The Last Colony

The Last Colony is the third book in John Scalzi’s Science Fiction series that started with Old Man’s War.  It’s kind of weird to even think of these books as being in a series, because while they’re in the same universe and contain the same characters, the books are all episodic, and you really don’t need to have read all of the books to enjoy any individual book.

Book Stats

320 pages

Science Fiction

Third book in the series (sequel to Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades)


John and Jane are both back in this book, and they’ve managed to achieve one of their goals from the earlier books, they’re both out of the military and living as colonists.  They’re essentially the same as they were in the first two books, and they’re still well written if not exactly going through a great arc during the course of this book.  This book is set several years after The Ghost Brigades, and Zoe is now a teenager living with John and Jane.  One of the best parts about this entire series has been how real the characters feel.  Scalzi does an excellent job of making the characters feel real through their dialog, and a lot of the banter between characters is interesting to read as well.


The book primarily takes place on Roanoke, a new colony consisting of people from previously established colonies rather than from Earth.  But the characters also spend some time in various other parts of space and Colonial Union spaceships.


There are two separate plots to this book, the first is the beginning plot wherein John and Jane are chosen to lead a new group of colonists on Roanoke, and the second is the larger overall plot of the CU and CDF fighting against the Conclave – a collection of hundreds of different alien species who are uniting to maintain power in their part of the universe.


Of the two separate plot arcs, I greatly preferred the first one which dealt with colonizing the planet.  Unfortunately, the larger part of the book (and the series as a whole) dealt with the second part.  The larger conspiracy was well done, but it was introduced later in the book, and really took away from the early plot of colonizing the planet.  There were several aspects of the colonists problems that were just swept under the rug and ignored due to the later issues.  And I understand that when compared to the problems of 2500 colonists the possible extinction of humans is the bigger issue.  The problem isn’t that the stories weren’t well told, or that they don’t belong in the same book together, I think the problem that I had was that the transition between the two stories left a lot to be desired (for me at least).

Overall Grade

This is probably the weakest novel in the series (for me at least), but if you enjoyed the first two books there’s no reason not to pick this one up.


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  1. Sounds like each book in the series is getting weaker! Maybe he is tiring of the concept.
    Thanks for a great review. 🙂

    • I don’t know if I’d say the books are getting weaker, but they’re very slightly shifting their genre. The first book was very much a Space Opera, which is the type of Science Fiction that I prefer to read. The second book was more of a Hard SF book, as Scalzi did a lot to explain the science throughout the book, which I didn’t care for as much. The third book does some other different things, but as I said in the review the two stories that it tried to tell at the same time didn’t mesh very well for me.

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