The Collapsing Empire was such a pleasant surprise. After a gripping prologue and then a first few chapters that didn't really grab me, I settled in with this and loved it. There are three POV's here- Kiva Lagos who is the scion of a merchant house, Cardenia who becomes Emperox of known space after her father dies, and Marce Claremont who is one of the few people alive who knows that space as they know it is about to change forever. The premise here is that the Flow streams that allow humanity to travel the stars are collapsing, and when they do the human systems will be cut off from each other. Permanently.
Making matters worse is the fact that the current system gives each mercantile House a monopoly, so when colonies are cut off they are going to be drastically unprepared to be self sufficient. The fact of this is not lost on the few people who know this is coming, so you have a race to not only warn people but also the machinations of rival Houses who want to use this for their own ends. Kiva gets involved in this purely by accident when her and Marce's paths cross, while Cardenia becomes aware of this after taking over as Emperox and learning that her father knew all about it, and was in fact subsidizing research to verify it. The three of them become crucial to each other as the plot progresses and the scope of the conspiracy to hide things becomes clear.
This is a funny book as well as being an awesome space opera. I'd never read a Scalzi book before and I'm not even sure why I tried this one- it was completely a lark. Like I mentioned earlier the prologue was fantastic, and that sealed the deal. Then I was a little unimpressed by the first few chapters, but that changed fairly quick. I stuck with it and I'm so glad I did. I liked all three POV's and even the villains are grudgingly likable at times. Scalzi has a wry narrative voice and writes in such a way that he had me laughing at times even in the midst of peril.
Kiva in particular is a hoot. She's not necessarily a bad person but she's not exactly good either- she's loyal to her people but can be ruthless as well. Although once you get to know the various Houses that's not necessarily a bad thing, I guess, not if you're interested in surviving. Her and Marce made a pretty good team. And again the humor here is key. Scalzi has a way at times of almost breaking the fourth wall, of talking directly to the reader that makes for a very conversational tone. It's refreshing and different from other authors that I've read, but in a good way.
So I would say this is one of the better science fiction books I've read lately. The humor, the tone, backstabbing and dog-eat-dog nature of this universe had me skimming through the pages and laughing numerous times. I would caution that there are a lot of f- bombs in this one, so if that's not your thing just a heads- up. But otherwise I would definitely recommend this and I had an absolute blast with it.
Awesome! Definitely adding this to my TBR!ReplyDelete
Opt! I already did! I must have seen you discussing this book once before :)Delete
Ha ha I hope you enjoy it!Delete
I so need to read more sci.fiReplyDelete
Great! I was wondering if I should pick this one up and I think I have to :)ReplyDelete
Yeah I would!!Delete
I listened to Redshirts a while ago and loved it. I really like the sound of this one. I'm glad to hear it has humor in it too. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I think I need to read more Sclazi.Delete
I read Lock In by Scalzi and enjoyed it so I want to read more by him. I love how he sneaks a little humor in there.ReplyDelete
For What It's Worth
Kudos to you for hanging in there. Sadly, these days, if a book doesn't grab within the 1st chapter, it becomes a DNF. I have been known to go back to a novel years later, and really enjoyed it. Great review! Hugs...ReplyDelete
I just bought my first Scalzi book - Fuzzy Nation. It looks and sounds fun so I thought it might be a good place to start!ReplyDelete
I've been looking for more Scalzi too, and I've seen Fuzzy Nation.Delete
Oooh this sounds so great! Normally I'm not the biggest sci-fi reader but I do love a good space opera, especially if it has Scalzi's trademark humour. Kiva in particular sounds awesome, and I'm excited to learn more about her! It's good to know that while the first few chapters may be a bit boring, the rest of the story makes up for it. I recommend giving Lock In a try since you liked this so much! :)ReplyDelete
I loved the humor in this. It was my first Scalzi and it was a riot. Kiva was AWESOME. All I can say about that, snarky to the nth degree! I thought the prologue was amazing (that's why I bought it), then the first few- ehh- then it took off for me.Delete
I will definitely check out Lock IN!
This sounds REALLY good. I don't think it is something I'd ever have gravitated toward on my own, but I love the premise, and the characters sound great. Plus, any book that has humor AND high stakes sounds like my kind of book. ::Grumbles because your reviews are terrible for my already tragic TBR:: :)ReplyDelete
It was actually quite good, but I had to get into it. Kiva was awesome and the behind the scenes stuff was kinda fun too, but the snarly tone most of all. And I totally tried it on a lark, so it could have went bad. :)Delete
I don't read science fiction very often, but I really should, because I love watching it. This sounds like something I'd totally enjoy. I'll keep in mind that I need to be patient with the first few chapters. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Greg! :)ReplyDelete
As much as I love SF I don't read a TON of it these days, although I've had luck lately. It can be hit or miss. But yes after the first few chapters it takes off. The prologue actually sold me when I read it at Amazon.Delete
I've seen this book about and i recognise the author's name but for some reason this book had never been on my radar. It sounds like a great read and one I would definitely enjoy. I'll have to check it out from my library and see if it's good. I never buy as much SF as fantasy and books like this one always make me question why.ReplyDelete
Yep, Scalzi knows how to write that sort of tone :) you should read Redshirts!ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed this one - I like a lot of his stuff, but The Collapsing Empire very much impressed me. I also enjoyed his take on Fuzzy Nation and Lock In - a near-future thriller with some interesting twists is my favourite. Couldn't get on with Redshirts, though. The joke is amusing initially, but not sufficiently funny to base a WHOLE book on it. However I know lots of other folks who thought it hilarious.ReplyDelete
I thought this one was a hoot, too. I can't wait to see what comes next in the series.ReplyDelete
The Collapsing Empire is already on my TBR list. It sounds like a great book.ReplyDelete
Oh! I'm glad you enjoyed this. Scalzi is one of my favorite sci-fi authors. I listened to this one in audiobook when it first came out. I thought it was delightful.ReplyDelete
I added this to my Goodreads tbr. Thanks for the heads up.:)ReplyDelete