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The End of All Things (Old Man's War) Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2016
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About the Author
JOHN SCALZI is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut Old Man's War won him science fiction's John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, Lock In, and also Redshirts, which won 2013's Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely-read blog The Whatever has earned him two other Hugo Awards as well. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.
Top customer reviews
The book relies heavily on dialog. Pages and pages of dialog without any descriptions; diplomats talking to each other in hard to believe near soliloquies. Villains that are are hyper rational and hard to believe.
The book suffers from a large dose of “middle sag” in the action and the ending is down right Victorian! This effort was phoned in. Not a great statement on the status of big SF.
The first section following new character Rafe Daquin is absolutely the best, and also the only interesting part that I couldn't put down, and I realize it's because it's Scalzi's strongest voice: Clever, funny character put in a sticky/unfortunate situation and succeeding by thinking outside of the box. His previous protagonists John Perry and Harry Wilson had this in spades, and their stories were great.
Rafe's novella in the beginning is the only enjoyable part of this book, only to get tarnished by the bonus content of an alternate take on his story, told from several perspectives, that while more consistent with the rest of the book, suffers from the same problem of trying to stay political and grandiose while still unable to discard the playful dialogue Scalzi is great at in situations where it just doesn't work.
That's just the section I liked. The second part/novella has the unenviable position of trying to tell a story in a completely alien environment with alien characters that ultimately just comes across as a poor man's Game of Thrones set in a Sci-Fi universe, right down to a Tyrion-alike protagonist and a Varys-esque spymaster companion.
Try as I might, I can't even remember who the POV character of Part 3 was. I think it was several of them, but ultimately it doesn't matter because they were only there as an observer to move along the narrative of a rushed and disappointing ending of more heaping helpings of politics and disjointed action.
I'm sorry, but this book is a complete misfire. It's a shame because the plot could have easily been the backdrop for several tighter, more personal stories like the ones that made people fall in love with this series.
I'd give this book one star, but it gets an extra star because it's so forgettable that even now I'm having trouble remembering enough to write this review. As a result, by this time next year I'll still be able to look back on this series fondly, unlike, say, Star Wars or Terminator fans.
I wish these books eneded with John Perry showing up at Earth or built more around that cycle.
The books became meh or blah but maybe it was becaise I purchased all of them at once on Kindle. It had good promise but missed the mark at the end. Sorry but I wanted better
Other than that though, Scalzi writes a great fast paced pieces that are fun to read. I enjoyed the book, and am really happy that it didn't leave any unanswered questions that would need a sequel.
I will also put in a word for Scalzi's continuing exploration of female leadership with the characters Hafte Sorvalh and Ambassador Ode Abumwe and a climactic scene that I personally found groundbreaking.
Despite the title, this is not the final book in the series, which is good because just about everything to do with the "bad guys" is left unresolved, somewhat annoyingly to be honest. Scalzi will have to do a fair amount of work to make "Equilibrium" into something more than a SPECTRE-like "Evil Organization of Doom," because so far they lack anything resembling coherence of ideology or aim to go along with their formidable ability to deliver set-piece friendly mayhem. It matters because failure there would greatly weaken the series' larger critique of the CU and human militarism in general.
That being said, I have no desire to see this series end given that it's ridiculously entertaining AND unlike most, actually getting better with each book. Overall, I would highly recommend this to all traditional sci-fi fans, especially those who like military or alien-invasion focused stories.