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Zoe's Tale

(Old Man's War #4)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  31,013 ratings  ·  1,990 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
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D You most definitely do not need to read this book to go on in the series, this particular cheap trick to squeeze some cash from us don't add anything …moreYou most definitely do not need to read this book to go on in the series, this particular cheap trick to squeeze some cash from us don't add anything to the overall, and very good, storyline. Maybe the 2 last chapters can be interesting, but not nearly important.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Chelsea Pretty sure it is just a typo. Second line should be "If you choose not to..."…morePretty sure it is just a typo. Second line should be "If you choose not to..."(less)

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mark monday
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Dec 26, 2010 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
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it

And Hooray! for John Scalzi.

Taking a page from Orson Scott Card’s playbook, he tells the same story from a different POV and gets a great result.

Scalzi published The Last Colony in 2007, the third in his wildly popular Old Man's War universe and it was good SF, garnering a nod from the Hugo award committee with a nomination for best novel.

Zoe’s Tale was published the next year and was nominated for the Andre Norton Award for YA fiction.

That’s right, Scalzi channeled his inner chil
Mayim de Vries
Jun 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
What is worse than writing a bad book?
Writing it twice under two different titles.

The fourth book in the Old Man’s War series is completely unnecessary. Zoe, an adopted daughter of John and Jane, essentially retells the same story we have already read in “The Last Colony.”

Does it make sense?

None whatsoever. I grant you that some elements, seen from Zoe’e perspective, gain new details, while in the previous books they were either just mentioned or ignored altogether. The question is whether it
Jul 31, 2014 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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, favourites, scifi

I must admit that I was a little worried about this novel. To use the same plot as the one in The Last Colony, but told from a different point of view, is a dangerous thing to do. Well, I really should have trusted Scalzi because of course he pulls it off.

Zoe has a great voice, quite similar to John Perry's, with the same humour but tons more sarcasm, and that 'je-ne-sais-quoi' that teenagers have. Well, some. After a few pages, I was sold and completely engrossed in this character's percepti
Jan 09, 2009 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
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Mini Review: Discovering that this cheeky sci-fi series continued book 4 with an even cheekier YA POV was a bag of mixed emotions. I haven’t had the best luck with YA lately, but I loved the character Zoe. If anyone could pull off integrating this unconventional new perspective into an adult series, it would be Scalzi. Happily, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it may have revitalized the series for me. At first I was a bit bored with its shared (or dual) timeline with Last Colony (book 3) because I’ ...more
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.
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
Erica Anderson
Jan 23, 2013 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
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
3.5 stars

I was ambivalent about reading this because I really didn't want to read the same story as in The Last Colony from the POV of a teenage girl. It turned out to be pretty good, especially the second half, but I still don't know if it was worth a whole other book mostly to explain a plot issue in the previous one.

Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Rating probably would be lower if I read right after previous installment since this is retalling of event of in The Last Colony seen through Zoe's eyes. There are few new bits of information mostly regarding Obin but it's basically same story but since I put some time between two books it didn't bother me. It was actually nice to be reminded what was "previously on" in Old man's war series before continuing on. ...more
Nice complement to "The Last Colony". I like seeing some of the events from Zoe's perspective, but also like finding out what the heck Zoe was doing with her friend Gretchen and her boyfriend Enzo, while Jane and John were leading the colony. And it was great hearing Zoe's take on Jane, who Zoe loved but could also see as scary, and her two Obin bodyguards. ...more
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel is essentially a companion piece to The Last Colony, another book which I really enjoyed. Zoe's Tale takes place parallel to the events of that previous installment, but instead of being from the POV of John Perry, it is told from the first-person viewpoint of John (and Jane's) daughter Zoë Boutin-Perry. I think this was an excellent choice for Scalzi to further fill in the story, as Zoë has always been an interesting character and thus earned her turn in the spotlight.

While I was al
This is a re-telling of The Last Colony from Zoe’s POV. There are a few significant scenes but most of it is a character study: Zoe with the Oban and her new colonist friends and other relationships. I think it would have worked better as a novella. But it’s fine as is; just don’t expect tons of action.

I think the dialogue here is what really shines (except for the use of dialogue tags after every single phrase). It’s a definite YA vibe, and I can see a wide appeal to that audience.

Narrator Tavi
3.5 stars. Scalzi's first book that made me cry. Thrice. Well, the first two were more like sniffles, but I did bawl the third time.

This is much, much better than the tepid The Last Colony. Zoe's POV is not a retelling; there were so many events unfolding that you could only see through her eyes, especially the ones with the Obin and other aliens. I think her relationship with Hickory and Dickory is my favorite part of the book, as heartbreaking as it is.

I was rather worried that it would be to
Michael Cairns
Feb 17, 2016 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
James DeSantis
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a solid "fill in the blanks" story but not sure the genre/age group it was going for.

It's a story that you can only read when you read book 3 of Old Man's War. With that being said, it feels like a different genre. The teenagers all act like YA novels but younger YA. Not cursing, no sexual talk, basically nothing like real teenagers. Now, I'm not saying I need that in a story, but when you have an adult series for 3 books and then it goes to young teen book, it's weird.

So this is the
Kat  Hooper
May 19, 2013 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
Sep 06, 2008 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
David Sven
Sep 05, 2012 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 http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...). 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
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, sci-fi
I've been a big fan of Scalzi ever since Old Man's War, but I was slightly worried that Zoe's Tale would be a some milking of The Last Colony, which is a POV change of that novel. I'm not entirely certain it was necessary, except for the fact that it develops what might have been a serious dues ex machina event and makes everything hunky-dory. It may sound as if I didn't like the novel, but that's plainly untrue. This was an excellent YA novel, and I have to admit I love the concept of an intell ...more
Sep 06, 2008 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
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
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
**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
Well, that's left me feeling quite whelmed to say the least. Mainly because Scalzi simply does not know how to write a teenage girl. (I appreciate that he admits in the acknowledgements that Zoe as a character is bound to not work in some places). Or a teenage romance.

Moreover, the way Zoe talks mostly sounds like a young John Perry which isn't exactly a compliment because so much of the witty banter just felt forced and no. I think there was some halfhearted attempt at meta involved here becau
Mar 04, 2015 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
Mar 09, 2010 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
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See top shelves…
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.)

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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