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John Scalzi – The End of All Things

November 8, 2015

55. The End of All Things by John Scalzi (2015)
Old Man’s War, Book 6

Read my review of book:
1. Old Man’s War
2. The Ghost Brigades
2.5 The Sagan Diary
3. The Last Colony
4. Zoe’s Tale
5. The Human Division

Read By: William Dufris and Tavia Gilbert
Length: 11h 24m (384 pages)

Genre: Science Fiction

Started: 14 August 2015
Finished: 21 August 2015

Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I’ve enjoyed the rest of the series, and The Human Division ended on a hell of a cliffhanger, so I wanted to see how it all resolved.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 August 2015.

It’s hard to give peace
a chance when both sides are egged
towards war from within.

Summary: The End of All Things, although the sixth book in the Old Man’s War series, is really the second half of The Human Division, tracing the widening breach between the human Colonial Union and the alien races of the Conclave, with the humans of Earth as little more than pawns in the power struggle, and the mysterious organization known as Equilibrium throwing fuel on the fire at every opportunity. Like The Human Division, The End of All Things is told in multiple sections from the point of view of multiple narrators; however, it’s told in four longer chunks rather than multiple shorter ones. We first hear from Rafe Daquin, a CDF pilot who gets entangled in various schemes and winds up a brain in a box, but he’s not going to let that stop him from getting back at those who would do such a terrible thing to him. Next up is Hafte Sorvalh, one-time Conclave ambassador and second in command to General Gau, where we get a look into the inner workings of the Conclave and its political machinations. The third part is told from the point of view of Melissa Lee, a CDF captain who slowly begins to have second thoughts about the missions she’s being tasked to undertake. And then the final part brings all of these threads together, into a final plan that will either save the Colonial Union, the Conclave, and the Earth, or else destroy them all, and with them, any hope for peace in the galaxy.

Review: While I don’t know that I enjoyed this book quite as much as I normally enjoy Scalzi’s books, it did have a number of very good parts to it, and it was a very satisfactory wrapping up of all of the questions raised by The Human Division. The first story was probably the best; classic Scalzi with a snarky, optimistic, determined narrator-protagonist, some cranky aliens, and a solution that’s equal parts tech and bravado. Rafe gets a lot of good lines, and I appreciated that we started getting a sense of who Equilibrium was, what they wanted, and what they were doing almost immediately, after all the hints and shadows of The Human Division. The second story was also quite good; I like Hafte Sorvalh, and I found the political strategizing easier to follow than I normally do, without it feeling overly simplistic. I also liked the view into the heart of the Conclave itself, something that (to the best of my recollection) we haven’t seen in this series before. My only issue with this section was the narration. The Human Division was narrated by William Dufris, who also narrates the male protagonist’s sections in this book. He’s fine – he’s got a good delivery of Scalzi’s snarkier lines and can create recognizeable voices for secondary characters (even if his protagonists all sound vaguely the same, although that may be Scalzi’s writing rather than Dufris’s reading.) But in this book, the female protagonists’ sections are read by Tavia Gilbert. I have no idea how old Gilbert is, but her voice sounds quite young. While this was just fine for Melissa Lee’s voice in the third part, I always interpreted Hafte Sorvalh as being more serene, mature, and unflappable than Gilbert makes her sound.

(The only other issue with the narration is a common one for SF/F books with multiple narrators – the narrators didn’t appear to have coordinated well if at all on their interpretations of secondary characters that appeared in multiple sections, frequently leaving me confused as to who a character was, as they were voiced TOTALLY differently.)

The third part was my least favorite – it wasn’t bad, but as it featured completely new characters, and was relatively short with lots of action, I wasn’t nearly as emotionally invested as I was for the other sections. And the final part was also good, bringing back a lot of familiar characters, and neatly (if maybe a little hurriedly?) tying together plot threads that had been building since the beginning of The Human Division, ultimately presenting a satisfactory ending that still leaves room for future stories in this universe. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: The End of All Things should ideally be read immediately after The Human Division – it’ll make no sense on its own. And while these two would probably work relatively well independent of the rest of the series, the first four Old Man’s War books are so good that anyone who likes a snarky sense of humor and space fights that focus just as much on the people as on the technology should definitely check out the whole thing.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Strangely, I couldn’t find any yet at the Book Blogs Search Engine. That can’t possibly be right. Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: So, I’m supposed to tell you how I became a brain in a box.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 9, 2015 2:43 am

    “classic Scalzi with a snarky, optimistic, determined narrator-protagonist, some cranky aliens, and a solution that’s equal parts tech and bravado” – okay, I haven’t read any Scalzi but he does sound awesome. And the first line of the book is totally the first question that sprang to mind when I was reading your summary, ha.

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