by John Scalzi – This expansion of Scalzi’s The Last Colony tells the tale from the POV of Zoe Boutin-Perry, John Perry and Jane Sagan’s teenage adopted daughter. And if that were all it did, it would still be one of the best books I’ve read this decade. Zoe is the kind of girl I would like to have been, or at least to have had as a friend, with the intelligence, snark, wit, courage and loyalty that would make her an exceptional human being.
Scalzi is not content to just rehash the events we’ve already seen, however. He uses Zoe to flesh out bits of the original novel that John and Jane didn’t witness, and those bits are meaty and satisfying. The parts of the story we experience through Zoe’s eyes – her solo exploits – are critical to really understanding how the colonists survive their final confrontation with Edros’ forces. They give us a window into the character of the indigenous people. And they show us the true nature of the relationship between Zoe and the Obin.
The plot elements only take a novel so far, no matter how terrific they are. In fact, it’s Zoe herself who makes this story extraordinary. She comes across as a real teenager, albeit an exceptional one, with trials and adventures, friendships and first love, discoveries and losses that moved me. I gigglesnorted several times and wept several others, as the heart of this story touched my own.
Well done, Mr. Scalzi. And thank you. (finished 3/24/13)