James's Reviews > The Last Colony

The Last Colony by John Scalzi
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's review
Apr 18, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in April, 2009

After my five-star endorsement for The Ghost Brigades, falling back to four stars for The Last Colony, the final book in this powerful series, feels like a demotion, and in some ways it is, since the purpose of this book is to reunite the almost-lovers John and Jane from book one of the series, Old Man's War, and finally make good on the threat to expose the maniacal mismanagement of the human colonies. In that respect, this book is a "tie up the loose ends" effort. But it does such a good job of tying those lose ends -- and it features some inventive plot twisting along the way -- that is merits the four star rating all on its own.

What I liked: Resolving the open question of whether those doing their duty in the colonial forces are in fact xenophobes who suppress opposing viewpoints in their effort to wipe out all intelligent life forms humans encounter. This idea was first dangled in front of us in book one, was further whipped up in book two, and by book three, it was a band-aid ready to be ripped off, painful scream and all. Thank you, Scalzi, for finally giving in to the anticipation.

What I missed: 1) The book dances on the edge of going the route of Orson Scott Card's Xenocide when colonists encounter unexpected intelligent life on their new planet. That would have been yet another opportunity for Scalzi to show he knows how to build on the successes of the genre. However, he opted to go only so far down that path. Too bad. 2) Romance. We know that John loved his long-deceased wife and transfered all his affection to her kick-butt genetic double, Jane. But this book lacks the love. The healthy respect is there, the mutual bond that comes from shared life experience is there. But the passion, even the lust, was as dried up as the raisin at the bottom of my Raisin Bran box. Too bad, too, because with their newly-grown healthy young bodies and a lifetime of experiences under their belts, these two could have really burned the love and passion candle at both ends. I guess I'll have to turn to my real life for that fulfillment. But for those not married to a smokin' hot spouse, this book could have helped fill that gap.
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