The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Reviewed by Sam!
**We received a free finished copy of this from ALA. We’d like to thank John and Tor Books for the opportunity**
The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: At least a whole bottle of wine. We were all prepping for Booziebookathon tonight and whoops, drank a bunch of wine /shrug emoji/
Spoiler-free Overview: This is a space opera set in the future where humans have… sort of… colonized on other planets. They can do this becaue of this mysterious travelling function called The Flow (I read it like The Claw from Toy Story lol).
Turns out, The Flow is dying and is gonna die, leaving humans stranded on these planets and its not gonna be pretty. Anywho, we’ve got lots of POVs all circulating around this problem. One is the newly crowned Empero (emperoess?), who knows this is coming and is trying to anticipate it. A Flow Physicist’s son, who’s dad figured out The Flow is dying. And the heir to a merchant powerhouseand has the foulest mouth ever. Basically, lots of political machinations and mystery and I loved it.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I loved this so much. Will Wheaton is the audio narrator and he did a fab job. I found myself audibly laughing at some of the dialogue in this so much. I just love Scalzi and how he writes his books. The universe is literally collapsing and we’re all laughing.
Characters: I love them all equally, even the enemies. I especially love the merchant heiress (Sober Sam forgot to write the character’s names so here we are, drunk and can’t remember). She is brilliant and also has a foul mouth. Some of the shit she says is hysterical and perfect. I sort of want to be her when I grow up. And then we have our soft boi the Physicist’s son. He’s just tryna, ya know, save the universe, and he’s having a hard time. I just want to give him a hug. Also, the villains in this are just FAB. Nohamapeaton is the phonetic spelling, but since I listened on audio I couldn’t get it right to save my live. What a brilliant squad. Evil, but with purpose. Loved it.
Plot: There was not a moment in which I was bored. It’s really go-go-go and whenever that POV had a lull we switched to another one that was more exciting. I felt myself intentionally playing games on my phone so I could keep listening. So great.
Writing Style: Really really well done.
World Building: This world is fascinating. I love the comcept of The Flow… I love how they area ll interdependent (lol – it’s funny because the empire is called The Interdependency). it’s just brilliant, go read it.
What to pair it with: I feel like a cosmo is not out of the question. When all these powerful people get to backstabbing I want to have a drink in a cosmo glass I can glare at them as i sip it.
Rating: 5/5 shots
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Anyone else read this? What were your thoughts? Who was your fave character?
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,