• Michael Pogach

Pogach Reviews: Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi (Old Man's War #4)



Zoe’s Tale, by John Scalzi, is the 4th book in the Old Man’s War series. It’s literally the same events that occur in The Last Colony, which means it’s about John and Jane leading a new colony world secretly intended to be sacrificed, except this time those events are told from the point of view of John and Jane’s adopted daughter Zoe.

I was skeptical of this one and put off reading it for a while. I loved Old Man’s War, and The Ghost Brigades was good, but I found The Lost Colony a little slow, though it paid off in the end. The idea of reading it again, from a different narrator’s point of view, wasn’t high on my list.

But I have to say, Zoe’s Tale is easily my second favorite in the series after the first book. Zoe is a refreshing, and so very likable, voice. And the novel is not a rehash at all, the way you might be thinking. It deftly summarizes incidents we’ve already read about while focusing on completely different aspects of the Roanoke colony. And let’s not forget about Zoe herself. Scalzi does an excellent job (in this middle-aged guys’ opinion) of writing a teenage girl narrator. She’s smart, brave, fun, compassionate, and her arc through the novel is never less than compelling.

Bottom line: This was a bold choice from Scalzi, but he executed it beautifully. Zoe’s Tale rejuvenates the entire series for me. And, bonus, we get even more Hickory and Dickory. Don’t overlook that!

5 stars.

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