I’m going to sheepishly admit that I didn’t know John Scalzi had a new book coming out. Primarily because of my inability to read any publishing news and not due to any marketing failure on Tor’s part. Eh, I’m working on getting better at staying plugged in.
The first I heard about The Collapsing Empire was when word spread that one particular eye-rolling troll was attempting to diminish Scalzi’s book launch by excreting a pile of words under a similar name and cover design. So, of course, the only right plan of action was to immediately purchase Scalzi’s book in three different formats. (I read ebooks, Dave listens to audio on his long commute, and my little brother does paper copies.)
The Collapsing Empire is space opera at its modern finest. It’s fast and packed with intrigue without getting bogged down in political details. The concept of the Flow is both exotic and easy to understand. You don’t need a degree in astrophysics to follow the plot. And, as I said above, the snappy and true-to-life dialogue is a pleasure to read.
The entire cast of characters was realistic (even in extraordinary circumstances) and reflected the incredible breadth of cultures we would expect to find in a multi-planet civilization. And as a bisexual woman, it was amazing to see a strong character like Lady Kiva front and center. When she considered making a marriage of political convenience but couldn’t choose between a certain lord or a particular lady, I cheered. Why limit yourself when there’s so much awesomeness all over the gender spectrum?
You’re not going to find long, lush passages of description here. And that doesn’t make The Collapsing Empire a bad book. Because that’s not what this book is here for. You’re going to jump in fast and ride it hard like a bucking bronco. Or like Lady Kiva… *ahem* nevermind.