Title: The Last Emperox
Author: John Scalzi
Series: The Interdependency #3
Release Date: 16/4/20
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 5
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Tor Books (both UK and US offices), via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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?
It is no surprise that I enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of Scalzi’s writing. His sense of humour really appeals to me and the ease at which it lures you into the story is just fantastic. This is particularly true of The Last Emperox where the humour and chatty conversational tone of Scalzi’s work managed to set the scene of the previous two books without it feeling like a "Previously On" rehash of old scenes.
The Last Emperox is the final book in the Interdependency trilogy and it really is the ending this series deserves. This book keeps you on your toes! Compared to Consuming Fire I felt this one really paired down the number of perspectives, focusing on the ploting, scheming and other machinations of our three strong female protagonists; the trepidatious Emperox Garyland, the doesn’t give a flying-f**k unless you piss her off Lady Kiva and the doesn’t mind leaving everyone dead in her wake Nadashe. I love the individual voices these women have, how they hold their power and how they play their political games is unique to them. They lovingly play with and bend typical troupes of the foul-mouthed woman, the power hungry bitch and the timid and quiet mousy one. They are fun to read about, to route for and to route against. They are great in both the action packed romps and the quiet reflective moments, solid characters you can really just have fun reading about.
The plot is essentially that the political interplay between these characters in their goals for the Interdependecy and the fate laid out in the previous books. All of this keeps the reader on their toes. There are so many twists and turns. The lighter humour filled moments are studied with great moments considering the multitude of human response to crisis, the struggle and sacrifice required and what being human means (a common theme in most of his books). Scalzi’s own political views clearly make their way in to some of the narration but as I align with his thinking this didn’t bother me and I found those criticisms and parallels enjoyable to read. And DAMN do we get one hell of a twist at the end! It was such a satisfying ending to both the book and the series. I just couldn’t see where it was going and it delighted me, the resolution was perfect. It drew a nice (slightly open ended) line in the sand for the characters while leaving the Universe open to possibility. I just really enjoyed it.
I don’t read Scalzi for hard hitting science accurate Sci-fi, I read it for the joy of reading a jam-packed romp of a Space Opera that has me laughing out loud, gasping in shock and eventually leaving me with that satisfied smile of having enjoyed myself when I close the back cover. The Last Emperox and the Interdependecy series as a whole does this, which makes them great reads. This is a series I will re-read time and time again.