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

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  18,693 Ratings  ·  1,247 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
Kindle Edition, Reprint Edition, 420 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Tor Books (first published August 2008)
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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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Dec 26, 2010 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 15, 2014 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 24, 2016 Marijan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jaka četvorka, skoro petica. Bez obzira što prepričava već viđene događaje, daje im sasvim drugi kut gledanja, i opisuje stvari za koje iz ranijih knjiga ne znamo kako su se dogodile. I puna je snappy rečenica, i zanimljivih easter eggova. samo me jedno pitanje i dalje muči...
(view spoiler)
Aug 18, 2015 Krbo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2014 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2009 Danielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Cairns
Feb 17, 2016 Michael Cairns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 06, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kat  Hooper
May 19, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tudor Vlad
Jul 24, 2016 Tudor Vlad rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
When I found out that this book was basically a retelling of The Last Colony, but from the point of view of Zoe I was reluctant, I admit, I even rolled my eyes a bit. It just didn’t seem that having the events of The Last Colony told from a different POV was gonna be interesting or add much to the story. Always a pleasure to be proven wrong.
This was really good, or at least I thought it was. I even enjoyed the slow parts. Zoe is a fascinating character, and I could read hundreds of pages of inte
Oct 03, 2009 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK, read the cover blurb CAREFULLY. This is a redo of the previous book in the "series" (it's not really serial anymore, is it?) The Lost Colony. Redone from Zoe's point of view with more detail and clarification on two topics: the intelligent wolf-things, and what Zoe did while she was off-world in order to come back with the momentum sucking device. Furthermore, it's targeted at young readers, both because it's from Zoe's perspective and because the type face is big.
So I'm pretty disappointed
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  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2012 David Sven rated it it was ok
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
Oct 12, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 09, 2015 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
**This reviews will contain spoilers for "Last Colony", and as a result, for this book as well. However, if you already read the Last Colony, this book is spoiled for you anyway.**

I honestly don't know why this book was written.

This is a retelling of the Last Colony from Zoe's point of view. There might be compelling reasons to return to an already told narrative - to add a new perspective, to elucidate events which were unclear in the first telling, to squeeze a successful frnachise's teenage f
Chris Hawks
Feb 13, 2011 Chris Hawks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 15, 2009 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 04, 2015 Gaby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“It was one of those moments that you just can’t describe. So I won’t try anymore,” says the narrator during the climax of the book. This sentence should be printed on the cover of “Zoe’s Tale” as a candid warning from the author to potential readers. Where to begin? Telling the same story from two different perspectives could work as long as each perspective is unique and brings something new to the table, but as Scalzi’s characters have the same voice and personality, that’s really not the cas ...more
Bernie Charbonneau
I’ve enjoyed this series from Mr. Scalzi and this being the fourth novel in The Old Man’s War intergalactic struggle was looking forward to the continuation in this adventure. It has been about a year since I read the previous book but was still aware of all the characters. I remember that the previous novels were easy reads and enjoyable. This latest tale is described through the view of a teenager that has been a major character throughout this series. This is my flaw with this book. This just ...more
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Around the Year i...: Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi 1 15 Jul 24, 2016 12:29PM  
Worst of the series so far... 4 50 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 99 Mar 24, 2014 03:56PM  
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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 (6 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)

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“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
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