Review: The Last Colony by John Scalzi (2007)  

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I just finished reading The Last Colony literally ten minutes ago. And since I'm waiting up for my husband to come home from a business trip, I thought it would be a great time to write a review.

The Last Colony is the third book in the series. If you haven't read the other two, Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades, then I urge you to get your hands on them and read them. The Ghost Brigades was probably my favorite of the series, but really, all of the books, including the novelette, The Sagan Diaries, are good and contribute to the overall story arc.

As of this moment, I think this may be the weakest book of the three, but don't take that as a criticism. I often find it takes me a little while after reading a story to fully appreciate it. By writing this review right away I'm being unfair. I haven't had time to appreciate the subtleties.

I'm amazed by how well Scalzi was able to surprise me with the story. Yet, he somehow, comfortingly, allowed me to predict a few things. I like that combination.

The story progressed at a good pace, constantly keeping me entertained, unlike Excession, where I felt bogged down for days and weeks suffering through what seemed like mindless background to get to the good stuff. In the end Excession paid off, but I didn't have to wait until the ending twist for The Last Colony to pay off.

*** Spoilers Below ***

Even though I feel all glowy about the book, I do have a few complaints. I didn't feel much for the new characters. When Hiram Yoder is killed it should be a poignant scene, but it isn't. Yes, I feel a loss of someone important to the colony, but not to the story. Even Savitri, who is an interesting character to be sure, lacks the depth that gives me any feeling for her. Hickory and Dickory are the only new characters that I really felt a sense of attachment.

I felt much more for the characters introduced in the other two novels: John, Jane, Jared, Harry, even Szilard and Boutin.

I'm also a little disappointed that the werewolves disappeared after a critical scene. What happened between them and the colony? Was it possible to negotiate? I know it would have needlessly extended the book to go into those details, but I still wonder.

Overall though, it's an excellent end to the series. Scalzi wrapped up the plot and the series in a happy ending without making it sappy or unbelievable. In the afterward he said he wouldn't be coming back to these characters. Although I'll miss them, I'm glad. As I get older my patience for long series grows short. Even though each book he's written so far can stand alone, I don't think I could stand another 10 year series.

He hasn't left out the possibility of returning to the world again one day and I look forward to new stories from this world.

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