Thursday, January 31, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire is the first book in John Scalzi's The Interdependency series. It won the 2018 Locus Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 2018 Hugo Award for best novel as well. (Scalzi has won the Best Novel Hugo award before, for Redshirts).

The Collapsing Empire is definitely space opera and it is amusing and entertaining, up to a point.

The main characters are Cardenia, the "emperox" of the Interdependency (the future form of human civilization), Lord Marce Claremont, a physicist who confirms a important development that will affect humanity's future survival) and Lady Kiva Lagos, a prominent member of a prominent family whose every other word appears to be an expletive.

The plot involves various acts of betrayal and intrigue and there's also a fair amount of action and violence. I don't want to give away any aspects of the plot or include spoilers. However,. I must say that the  overall the effect of the book for me is far less memorable than one would expect from such a famous author like Scalzi and for a book which in the grand scheme of things is widely celebrated. 

My reaction to Scalzi's work is often hit or miss. As most people would agree, his best book  is Old Man's War, which also happens to be his first published work. Some people would also say it has been downhill from there, in the relative quality of his books. There are multiple sequels to Old Man's War, with most recent entry in the series being The End of all Things (Book 6).

I would have thought I would have a good reaction to his Lock In and Head On books, because they are genre-splitters (they are detective books set in a world where the main character has a condition that has him use technology to get over the fact that his body can not move under its own power). But I read about a chapter of Lock In and was just completely uninterested in what the story was about.

Happily, The Collapsing Empire was definitely able to hold my attention for the entire book. But the primary feeling I typically have with reading Scalzi is "This is not as funny (or good) as the author thinks it is!" But clearly mine is not a majority view. Many, many people buy his books and they are often nominated for (and win) prestigious awards in the field. But I would say, YMMV (your mileage may vary) or caveat emptor.

Title: The Collapsing Empire.
John Scalzi.
Paperback: 336 pages.
Date Published: March 21, 2017.
Date Read: July 1, 2017.

GOODREADS RATING: ★½☆  (3.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: B+ (3.3/4.0).


No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin