Writing about Reading: The Last Colony

November 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

After the disappointing Ghost Brigades, the second novel in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series, I was hesitant to continue with The Last Colony. But because Redshirts was so very good, I forged ahead, and I’m glad I did.

In The Last Colony, we are reunited with John Perry, the hero of the first book. Perry and Jane Sagan, the heroine of the second book, are now retired from the Colonial Defense Force and living on a quietly rural colony, along with Zoe Boutin, their adopted daughter. Also living with them are Hickory and Dickory, two members of the Obin race who have been sent to guard over Zoe.

This strange little family is soon asked to leave their quiet life to lead the new colony of Roanoke. They don’t want to do it, but are talked into it and soon find themselves with small group of colonists on a ship bound for a new planet. Literally from the moment they lay eyes on the new world, things begin to go wrong. Soon, Perry discovers he is in greater danger than he’s ever faced, and the lives of everyone in the colony depend on his decisions.

The Last Colony is a far more engaging story than its predecessor, and I enjoyed the twists and turns along the way. The only nit I have to pick with the book concerns a subplot about the native population of the planet that pops up, seems like a game changer, and then is dropped and never mentioned again. Despite that, however, I really enjoyed this book. Like Old Man’s War, The Last Colony is good, solid space opera.

I picked up the last book in the series, Zoe’s Tale, to see where the story would go next … only to find that it was the same story told in The Last Colony, retold through Zoe’s point of view. The first few pages were enough to tell me that this book probably wasn’t for me, and skipping through it confirmed that suspicion. You won’t be seeing a review here anytime soon.

Instead, I’ll be returning to a novel I read and enjoyed many years ago, but about which I cannot recall any details. (This describes many books on my shelves; I have a terrible memory.) The book is Mike Resnick’s Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future, and it is more space opera, which is a subgenre I am immersing myself in right now because I am writing one. I’m on the lookout for more great space operas to read, too, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Dave Borcherding

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§ 2 Responses to Writing about Reading: The Last Colony

  • stuartnz says:

    I’m surprised you found Ghost Brigades dull, but with regard to Zoe’s Tale, your comments above made me smile. In the aftyerword, Scalzi specfically addresses your criticism of the “werewolves” in The Last Colony and talks about how filling in that part of the story was a big part of the motivation for writing Zoe’s Tale. He did quite a good job of it too, I thought.

    • Perhaps I’ll give it another go someday. Part of the reason I couldn’t get into it was the narrator. And reading the same story twice, especially after just finishing the Last Colony. Once some time passes and my terrible memory wipes out most of the details of the story, I might go back to Zoe’s Tale. Glad he worked out the werewolves, though. Thanks for letting me know!

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