The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A big thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!
This novel marks a very strong return to Space Opera for Scalzi and I'll admit that I felt slightly trepidatious about it, after all, these tomes usually require a fairly substantial investment of time and energy, especially when contemplating an extensive book deal for him running to 2027! (Congrats, by the way!)
However, I should just go ahead and trust that my favorite authors, Scalzi included, can pull off these kinds of really ambitious undertakings. He's done it before and he has serious writing chops. Where's your faith, man?
It's here! It's here! Sorry I required proof! It won't happen again! I swear! (Pre-orders the next in this series.)
So what is so special about this new Space Opera? Is it the basic concept behind "the Flow" which bypasses natural physics and allows a river-like network to be maintained between all the human settlements? Is it the social setup that requires each human settlement to maintain and support each of the others?
Partially, but these great ideas, however deeply realized and explored by the author, of course, has their own little conflicts. And when I say little, I mean absolutely huge. Brilliant drill-down. :)
But of course no tale can be complete without great characters, too, and we mainly get in deep with the new leader of the empire, Cardenia, who actually charms my pants off with her constant need to pee and the constantly bribing or bribable Kiva who merchants or fails to merchant her way across the galaxy, and of course there's Ghreni. Trust me. He's quite interesting, too. :)
We get all kinds of cross sections of the populace, and even if I may have felt like some of the sections were kinda slow, all of the characters eventually grew on me and kept me glued to the page until the next great reveal or action or twist. Like I said, Scalzi is a man with serious writing chops. This is a very ambitious beginning of a series and two whole planets, in particular, are now firmly rooted in my consciousness. This is not the End. Or rather, the End is going to be really, really big. (For those in the know, End is a backwater planet that no one really cares about. Reversals!) :)
I'm hooked and seriously looking forward to every new installment. :)
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