Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Review: The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire
Author: John Scalzi
Series: ?
Publication: Tor Books; 1st Edition edition (March 21, 2017)

Description: 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. Faster than light travel is impossible―until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.

Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war―and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.

The Flow is eternal―but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals―a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency―must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

My Thoughts: This books starts an epic space opera. Humans have spread out across the universe using a system called The Flow to get around the speed of light. The whole system is run by the Interdependency which is a government featuring an emperox, a parliament, trade guilds, and a church.

Cardenia is one of the viewpoint characters. She is going to be the next Emperox despite the fact that she is the product of a liaison between the current Emperox and her mother. She was raised mostly outside the center of imperial politics. When her older half brother dies, she becomes the heir - like it or not. Now her father is dying and she is getting ready for a job she hasn't been trained for.

Lady Kiva is another viewpoint character. She is a member of one of the merchant families and is very interested in profit for her family. She is also foul-mouthed and tricky. She meets an old rival on End who manages to totally disrupt her plans.

Also on End is Lord Marce whose father has been doing some research on The Flow at the request of the Emperox for more than thirty years. Both Marce and his father are physicists who study The Flow. When they come to an understanding of what is happening to The Flow, Marce has to get to the Emperox to share his findings.

But End is experiencing one of its periodic revolutions - this time orchestrated in part by Lord Ghreni Nohamapetan whose family has plans for End - and they don't want Marce's information going anywhere.

This was an engaging story. I liked the characters and the political intrigue. The dialog was crisp. The worldbuilding was well done. The story was fast-paced. Being the first book in a series, the big problem - the collapse of The Flow - wasn't resolved. There was resolution to the plot which encompassed the Hohamapetan family's attempt to exploit the situation.

I look forward to reading more in this world.

Favorite Quote:
"They want to preserve an existing potential alliance."

"An alliance with terrible people."

"Really nice people don't usually accrue power."

 "You're saying I'm kind of an outlier," Cardenia said.

"I don't recall saying you were nice," Naffa replied.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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