#7: Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War series) by John Scalzi
Meet Zoe Boutin-Perry. Daughter. Colonist. Icon. The only hope for the people she loves.
Sixteen years old.
Zoe thought when her parents were selected to lead a new colony world, that the three of them would begin a new life among that stars but the colony isn't what it seems. Zoe, her family and her fellow colonists are unwilling thrust front and center in a struggle between the human Colonial Union and the alien Conclave, and there's no guarantee that any of them, human or alien, will survive.
Zoe is more than just a teenager caught in the middle. Her unique past makes her the one person who can save her colony, and in saving it, save humanity. But it won't be easy, or simple, or sure. Zoe will need every bit of her intelligence, wit and will to help her family and friends, and make it back to them alive.
The fourth book in the Old Man's War series, and a companion book to The Last Colony, Zoe's Tale was nominated for the Hugo and Norton Awards.
The Old Man's War series presents easy-to-read, addictive, yet thoughtful science fiction. This particular book is a good installment because it takes the events of The Last Colony and shows them through the first-person viewpoint of John and Jane's teenage daughter, Zoe. As a writer, the entire process intrigued me; Scalzi essentially wrote the same book twice.
Zoe's Tale does fill in some big gaps in the plot of the last book, but overall it doesn't carry the same suspense as the other books in the series. There are several reasons for this. The most obvious is that I already knew what happened. I knew who will die, who will live, and how everything comes together. Scalzi does write a very convincing teenage girl voice, full of attitude and some pretty stupid decisions (though never to the point where Zoe is deemed Too Stupid to Live), but that sort of voice also softens the overall tone and tension. John and Jane are the usual POVs in the novels, and as soldiers, there is an inherent level of grittiness; Zoe is smarter and more with-it than most teenagers, but she can't--and shouldn't--bear the maturity of her parents. This means the book would stand well on its own as a YA novel. I didn't read science fiction as a teenager, but I think I would have loved this book.
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