Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?
I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.
Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.
It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.
My dad gave me this book for Christmas, I think because he knows that I think Ender’s Shadow is one of sci-fi literature’s great achievements. But I think that my dad forgot two key things about Ender’s Shadow. 1) Though you CAN enjoy Ender’s Shadow on its own, its true genius is best appreciated after you have already read Ender’s Game. 2) Orson Scott Card is one of a kind.
Zoe’s Tale is similar in that it is based on a series, but told from a different character’s point of view. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Zoe’s Tale reads more like a young adult book than science fiction. The writing is so-so at best, and it’s utterly predictable. The character of Zoe is pretty stock, and all of the sarcasm (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) got pretty redundant by the end of the book. I mean, seriously, did EVERY SINGLE character have to be sarcastic, sassy, and full of attitude? Maybe Scalzi’s original series, Old Man’s War, is better, but based on this book I can definitely say I’m not going to read it.