Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi Still trying to figure out why this book was written, and for whom it was written. In his acknowledgements, John Scalzi gave the reasons that people wanted to get to know Zoe, and that there were holes in the Last Colony that needed explaining. Personally, I don't know if those reasons were good enough to justify writing another Old Man's War book in the same setting, especially since Scalzi initially said he didn't plan on it.

Basically, there is very little new story here. We're essentially taken through everything that happened in the last book, but through Zoe's eyes. The problem is, she doesn't really do much for the first 50% of the book. Halfway through, everything I'd read so far was still stuff I already knew.

Yes, we do get more insight into Zoe's character but...I don't know what it is, but there's just something off with her personality and voice and I can't put my finger on it. Having once been a teenage girl and having known and hung around with a lot of other teenage girls, I think I can safely say that Zoe does not sound like your typical teenage girl. Yes, that's probably it.

Okay, so John Scalzi can't write typical teenage girls, which is still fine and all. Personally, I think it's actually kind of refreshing, and I'm sure there are some girls out there with a dry, sarcastic wit like Zoe's or Gretchen's. However, the problem is, you're not going to get many young adults to pick this up if they can't relate to the narrator and main protagonist. And I do get the feeling this book was aimed more at the YA audience, because as an adult reading this, some of the juvenile dialogue and the style of narration just make my head hurt.

I don't deny this was still a fun read, great for when you need something light. And yet, maybe I would have enjoyed this more if I'd waited a little longer to read this after reading The Last Colony. The events of the last book were still fresh on my mind, so everything in Zoe's Tale simply felt like a rehash, just retold in a more sarcastic, immature tone and manner. Granted, there were parts that were fresh, events told from Zoe's point of view that we were never aware of, but those were few and far between and practically all of them occurred towards the end of the novel.

At the same time, I don't think someone could read this without having first read the previous books of the series or at least The Last Colony. There will be too many questions. While all of the major events were mentioned, many are simply glossed over, told in very little detail because it assumes you've read book three. If you haven't you'll either be lost or be left wholly unsatisfied.

In the end, here's what I think -- read this if you love the Old Man's War series, and if you are actually interested in Zoe's character. There are some parts which I felt made reading this book well worth it, especially those where you get to see how she thinks and acts in emotional situations. However, for the most part, the book is pretty shallow, light and fluffy, even for Scalzi. And like I said, if you still want to read Zoe's Tale, it might be a good idea to wait a sufficient amount of time after reading The Last Colony to tackle this. Just my suggestion.