After John’s story in Old Man's War and Jane’s (to some extent) in The Ghost Brigades, this time around we get both of them. They’re together now and raising Zoë (how’s that for a complicated family), when they’re tapped to head an entirely new colony planet Roanoke–with the first city named Croatoan. Also… why would they even agree to that?
I mean… come on. Either no one knows the history behind the names–in which case why in the world would they be using them–or they do–in which case why in the world would you choose that to name your new colony. Granted, they turn out to want it to be lost, but still. It’s a bit annoying.
On top of that, you have all manner of plotlines that are brought up only to be ignored until they become necessary or to be dropped entirely. Native critters? A huge deal and then just sort of gone when things get tough. Consu tech? Only time they’re mentioned in the entire story. ‘Command mode’? Gone for a few chapters.
And for that matter, for a story with over 400 alien species … I really don’t know what any of them even look like. Other than Hickory and Dickory– who I managed to confuse in my mind with Humpty Dumpty and thus now look like anthropomorphic eggs forevermore. Also:
“She’s being a teenager,” I said. “New friends. New planet. New boyfriend.”
“Yes. Enzo,” Hickory said. “We feel deeply ambivalent about him.”
“Join the club,” I said.
“We can remove him,” Hickory said.
“Really, no,” I said.
“Perhaps later,” Hickory said.
“Rather than killing off Zoë’s potential suitors, I’d prefer the two of you focus on helping Jane find whatever it is that’s out there pawing on our perimeter,” I said. “It’s probably less emotionally satisfying, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to be more useful.”
On the other hand, there’s lots of lovely scifi action and just enough bigger universe worldbuilding to keep me intrigued. I really want to know where the universe goes from here–despite this being the last book in the original trilogy.
Overall, probably my least favorite of the series thus far. But worth giving Zoe's Tale a look.
“Hickory, have you ever lied to me?” I asked.
“I do not believe you are aware of me or any Obin ever lying to you,” Hickory said.
“No,” I said. “I don’t believe I am.”