The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the final book in the Interdependency Saga, and I think it's the best. All the storylines are wrapped up and Scalzi took the characters in a direction I didn't expect. As is typical for this author, this is a breezy, fast-paced book. His usual authorial meta-snarkiness is present, especially in the first few chapters (although it's not as bad as the first book, The Collapsing Empire, where for the life of me I could not figure out why he dragged the prologue to a sudden awkward halt to explain this universe's faster-than-light transportation system called the Flow, only to do it again in a better and more natural manner in one of the subsequent chapters), but that thankfully mutes itself as the story progresses. Scalzi's trademark humor is still here, especially in Kiva Lagos' chapters, and several times I laughed out loud. Kiva's best chapter was chapter 18, where by just being her blunt, foul-mouthed self, she talked an entire ship's crew into mutinying for her.
I think all the characters were treated better this time around. John Scalzi has never struck me as being outstanding in his characterizations--they're relatable, certainly, and adequate for the story's purpose, but he doesn't go for the depth of character that, say, an N.K. Jemisin does. But this book has several surprising and poignant moments for the three main characters, and a couple of the supporting ones as well. I did not expect one character in particular to end up where she did, and her storyline was an effective exploration of the book's themes of sacrifice and the weight of leadership.
Plot-wise, all the threads laid down in the first two books were resolved, and there were a couple of revelations that, looking back, seem inevitable. This trilogy is done, and satisfyingly so, but the universe in general would be fun to re-visit if the author ever chooses to.
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