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Showing 1-10 of 373 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 494 reviews
on August 5, 2016
Much of this book is a repetition of the original story in The Last Colony. Since you may already know that, I will attempt to avoid more disclosures that could be spoilers. While you many know the past, you start right away seeing things from her perspective. She is a teenage girl right out of 1960's Iowa, pure and simple, living in idyllic Huckleberry. How she became that girl is glossed over, as it is in previous works. One would expect a more cautious and wary personality from what we know of her.

Here she is. You learn the backstory first. This young girl has some reason to be jaded or suffering from a sense of victimhood, but is happy and well adjusted to life with her odd parents. Dad is an ancient American, but not as ancient by a few hundred years as he needs to be for this story. Formerly a modern warrior himself he would be capable of wiping out the entire colony personally. Her mom is an artificially created human who sprang full grown into life as an elite warrior, capable of laying low entire Seal teams and dad. How does Scalzi make them loving and caring parents modeled from the days of Leave It To Beaver? I don't know. He sort of slips into it in his previous books, but it makes sense in Scalzi's Old Man's War series is as curious a blend of political corruption and idealism triumphant as you would ever read and believe. These people belong in that universe as he pulls that off again. They all must be from Iowa. And the two alien bodyguards? Bodyguards who would easily kill everyone she knows, including her mother, to keep her from any harm and are the representatives of a powerful alien race that worships her. The threat of displeasing her keeps them in line, barely. Now, you may wonder how any adventure could come to a girl surrounded by such an array as this. You don't know teenage girls.

From a teenage girl's point of view of her life on the Last Colony of Roanoke you have: intelligent and dangerous pet alien monsters, slobbery dog, benign neglectful parents with just the right touch of mature wisdom, boys, girls, boys and girls again, politics, an alien planet complete with more aliens, and one other revered meta, keeping important secrets from the adults. You have to love that last one, from Tom Sawyer to Harry Potter, untold secrets are where the drama is.

There's a story for you. Yet you still believe she is just your average middle class 1960's midwestern American girl with an iPad.

She is immediately thrust into an adventure from her agraian life right into the rigors of colonizing an alien planet. Typical of a teenage girl, she discovers the terrible secret of the the mission before her parents, the leaders of the colony. Not by much, but a coup none the less that begins the story of how she and her friends are working their way to the same conclusion of the story as her parents and the rest of the colonists. The story is about her, her female and male friends and how life with the powerless develops parallel to the powers-that-be. She eventually becomes the story and the proud progeny of her parents. Although she's not, really. You may not notice that until you think about it.

She is believable to me in the context of the story, There are some jerks and stops as the story gets started, but then Scalzi has to make this work and he does.

Zoe is sort of like a midwestern Podkayne. The similarities between the two jumped out at me as I started this book. Not that the stories are anything alike other than teenage girl heroines written by male writers. But I think she is the teenage girl men who like women think of, when they are not designing killer aliens and enhanced humans with neat hardware to deal with them.

Definitely worth the read and completes The Lost Colony nicely.
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on October 21, 2015
The main problem I have with this book is that it's mostly a retelling of an existing book with a different narrator. In someways I would have preferred Zoe as the only narrator. Second best would have been for the two books to be merged into one with the view point swapping back and forth. But we have what we got. It's still a really good read. The main problem I had, is that because the previous book established the narrative and timeline, I found myself trying to think back to it at a couple points in this book where things didn't quite want to "match up" in my head. I'm sure Scalzi was probably kicking himself at a couple points where he felt he needed to expand Zoe as a character but didn't have much to work with given the previous novel... he went ahead and did it anyway which gave him enough for this to be a novel and not a short story, but at some expense of making the whole thing seem a bit tacked on IMHO.
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on September 15, 2017
This side story in the OMW series was an unexpected pleasure to read. At least part of the surprise was in the presumption that this would be a coming of age story written from the shallow light-dappled-waters perspective that this formula usually entails; but even with none of the obligatory superpowers, Zoë turns out to be no ordinary adolescent (Thank GOD!). In this story Zoë grapples with not one but two wrenching losses and responsibilities that define her character in ways that will inspire even the most cynical. That said, there's still the obligatory teen backstory about belonging, but it's a story that actually serves as a moral tale that reveals as much about the mysteries of Scalzi's universe as it does his philosophy in a way that serves the plot like a great wine serves an unforgettable feast. A worthy read!
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on July 6, 2017
I'm thoroughly impressed how Scalzi was able to write from the perspective of a teenage girl. He seemed to have no problem in capturing the passion, curiosity, angst,stubbornness and vibrancy of the teenage years of the main character, Zoë, and her friends. First I read the paperback a couple of times and then enjoyed the the book all over again when I "rediscovered" it in audio form. Kudos to the reader! Each character's voice was so distinct and interesting that I found myself listening to the book several more times!

I've read all the "Old Man's War" books and enjoyed them as well, but Zoe's Tale is personal as I have a soon to be teen who's wonderful in every way, and I hope that she too will grow to be as considerate, thoughtful, resourceful, and intelligent as Zoë Boutin Perry.
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on April 9, 2017
The problem I had with this book was I recently finished the other books in a back to back Netflix style of reading. Amazon makes it so easy when you go to buy a book in a series to just add all the other books, so I just binged through them. So a lot of this book was very fresh and in my mind a bit repetitive.
However the last half of the book was worth it. The story at that point was worth it and I'm looking forward to where it goes next
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on June 23, 2014
This book is written along the same timeline as "The Last Colony" and is not about Zoe's life after that book. Going into the book, I thought is was a continuation of the series and almost stopped reading it. I'm glad I kept reading.

While it does a decent job of standing on its own, it really should be read right after reading TLC. It does a great job of adding value to areas that were glossed over in TLC without over re-hashing them. I never felt like I was re-reading TLC even though we know what is coming next.

This kind of writing is incredibly hard and the author pulled it off well. Zoe has her own life and voice, brings in some unexpected story lines, ties up others and improves upon some areas from TLC. For example, the death of a family in TLC was a fairly unemotional piece of the story. In Zoe, it's a critical part of what makes Zoe the person she is.

I would love to see a whole new series with Zoe as the main character. Scalzi created a memorable leader with her and it seems like a waste of potential story to let her end now.

That said, the book got 4 stars instead of 5 for the occasional boredom and the semi hokey ending. Parts of the end felt a little rushed and unrealistic, depending too much on TLC to fill some gaps. None of which ruins the book, just takes it from 5 to 4 stars.

Thanks for a good read!
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on June 12, 2017
It's rare that you get to see the same story told by more than one person. It's an absolute gem when it's done as well as Scalzi has done. This follows on "The Last Colony" by retelling it -- not from the Old Man's point of view, but from his sarcastic, quick-witted daughter. The Tale speaks more to daily life in the colony, but incorporates no less the grand scale of Scalzi's universe. Even though the over-arching events are depicted in The Last Colony, this is a worthwhile read if you prefer Scalzi's written wit, or if you'd like a companion to the former.
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on November 2, 2013
"Good grief, a retelling of The Last Colony? That was a good book, but do I really want to re-read it?"

Short answer, yes.

The book description simply doesn't do Zoe's Tale justice. Yes, it recovers the events from The Last Colony. Yes, you'll already know the major plot points. However Scalzi has a great talent for creating believable characters, and Zoe has much to say about side events, background events, and her own view of the colony's adventure. I was quite surprised at how rich the story was and how thoroughly I enjoyed reading it.

Please, Mr. Scalzi, keep writing! The Old Man's War series is the best new sci-fi I've read in years.
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on September 18, 2017
While this covers a time period already written about in another novel, the change to Zoe's point of view give a nice review of those events, along with Zoe's nicely developed character. Thought I'd be a bit bored, but was pleasantly surprised, not bored at all. Worth the investment of time and attention.
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on January 31, 2016
"Zoe's Tale" is part four of the Old Man's War series of books and is the retelling of the story covered in Scalzi's novel "The Last Colony" from teen aged Zoe's(adopted daughter of John and Jane Perry, who was introduced in "The Ghost Brigades") point of view. I enjoyed reading the novel but I can't give it five stars because it was a rehash of the events in "The Last Colony" and if you don't read it and go on to the next novel you won't miss much. There's information in the book that gives some backstories about events in "The Last Colony" Scalzi didn't elaborate on that concerned the attack of the werewolves and also what Zoe did when she visited General Gau and the Conclave, but I won't say any more and spoil the book in case someone wants to read it. I thought this was a good solid novel with witty dialog and an interesting point of view, but it wasn't quite up to the first three novel's standards. It still was a good read for me and I think hard core Scalzi fans won't be disappointed.
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