The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi – Review

Cover- The Collapsing Empire

Published: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Interdependency #1

Pages: 333 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new
universe.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal — but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency — are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.


I’m so glad I decided to check out The Collapsing Empire! Many of my fellow bloggers enjoyed it and I thought Old Man’s War was great, so I decided to move this to the top of my audiobook list. Scalzi has provided readers with a tremendously entertaining story yet again with such amusing characters foiled by a despairing plot.

As the title proclaims, the empire is on the brink of collapse because the Flow- an unexplainable space/time phenomenon that allows for speedier space travel- is beginning to show signs of degradation. This is not a unique occurrence, but it is exceedingly rare and has resulted in the total loss of two systems in the last millennia which, for the Interdependency, was a traumatic blow. The failure will surely spell the end of the empire, unless the new Emperox, a physicist, and a foul-mouthed house representative can find a solution in time. This of course has all the hallmarks of an interesting story, but Scalzi’s characters always make an otherwise serious plot into something with a humorous edge.

I found myself rooting for the ‘good’ characters and even sympathizing with those that I suppose you could deem ‘greedy villains’. I felt that Cardenia Wu-Patrick was by far the most developed of the characters and her ascension to the throne was done elegantly and believably. She wrought the most emotion from me and I got vibes of Behind the Throne and The Goblin Emperor from her side of things. Kiva Lagos was entertaining, though I didn’t find her character development to be anything but superficial. Marce evoked much the same opinion from me but I think he has the potential to become much more interesting and gain depth as the story goes along.

John Scalzi’s latest space opera is action packed and grabbed my curiosity by the horns and didn’t let go until the final page. I had a fantastically good time listening to this and caught myself smirking on multiple occasions at the dialogue and the dastardly machinations of the houses Lagos and Nohamapeton. Everyone seems to be a pawn to everyone else and it was a crap-ton of fun to see how plot threads tie to together and how the pieces fall. I hope the next installment will prove to be as exciting as The Collapsing Empire!

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