The author does a good job fleshing out each of the different characters and giving them a unique voice. Evie in particular is good example of how to do a flawed protagonist (she can be quite selfish, short sighted and even annoying at times) who is still heroic. Of all of the point of view characters so far I’ve enjoyed Memphis and Theta the most. Hopefully in the next books Mabel, Henry and Sam (not to mention the Chinese waitress) will get a little more attention.
Be warned that a lot of the mysteries surrounding the characters are not resolved, and are being saved for future books.
Overall the reader is good giving the characters distinct voices.One problem though is that she should really brush up on her pronunciation. There are quite a few words she just doesn’t say correctly (rifling in particular is used often enough in the book to be very annoying).
Scalzi's book takes many of the well worn ideas of sci-fi and gives them a new spin. The elderly of Earth are recruited into the Colonial Defense Force with the promise that the few who survive will get a chance at a new life.
Perry, our narrator, is a well written and sympathetic character as are the rest of the "Old Farts Club". Things like faster than light travel and contact with aliens are done in a smart and interesting way. It isn't literary fiction, more like a really well put together blockbuster. The book is by turns sad, exciting, thoughtful, romantic, and hilarious. Its such a cliche but it can make you laugh and make you cry.
The story could easily be a very long Twilight Zone episode, a couple survive being buried in an avalanche and return to the hotel to find everyone missing. After attempts to leave and contact the outside world they reach the obvious conclusion.
The author does a good job describing Zoe’s emotions, and all of the details of the setting. The slowly increasing tension and additions to the mystery are well handled.
My one complaint would be that he overuses a major soap opera cliché. The one where two people are talking and one tells the other “I have something really really important to tell you, that I must tell you now” and then they get interrupted. After the interruption passes, the other person (unlike any human being ever) doesn’t then ask what they were going to say. That happens at least three times. It can be frustrating, but not enough to ruin the story.
The reader is ok overall, but more than a few times doesn’t really distinguish between the two characters. In some of the conversations they have it can be difficult to tell which of them is speaking.
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