Read in December 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the plot twists, and the conundrum of The Last Colony. I couldn’t keep from reading it, even while attending an all-day technology conference. At least no one looked at me strangely between sessions, since we were all geeks and I was reading a Scalzi novel, for goodness sake.
All the main characters were well established from the first two series installments, with the exception of Zoë. Several years have passed since John, Jane and Zoë became a family and settled on Huckleberry. Character development for Zoë hinges on her teenager-ness. Aside from the usual suspects (political power grabbing colony members, pacifist Mennonites, a meglomaniacal journalist and manipulative military generals), the rest of the cast exist to drive the plot.
One subplot was completely cut off and unresolved about midway through the story. It irked me to no end that the author would string us along, kill off a favorite supporting cast member and leave us dangling just because a more interesting external alien forces were threatening the colony. I’m not even sure that the sacrificed character got a decent burial, even though he of all the colonists deserved one.
Rather than connecting with any one character, like I did in the previous two novels, I really connected to the colony as a whole and the fate of humanity as encapsulated by the colony.
On an interesting side note, I now understand why John Scalzi is listed as a creative consultant to the Stargate: Universe television series. The fate of the stranded, lost people trapped on the Destiny mirrors many of the challenges and situations faced by the members of the colony Roanoke.
Not sure I could recommend this as a stand-alone novel, but it might survive a reading if you hadn’t read Old Man’s War or The Ghost Brigades first. The story occurs in the same universe, but is a vastly different type of story compared to the first two installments.