This is a parallel book to The Last Colony, retold from the viewpoint of Zoë, the adoptive daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan. If you’ve read The Last Colony, you know the basic framework of the story. The colony of Roanoke is established as a secret holdout (and bait) against the Conclave. The Conclave must be stopped, but the Colonial Union isn’t playing fair.
I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second. Zoë is a bubbly, sassy teenager with a sharp wit. Scalzi excels at putting a smile on the reader’s face even when recounting everyday events. He has also succeeded in making it sound as if the story is indeed told by a teenager, albeit an intelligent and precocious one. Unfortunately, the book bogs down in the second half, with long stretches of heavy handed dialogue ponderously moving the story forward. Scalzi painted himself into a corner with the very convoluted plot. On the whole, it is an enjoyable book, but nowhere near as good, or as much fun, as Old Man’s War.