Brad's Reviews > Zoe's Tale

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
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it was amazing
bookshelves: sci-fi

I didn't expect Zoe's Tale to be my favorite entry in the Old Man's War series, but here we are. The book retells the story of The Last Colony through the eyes of Zoe Perry, the adopted daughter of John Perry (the protagonist from Book 1 and 3) and Jane Perry (a main character from Book one and two).

I went into the story with low expectations because I dislike these tropes. But, dammit, John Scalzi didn't just recon what didn't work in the last book (or what was intentionally left out so he had room to write this story), but instead added an entire layer of intrigue to his geo-political story world.

Zoe's interactions with the Obin and the Conclave brilliantly opened up this universe. Her point-of-view, which is linked to the non-human part of this universe, enabled the read to explore the "alien invaders" through a lens that wasn't human. Now, it's helpful that neither faction—the aliens nor the humans—had been portrayed as "evil" or "good" in the series, which made this transition easier. Still, we hadn't spent time with their intentions until this book.

The first few acts of the book, before she leaves Roanoke (the colony her parents ran in Book three), felt like a young adult novel, while the later acts felt more like an Isaac Asimov-lite rumination on the world. And Zoe's participation in that—she was humanities representative—felt right. (The youth—the young—will always see the world in its best light and not as it is.)

I'm not a fan of science-fiction series because authors tend to get lost in what doesn't matter and drawn towards bright, shiny explosions. But Scalzi's Old Man's War series does just the opposite. The deeper he gets into the series, the smaller we get. He digs into the interpersonal relationships, and—as we know in real life—that is where the right people in the right place can make the right kind of changes.

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Reading Progress

January 17, 2020 – Started Reading
January 17, 2020 – Shelved
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: sci-fi
January 31, 2020 – Finished Reading

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