Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

This was an enjoyable conclusion to an enjoyable trilogy. There were some twists and fakeouts, one of which I totally fell for, and I am very angry about the deaths of one of my favorite characters. 

John Scalzi is an excellent author - he really has an ear for dialog and a flair for creating notable characters that feel real. Other than his Christmas themed short story collection, I have thoroughly enjoyed every book of his that he has ever published. He is on my short list of books I will happily reread and I’ve listened to Redshirts, Fuzzy Nation, and Agent to the Stars multiple times in audio. 

I am also a regular reader of Mr. Scalzi’s longrunning blog, at whatever dot com, where he shares, among other things, details about his creative process. He has been quite forthcoming about the fact that he turned each book in this trilogy into his editors at the last possible minute, and book two he wrote in two weeks after 18 months of mentally plotting but procrastinating.

Sad to say, it shows when you read the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong! I love these books and will reread (or relisten) to them again. I like the characters and the overall story. But, even for a Scalzi book, it seems overly dialog heavy and light on the description. There is a very tight focus on the main characters, which is fun because they’re enjoyable to the extreme, but the promise of this entire universe created in the first book makes the narrowing of focus in this volume to feel unfulfilling. 

Basically, my complaint boils down to: I want more. I would read an entire trilogy about the events on the planet End that paralleled this narrative and are given short shrift here. I would love a follow up to these character’s stories a few years on. The author indicated that, although the trilogy is done, he might revisit this world if he is inspired to one day. So I will reread and hope for more. 

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