Zoe’s Tale

This is the fourth book in John Scalzi’s Science Fiction series that started with Old Man’s War.  He doesn’t really have a name for the series as a whole, the cover of this book bluntly says that it’s “An Old Man’s War Novel.”  I don’t know exactly how many of these books he was originally planning to write when he started with Old Man’s War, but the books are all very episodic and stand on their own very well.  This is probably the only book in the series that really requires you to have read the earlier books, since it occurs chronologically at the same time as The Last Colony.  But while it’s telling the same story that we’ve already read from The Last Colony, it’s from Zoe’s viewpoint, and in many ways that makes it my favorite book in the series thus far.

Book Stats

400 pages

Science Fiction

Fourth book in the Old Man’s War series, sequel to Old Man’s War, the Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony.


Most of the characters in this book are side characters in The Last Colony, but as I mentioned in the intro the book is told from Zoe’s point of view.  This helps the book out in two major ways.  The first is that it eases off on the science.  The third book leaned a bit too much towards hard SF for my taste, and I thought it weakened the book as a whole.  Zoe is very intelligent, but she’s also a lot younger than John and Jane, and so the story really focuses more on the characters and their actions as opposed to the science.  The second reason that it helps the book is because Zoe has a wonderfully snarky sense of humor.


The same as The Last Colony, and the same universe as the first three books, but you should know that by now.


The book is the same plot as The Last Colony, starting with John, Jane, and Zoe leaving to colonize Roanoke, and then ending in the same place.  The main difference is that this book explains two plot points from the first book, which if Scalzi hadn’t explained them in the acknowledgements I probably wouldn’t have noticed that they were plot holes, one of them really was, and the other one I don’t really think mattered in the long run.


This is easily my favorite novel in the series.  It has all of the same machinations of the government as the earlier books, but Zoe is a lot more likable as a person than John and Jane were.  While the earlier books were very good, this one includes a lot more humor, and some sadder moments that really make the story complete.  This book is both a solid continuation of the series and a wonderful story in its own right.

Overall Grade

Easily my favorite book in the series, Zoe is a wonderful character and her story is well worth reading.


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  1. I’ve heard a lot about this author lately, and yet I haven’t read one of his books. I need to keep an eye out for him when I’m at the library.

  1. September 2012 Month in Review « Reviews and Ramblings

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