Monday, April 3, 2017

The Collapsing Empire: By John Scalzi



Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.

Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.

The Flow is eternal—but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency—must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.


John Scalzi has written some absolutely amazing military science fiction books between his Old Man’s War series and Redshirts. However, I completely understand that it can be intimidating to know where to jump in when an author is six books deep in a series, as is the case with The Old Man’s War series. And thus, brings us to one of the first great things about The Collapsing Empire, it is a brand-new series and perfect for readers who have never read a word of Scalzi in the past.

That said, while I mentioned his previous books are military science fiction based, this is not your typical science fiction escapism book (very few spaceship battles and ray guns and so forth), however, it is still absolutely filled to the brim with tension and excitement that is sure to keep any reader glued to their seat. Which, considering this is more of a political space thriller, discussing the interplays of inter-space merchant ventures, the pains and struggles of installing a new emperor, and the political ramification of dealing with a collapsing empire (I phrased it that way in an attempt to not give anything away, since that is after all, the title) which just goes to show how impressive of a writer Scalzi really is.

As for the other things that I enjoyed about the Collapsing Empire, I honestly loved the characters best of all. Not only were the characters likable, but the villains were understandable in their motivations, in fact, because of this and the situations that they were placed in, many of the “villains” could turn out to be much more likable characters, or at least quasi “good guys” in later books, based purely on a change of circumstances. That said, I think I loved Kiva Largos the most out of all of the characters. She is smart, kickass, and most importantly doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her. She has her own agenda, but doesn’t try to hide it. While she is smart, she is not trying to proclaim how much smarter she is, she just wants to get what’s best for her, if she can add in revenge on top of that, then bully for her. And on top of that, she was hilarious to read from as a POV character. Kiva is just one example of where Scalzi’s strength truly resides, in creating dynamic interesting characters who readers will absolutely fall in love with.

As for the pacing, The Collapsing Empire never felt slow. In fact, while there is very little physical violence to push the story’s inciting events along, the tension that Scalzi sews throughout the book will keep readers positively mesmerized.

All in all, I loved The Collapsing Empire. It ends in a way that promises more, and I hope that Scalzi delivers soon, because I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this exciting series. A great book for Scalzi fans and new readers alike.


Published: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Price: $25.99

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