes my writer self come out. Usually when I'm reading something I can lose myself in it. You have to do something rather startling or awful to pull me out of the story, cause I give books a lot of leeway. I don't think I ever even made it into Armada.
The story starts out as an exercise in explaining the dream world of the main character and then spends the rest of its pages building that world for the main character. I think that the intention was to make the whole thing very dream like and lean heavy on wish fulfillment for the main character. Unfortunately this makes any big plot development or story turns seem just unbelievable and , and it doesn't help that there are characters throughout telling us how unbelievable everything is. As the events of the book try to take us out of the fantastic new life and into some dark turns, the nature of the way the world is perceived by the main character (often through a virtual reality rig) and the seeming lack of consequences for major mistakes always makes you wonder whether any of what's happening is real.
I spent every page turn wondering if this would be the moment when the author would let me know that nothing I was perceiving was real and that the truth behind it all was going to make the preceding pages of misdirection worth my time.
There is a turn at the end of the novel, but unfortunately it fails to capitalize on what came before and instead on feeds into the unreality of the entire novel. It's a shame because this authors previous work I loved to death, but in this one it feels like the concept just never made it past the drawing board for me, and so never developed into its own fleshed out world.
Armada receives a two out of five.