The Last Emperox by John ScalziThe Last Emperox by John Scalzi
Series: The Interdependency #3
Published by Tor Books on April 14, 2020
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Pages: 308
Format: eARC
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The collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems—and billions of people—are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction . . . and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known.

Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people from impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough.

Will Grayland become the savior of her civilization . . . or the last emperox to wear the crown?

I have problems with series ending. Either I love the series and don’t want it to end or I get bored with the series and don’t make it to the end (which happens more often). Trilogies simplify the issue a little. There’s only three, so chances are if I enjoyed the first one I won’t have gotten bored yet by the time the third rolls around. On the other hand, there’s only three and I want more time in the world with the characters. The Interdependency falls into the second category. I love it and want more. Maybe a follow-up trilogy. Please.

First off, don’t read The Last Emperox as a stand alone. Read the first and second, in that order. Meet the characters, discover the world, learn the politics, get an idea of the science. (I’m not really sure how scientific the science is, but that’s beside the point. Don’t worry that this is too sciencey, it’s not.)

The Last Emperox picks up where The Consuming Fire left off. The Flow collapsing and the various systems in the Interdependency are going to be cut off from each other, which is a problem because only one has the capability of being self-sustaining. The others are all dependent on each other, hence the name. The Emperox Grayland II is determined to save as many people as she can. The noble houses are determined to get themselves to End, where life can continue, and make as much money as possible in the process, nevermind the millions of people who will die.

That makes it sound all doom and gloom, but there are plenty of moments to laugh along the way. The characters an interesting set, none at all capable of dealing with such a huge issue, but trying their best to reach their goal, whether that be power, money or, you know, saving the world. The plot takes a couple twists and turns and keeps you on your toes. There are also a couple of love stories that are sweet but don’t take attention away from the action.

It’s fun and a good diversion. And I love that the three characters driving the plot are women. There’s Nadashe, the villain, who has a goal and puts everything she has into getting it. There’s Kiva, who is blunt and intelligent and is willing to bulldoze her way through any situation. Then there’s Grayland herself, caring and determined. Each is formidable on her own but when the team up or face off against each other, it’s pretty awesome.

In a way, the ending was perfect and had me in tears. In another way, it was a bit of a cop out – look, surprise, we found a possible solution. The good guys (maybe) win, and the bad guys lose just about everything.

About John Scalzi

John Michael Scalzi II (born May 10, 1969) is an American science fiction author and former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Old Man’s War series, three novels of which have been nominated for the Hugo Award, and for his blog Whatever, where he has written on a number of topics since 1998. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2008 based predominantly on that blog, which he has also used for several charity drives. His novel Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. He has written non-fiction books and columns on diverse topics such as finance, video games, films, astronomy, writing and politics, and served as a creative consultant for the TV series Stargate Universe.

1 Comment

  • Felicity Grace terry

    ‘Endings’ is one of the very reasons I’m trying to avoid long series for.

    What sounds like a read I’d enjoy. I’m kind of guessing its a series best read from the beginning though and whilst I agree that a trilogy is a great compromise I’m not convinced that I’d like it so much that I’m willing to commit to even three books.

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