Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)” as Want to Read:
Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War #4)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,287 Ratings  ·  1,086 Reviews
How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it's what I have to do. I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows th
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Tor Books (first published August 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zoe's Tale, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Katrina I agree that it's not "necessary", though that's also hard to answer not having read the next book. You learn a lot more about the Obin and a few gaps…moreI agree that it's not "necessary", though that's also hard to answer not having read the next book. You learn a lot more about the Obin and a few gaps in the plot of The Last Colony are filled in.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dan Schwent
Jan 19, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Zoe Boutin-Perry, teenage colonist and idol to the Obin race, gets stranded on Roanoke along with her parents, John Perry and Jane Sagan. While the Roanoke Colony survive with the Conclave breathing down its neck?

Zoe's Tale is a retelling of the previous John Scalzi book, The Last Colony, from Zoe's point of view. Instead of being a pointless rehash, Zoe's Tale ends up being an emotional tale and completely worth the effort.

Re-telling The Last Colony from Zoe's point of view served multiple purp
mark monday
Jun 21, 2015 mark monday rated it liked it
Shelves: futuristik, teenworld
John Scalzi: Young Adult Author?

YES! this enjoyable book was not just enjoyable for its story, but also for how it helped me realize that John Scalzi has been writing like a YA author since the beginning of his career. it just took an actual YA novel penned by him for me to realize that.

he has so much in common with the modern YA authors I've read:

- pleasant but generic writing style that has no interest in impressing its reader with challenging prose

- pleasant characters who are sympathetic but
May 21, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

After enjoying the first three books of Old Man's War, I decided to read Zoe's Tale even though I was familiar with a common complaint of its detractors-- specifically that it tells the same story as book three. But like the optimist I sometimes pretend to be, I thought this one would still be enjoyable. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

This novel is exactly what the title suggests: it is the Zoe (John Perry and Jane Sagan's adopted daughter) version of The L
Alex Ristea
This was a 3-star book until the last hundred or so pages, where it really shined and Scalzi reminded us why he's one of the kings of modern science-fiction.

Zoë's Tale (that's right, dear readers, I looked up that trema for you) is essentially a re-telling of The Last Colony from—you guessed it—Zoe's point of view, much in the same style as Ender's Shadow.

But it's so much more than a simple regurgitation.

Where The Last Colony replaced politics for The Ghost Brigades's action, Zoe's Tale is a sto
Lindsey Rey
[3.5 Stars]

Ultimately, I just don't particularly enjoy books that are the same story as a previous book told in a different POV.
Erica Anderson
Jan 23, 2013 Erica Anderson rated it really liked it
I think "John Scalzi" is actually a teenage girl who's too smart for her own good. I began this book with the expectation of dropping it after a few chapters. How much could the perspective of a teenage girl interest me, after all, especially when channeled through a male writer?

In Zoe, Scalzi has created a sympathetic, believable and incredibly perceptive character. Though she's more self-aware and clever than any teenager I've ever known, I was willing to go along with it simply for the pleas
Aug 20, 2015 Krbo rated it it was ok
ne, ne čitam ja tako brzo kako bi se moglo reći po počeo/završio ovdje zapisanom

preskakao sam i to velikim koracima - jednostavno ovo je nepotrebna knjiga koja opisuje potpuno istu radnju kao i prethodna no drugi je POV - ovaj put Zoein.
lako se vidi i po ostalim recenzijama da to baš nije dobro sjelo velikom broju čitatelja, a Scalzi se na kraju u "Zahvalama" opravdava na sve moguće načine (uglavnom mi smo ga namolili da to uradi)

obično u takvim Rashomon radovima (napisao je još dvije poslije pa
Michael Cairns
Mar 02, 2016 Michael Cairns rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
This was a fun, fast, sci fi yarn, the type unashamed newspaper reviewers would call a 'romp'.
We pick up Zoe as she's turning from naive teenager into someone far more aware of her place in the world. And what an amazing place is it. Zoe forms the treaty between humans and another race of people called the Obin. Her father helped them out before he died, so she has become their link to him and the person they use to model their new found consciousness on. The book explains it much better, you'll
Jul 31, 2014 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
What a cynical cash grab this book feels like. Good grief. What else can you say about a book that came out the next year after the previous book where the author proclaimed, in post-text notes, that the story had been concluded?

And yet, before long, there arrived Zoe's Tale, a story told in parallel to The Last Colony, first-person in the perspective of Zoe Boutin-Perry, as you might expect from such a titled book. It's basically like if you take The Last Colony and take out 85% of the good pa
Sep 23, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
John Scalzi returns to his popular "Old Man's War" universe with a parallel novel to the last entry, told from the perspective of Zoe Boutin Perry. Covering the same time frame as the previous entry, "The Last Colony," "Zoe's Tale" examines the ins and outs of the story from Zoe's perspective as a teenage girl and the lynchpin of peace agreeement between several interstellar races.

Hearing how Zoe thinks and reacts to things is fascinating and even though we may know where things are going, Scal
The book is really difficult to rate, so let me explain quickly why it is only a 2 for me. Zoe's Tale on its own might be a 4 star read. It is filled with the usual Scalzi humor, its prose is very accessible and Zoe is a likeable character.

My issue with the book is that it is "only" a companion novel to the last book in the series. It tells exactly the same story and therefore it has zero tension. It clarifies 2-3 plotpoints from the The Last Colony, but I'm not sure if I needed a whole book for
2012 January 2

Scalzi totally nailed it. I really, really, really want Veronica to get to this soon, and tell me what she thinks. Telling the same story from a different point of view allows him to expand on bits that received less attention in The Last Colony, but it also allowed him to tell more about the regular lives of the colonists, and how they manage to amuse themselves. I loved it, snarky teenaged heroine and all.

Librarypersonal copy.

2014, September 2
Jan 12, 2009 Danielle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who had issues with lack of explantions from Last Colony
Shelves: pans, sci-fi, ya, 2009-read
First impressions: This DEFINITELY reads like a YA book, even though it was shelved in the adult section of my local library. Zoe is an annoying little wench. Everyone just has the perfect retort for every comment. The weird part about it being a YA book is that it's not a stand-alone novel; if I hadn't already read the entire Old Man's War series, I don't think this would make sense. Or at the very least, it would come across as trite.

Many of the initial chapters say things like "My dad gave t
Apr 26, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it
Mmm, brain candy. And I don't mean that in any kind of bad way. This isn't hard SF, it's easy to read, easy to follow, nothing too complicated. It's more about people. I think I liked this more than I liked The Last Colony, though I gave that a similar rating -- it was good to get into Zoe's head, good to see things from a different perspective, and this way you could get to know the Obin a little better, and see what happened behind the scenes, so to speak.

I love Enzo's character, and totally f
Sep 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-books
This inter-galactic science fiction about a teenage girl who is destined to save her planetary colony from certain destruction has a promising start. But I ultimately lost interest due to the fact that every bit of information was conveyed through dialogue, including scenes that would have been better served being experienced first hand by the reader through descriptive action sequences--like battle scenes and explosive attacks. After awhile I grew tired of just hearing about what happened throu ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Paul rated it it was amazing
I wondered where Scalzi was going to go with this installment of the Old Mans War series and lo and behold he cheekily sells us the previous book The Last Colony all over again. But far from being short changed its actually a great idea.
As i said this book is pretty much the same as The Last Colony, but retold completely from Zoe's perspective.
So basically you read the whole book knowing exactly where its going but the added detail and gaps filled, along with the new perspective make this a gr
Executive Summary: Easily the weakest in the series so far, but the second half of this book makes up for the slow start. 3.5 Stars rounded up.

Audio book: The audio is fine. It makes sense that they switched to a female narrator instead of William Dufris. Tavia Gilbert makes me feel like I'm listening to a teenager. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but it certainly fits the narrative. This is a series that works well in audio, and this one is no different.

Full Review
I've dragged my feet on li
Jul 21, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Cousin George
This book cracked me up. I am reasonably sure it was not written as a comment on Twilight. And yet. The POV teenage girl character, Zoe, is such a critique of Bella that I kinda want to leave her something in my will.

Like Bella, Zoe is the unreasoning object of devotion of alien creatures. Zoe’s father gave them a gift that their gods withheld from them. Zoe is the object of devotion, protected and cherished. Devotion that also makes her a target.

(Full disclosure: I have never read Twilight. I
David Sven
Sep 13, 2012 David Sven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Zoe's Tale is a retelling of the previous book in the series The Last Colony from Zoe's perspective (My Review of The Last Colony Its basically exactly the same story minus most the interesting bits told by a teenage girl. As much as I enjoyed that story the first time around, after 80% into this last book it was really dragging.

The only redeeming feature of the book was the next 15% which deals with Zoe's diplomatic mission to the Conclave. We didn't
Kat  Hooper
Jun 19, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit:

Zoe’s Tale, the fourth book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, is the same story we were told in book three, The Last Colony, except it’s from Zoe’s perspective. Zoe is the 17-year-old daughter of the traitorous scientist Charles Boutin. Jane Sagan and John Perry adopted Zoe when she was a small child and they’ve been farming on one of Earth’s colonies for years. Now, though, the family is off to lead the settlers of a new c
Zoe's Tale is not a new story. It's a companion novel to the The Last Colony or to put it plainly: it's the same events told from different point of view.
I never liked this parallel-novel trend, they were always too similar to original and mostly boring. But I love John Scalzi's writing, so I decided to give it a shot.

+ Zoe's sarcastic flare copy/pasted from John Perry is in full assault mode trough the whole book. I enjoyed her verbal sparring.
+ Completelly focused on Zoe and we really ge
Chris Hawks
Aug 07, 2012 Chris Hawks rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, reviewed
Much like Orson Scott Card did when he revisited the events of Ender's Game from a different viewpoint with Ender's Shadow, John Scalzi uses the fourth volume of his Old Man's War series to retell the plot of The Last Colony. I like to think that Scalzi pulls it off better than even Card did, mainly because the whole same-story-from-different-perspectives thing works even better with first-person narratives, and Scalzi's narrators couldn't be much more different: a 90-year-old (mentally) ex-sold ...more
Jan 17, 2009 Ron rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Along with legions of others, I'm a fan of John's blog, The Whatever. (Well, it's actually just Whatever, but for some stupid reason it amuses me to say THE Whatever. Anyway.) And, when you read someone's blog, you're entitled to refer to them on a first-name basis. I don't know why I feel this way, but it just seems right, doesn't it? Anyway.

So, me and John go way back. Like four months. And for all of that time, I've been curious to get my hands on one of his books and see if they live up to t
Fred Hughes
Feb 17, 2013 Fred Hughes rated it really liked it
Author John Scalzi has answered our wishes to know more about John Perry and Jane Sagan’s adopted daughter Zoe. Zoe’s father had attempted to destroy all of humanity but was defeated by the Colonial Defense Force.

Zoe’s story plays out as we get to see from her perspective what she was seeing, and doing, that was only hinted at in the applicable Old Man’s War series.

Who else has two alien body guards and a step Dad and Mom who have to run a new colony on a hidden planet. While Zoe is adopted, sh
Sep 20, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Scalzi tries to pull off an "Orson Scott Card" parallel sequel. Zoe's Tale is to "The Last Colony" as Ender's Shadow is to ________. Come on, you can answer the SAT/ACT question can't you? This one does not come off quite as good as Card's sequels do but it is decent. Zoe's Tale is definitely YA, lot's of teenage hormones, banter and hijinx. I enjoyed it and the last quarter of the book gets serious in a good way. You must read The Last Colony before you get this one. But Zoe's Tale will bring s ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Patrick rated it liked it
Pleasant enough lightweight science fiction from Mr Scalzi - the kind of thing that works well for me after a long day at work - though as with Charlie Stross, I can't help finding Scalzi more interesting as a blogger and public speaker than as a writer.

This is another novel in the 'Old Man's War' series that is essentially a re-telling of Heinlein's Starship Troopers with a more modern sensibility and without the right-wing militarism that Heinlein might or might not have been satirising (thoug
Sep 14, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
Another excellent read in the Old Man's War universe. I am sad that this is the last tale of it because I enjoyed all four books. Hopefully one day Scalzi will revisit it.

Highly recommended to all sci-fi fans (but read them in order!)
Matt Smith
Sep 19, 2015 Matt Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015, sci-fi
Perspective is everything. And knowing that Scalzi wrote an Old Man's War book about Zoe, the teenage girl sub-protagonist of "The Last Colony" made me super excited. It made me excited when I read The Last Colony, because that was easily the best Old Man's War book so far; it made me discouraged because everything I've heard about the novel is that it was redundant in comparison to The Last Colony (especially because that book is just so cumulative and good).

Unfortunately, this book falls into
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Still trying to figure out why this book was written, and for whom it was written. In his acknowledgements, John Scalzi gave the reasons that people wanted to get to know Zoe, and that there were holes in the Last Colony that needed explaining. Personally, I don't know if those reasons were good enough to justify writing another Old Man's War book in the same setting, especially since Scalzi initially said he didn't plan on it.

Basically, there is very little new story here. We're essentially tak
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Worst of the series so far... 4 48 Jan 26, 2015 07:46AM  
Space Opera Fans : [BOTM] - SERIES PICK - Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi 7 25 Sep 08, 2014 11:48AM  
Can someone please tell me... 8 98 Mar 24, 2014 03:56PM  
  • Ragamuffin (Xenowealth, #2)
  • Odyssey (The Academy, #5)
  • Marsbound
  • Young Miles (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #2)
  • Galactic Corps (Inheritance Trilogy, #2)
  • WWW: Watch (WWW, #2)
  • On a Red Station, Drifting
  • Galactic North
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2)
  • Coyote (Coyote Trilogy, #1)
  • Blind Lake
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...

Other Books in the Series

Old Man's War (7 books)
  • Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)
  • The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2)
  • The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3)
  • The Human Division (Old Man's War, #5)
  • The End of All Things (Old Man's War, #6)
  • To Stand or Fall (The End of All Things, #4)

Share This Book

“Hickory clicked something to Dickory in their native tongue; Dickory clicked back. Hickory responded, and Dickory replied, it seemed a bit forcefully. And then, God help me, Hickory actually sighed.” 3 likes
“Oh, God,” I said. “Thank you so very much for the mental image of Dad as a teenage sack of hormones. That’s the sort of image that takes therapy to get rid of.” 2 likes
More quotes…