Review: The Collapsing Empire

The Collapsing Empire
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When you like an author and you like a narrator it is usually a no brainer to buy the book (audiobook in this case). This really was no different, with the exception of it ending rather shortly. Scalzi is up there with Gaiman and Stephenson in my authors that I will buy whatever they produce. Wil Wheaton usually teams up to narrate Scalzi’s novels. Wheaton was on point for his narration. Albeit the protagonists start to all blend together, not sure if that is fully attributed to Wheaton or Scalzi’s writing style and protagonist choice. Altogether 4.5 stars for Wheaton.

There is a lot to like about the book. A creation of an entire universe, with an interesting subset of features that come into jeopardy. An entire caste system, a futuristic monarchy/caste system held together by sanctioned monopolies. Strong female casts, although the Lagos female was quite vulgar, and altough came off as acceptable for the setting of the novel, was still jarring for no apparent reason in the modern day. One certain female was killed off rather quickly, and I rather well liked her. Science, intrugue, pirates, smuggling, spaceship exposed to a vacuum…

But back to my main gripe. The novel ended too soon. Sure it had the hero’s journey, mission accomplished. Sure it had a antagonist that is revealed and punished in the end. There just was a lot left ready to be explained. It sort of felt like we got to the second to last crescendo in a skrillex beat before the bass is dropped. The epilogue sort of fixes some stuff, but was rather bland and should have been left out. As you can see this is called the Interdependency 1, so it does seem to be a grab to create a series and continue to cash in. Maybe there was some information about the arch of the series, book 1 – Intro and the start of the collapse, book 2 – the collapse, book 3 – recovery and Earth?!?. I say that last bit because the writing rather strong handedily foretells that the initial collapse that prevented travel back to Earth is likely to show up again later in the series. Time will tell in that regard.

By no means did I not thouroughly enjoy the novel, I just felt it could have been self contained in one. I will pretty much be required to read the second one, which may have been the point in the first place…

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