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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2008
With this Scalzi brings his "Old Man's War" sequence to a finish (though it appears that his latest "Zoe's War" is also set in the same sequence, just giving a different perspective on the action).

Old Man's War was a fine example of military S. F., giving a fresh perspective. However the two sequels seem to have progressively run out of invention and I think the author is right to now draw a line, at least for now, under the sequence to look elsewhere. Because it offers little new, I was disappointed by it. It is competently written and concentrates on the politics rather than the military action in this Universe.

Basically, the protagonist Perry and his wife, recently retired from the military and put back in true human bodies, become colonial administrators and lead a new colony. The Colonial Government it is as duplicitous and questionable as it has emerged as being earlier in the sequence.

If you have read the prequels you you will probably want to read this to see how it pans out. If you have not read them, do not read this with out having read the earlier works. Old Man's War is a must read for anyone who likes military SF. Its successors do not reach that high level of gripping the reader. Hence my rating, though I stress there is nothing wrong with the work, it just falls short of its predecessors.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2008
The Conclave, a collective of over 400 alien species, has declared any attempts at colonisation by non-conclave members on any planet will be met with the removal of the colony. The CDF, not a member of the conclave, plans to make a mockery of the conclave by setting up a new colony and leaking false information about its whereabouts.

To run this colony a family is chosen, one with a history and capabilities that can help it succeed. John Perry, a CDF veteran with a decorated history; Jane Sagan, a former CDF special forces intelligence officer with knowledge usually reserved for the highest ranking CDF officers; and Zoe Boutin, daughter to the traitor Charles Boutin and now worshipped by the Obin for her fathers work in bringing them consciousness.

But the colony is not told of its secret until they arrive at the planet and find themselves unable to use technology for fear of bringing the conclave to them. Will the colony survive and, more importantly for the CDF, will their plan to break the conclave work?

We once again return to the Old Man's War universe, this time with familiar characters from both the previous novels. John and Jane are already well flushed out characters, but put in a new situation it gives a new light to them. We've seen them in the Colonial Defense Force but now we get treated to normal family life, at least for a while, before they're thrown into the situation of being cut off from civilisation.

The rest of the characters, ranging from politicians to farmers and all in between, are nicely flushed out. The motivations and ideals they hold are well defined and interesting to see mixed together. The situation they are in gives Scalzi a good stage to develop them further than I would have thought, and by telling people they can't use technology it explores what a lot of people these days would feel very uncomfortable with. He does it with ease and style, a couple of the reasons that his books are so readable.

What I've noticed the most about Scalzi's writing is the way it has developed through the three books. Old Man's War was all first person and although there was good description at times, it wasn't about that. It was about telling the story. The Ghost Brigades stepped away from that point of view and included some info-dumping sections that sometimes felt a little, well, info-dumping. This time we have some first person, some third person and the info-dumping is a lot less obvious. It's there, don't be mistaken, but this time it just feels smoother.

All the things I've come to expect from a John Scalzi novel were here again this time, although the humour to a lesser extent (and that's something I really did enjoy about Old Man's War). I wasn't disappointed, and with the high expectations I had I can't praise it any more than that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 January 2011
You know what you get with John Scalzi - a competently written story that is purely plot-driven. He isn't a fancy writer, in fact I think in the whole of the book there are only a handful of purely descriptive passages. By the end you'll have a unique opinion of what the main characters look like because very little is on the page. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Where Scalzi is strong is in his grasp of technology, which he slots into the story with an assured hand, and his dialogue which is snappy and charmingly retro.

But when the technology is pulled out of a hat at just the right moment to handle a specific situation, which is glaringly convenient in the first place, it takes the lustre off.

And the dialogue that served as a background to the first two books in the trilogy now makes up the bulk of the novel. There is an awful lot of extended discussion going on and unfortunately a lot of it sounds like the same character arguing with himself. Only the clearly alien Obin has a distinctive voice, though even that voice is just a cagier version of the "regular" speech. Even the main "alien" characters all sound like humans from the fifties. Scalzi isn't even THAT old.

Literally, several times during the novel, a group of characters will discuss some point or other, arguing themselves in circles all using similar idiom and all behaving rationally and even-tempered. Mostly.

All except Jane the female protagonist and wife to the narrator. She gets to be the savage, rage barely-contained character whose handling of the situation we'd probably rather be reading if she was given her wishes, while her old fogey (admittedly in a spanking new body) husband fumes about the indignities being heaped on him.

Couple this with some frankly baffling paragraphs of exposition and several incidents of action taking part off-stage, along with the complete abandonment of a sub-plot half-way through and you have to wonder if Scalzi was giving this work his full attention.

Did I enjoy it? It was okay. It's an easy read with some nice ideas, and I certainly don't regret seeing how the story ended. But after two books full of gene-manipulated super-soldiers battling aliens in harsh environments, I kinda would've liked to see the story capped in similar fashion.
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Is this possibly the newest book I've reviewed so far?

When it was originally written, Scalzi's The Last Colony was supposed to be the end to the John Perry / Jane Sagan saga...or so he said in the acknowledgements at the end. He went on to write the same story again from Zoe Perry's perspective in Zoe's Tale, which I haven't purchased yet. Maybe some time in the future.

In the third book of the series, John Perry and Jane Sagan are now out of the CDF, no longer working soldiers, and now living a quiet and happy life on the retirement planet of Huckleberry with their adopted daughter, Zoe. However their life is interrupted when a CDF officer arrives to ask them if they are interested in becoming the leaders of a new colony on another planet, Roanoke.

So, without wanting to spoil too much of the story, they up sticks and move out. However they soon realise that not everything is as it seems, and the new colony becomes the focal point of a political struggle between the CDF and the previously mentioned alien alliance - the Conclave.

What we have here is a book which is broadly very different from the previous two novels. There isn't a great deal of explosive action, no soldiering...what we have is political intrigue, conspiracy and battles of wits that all add up to produce an extremely readable page-turner. It's refreshing to have a different story here than in Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades, and one that is full of genuine twists and turns to maintain the sense of intrigue.

It's very hard to talk about this book without using the word "intrigue" so much, but that's exactly what it is full of. Things change so often that you can't help but keep on reading to find out what happens next. A bonus is the fact that Scalzi has returned to his Old Man's War form of prose - sizeable chunks of dialogue interspersed with some effecient, descriptive text that doesn't get mired in info-dumping or over-description. So I think you get the point - fast paced, twisty, turny, and very fresh and enjoyable.

It's not without it's faults - one major plot hole concerns a race of aliens that attack the colony in the first half of the book, after which they simply disappear from the story altogether. One can't help but feel Scalzi merely used this as filler, or perhaps some strange reference to Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead. What was the point of this though? It has no immediate bearing on the main story, and is barely mentioned a few chapters after the event.

Another thing I had trouble with was a piece of equipment intriduced suddenly toward the end of the book which was instrumental to the final battle - convenient much?

Having said that, this book is probably the best of the three. Old Man's War brought some fresh ideas but suffered old military SF tropes. Ghost Brigades had a tight story with interesting concepts on humanity and consciousness, but was a good deal slower than the previous. The Last Colony gives us a page-turning, political story complete with character and action. Well worth the read.

8/10
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What a refreshing change to the usual never ending repetitive series that often start off well, but drag on too long trying to squeeze the last penny out of the reader's pocket. Nope John Scalzi has resisted the tempation and the three book series is all the better for it. Together they make up a proper begining, middle and end, each being self contained but with of course the previous book to build on.

The Last Colony is less violent and much less of a "space opera", than the Old Man's War and in particular Chost Brigades. It is however well written and with enough action to keep most happy. There are some good plot twists and a bit of ambiguity when it comes to in book political manouvering. It makes for an intelligent but not demanding read.

The book is also short and snappy. Whilst like many I rather enjoy the Peter F Hamilton door stops it's also refreshing to read a book that will actually fit in a small bag. You could concievably put all three books into a one book tomb although each book to be fair does have it's own individual flavour.

Overall I'd recommend this to sci-fi fans who enjoyed the EE Doc Smith books in their childhood but now read the Hamilton mammoth titles and who are game for a short, thoughtful and interesting series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I was going to write a lengthy review of The Last Colony but after a couple of attempts gave up and decided to keep it brief.

This is the third book in John Scalzi's series following the varying adventures of John Perry, Jane Sagan and their adopted daughter Zoe. The previous two books are Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades, both of which I can highly recommend (and have reviewed previously).

The Lost Colony maintains the standards set by the two preceding books. Scalzi is an immensely talented author with a style that is incredibly accessible and shot full of wit, warmth and a sense of humanity. This third book wraps up the various plots and subplots from Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades in a highly satisfying fashion. I would strongly recommend reading both those books before embarking on this one. If you already have completed them and loved them as much as I did you will not be disappointed by this final chapter.
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on 29 June 2010
"The Last Colony" is an excellet book - a follow on from "Old Man's War," "The Sagan Diary" and "The Ghost Brigades."

I give this and "Old Man's War" top ratings as well written and compelling SCI FI reading. "The Ghost Bridges" only marginally less so. However "The Sagan Diary" I recommend you miss altogether. Rest assured that by not reading this book you will in no way alter your reading pleasure or cause any disjuncture in the story line.

All these novels are based on the interesting concept of humanity spreading throughout the stars and the need to provide soldiers willing to give their lives to protect the colonists from agressive alien races intent on possessing the same planets. This is done by turning old people into genetically engineered super soldiers and, in the case of special forces (The Ghost Bridages), by resurrecting the dead from DNA - Are you intrigued, if so get these books I don't think you will be disappointed.
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on 25 July 2015
This has been my favourite in the series so far. I enjoyed Old Man's War but found the writing style a little stilted in places and the universe it was set in not wholly convincing. In The Last Colony the characters are fleshed out and real rather than just devices to move plot forward. Scalzi explores in more detail the political and moral ramifications of Earth's relationship with both the Colonial Union and the rest of the universe and that makes this book more satisfying than a simple space/alien action adventure. I hope there will be many more novels set in this universe to come as the series just gets better and better.
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on 10 December 2013
I didn't realise it was a sequel when I started it but it didn't ruin the read for me. Other commentators may have had different expectations to me therefore and this might explain some of the negative comments about it.
The writing style reminded me in many ways of Asimov with weird aliens thrown in. The story line progressed at a reasonable pace and most of the characters did whet they were supposed to do, which was comforting.
This may not be a stunning story, but it is a good one.
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on 6 June 2015
The three books is the Scalzi trilogy that propelled him into the best selling sci-fi literature world actually make easy reads with the occasional well thought but rarely original concept. Unfortunately food for thought they are not. There are some basic characters that are usually likeable, some villains without motives living within quite superficially conceived and often naive premises. By the way, any comparison to Heinlein or Haldeman is unfortunate, in my opinion.
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