I loved Old Man’s War, became increasingly disillusioned as the series went on, then jumped off the Scalzi train with Redshirts, which was a great idea of a book that I just hated. Still, my residual goodwill for that first book was enough to get me to try his new space opera, and while not an instant classic like Old Man’s War, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book.
The title is a fairly accurate plot summary, as this is the first book in a series about an intergalactic empire that is both figuratively and literally collapsing. And though the book jumps between a number of relatively stock pov characters, the unexpected heir, the spoiled merchant scion, the scientist, and the reluctant antagonist, the real joy of the book is the humor. This represents the successful fusion of Old Man’s War and Redshirts: a serious science fiction epic that is wittily written, and in places absolutely hilarious.
‘The idea was mildly surprising to Cardenia, since in all the time she knew her father, he never came across as anything other than blandly heterosexual. But there was a time and place for everything, and it was called “university,”’
From the opening vignette to the end, this book is just fun to read. I recommend it for anyone who wants a serious sci fi epic that flows like a summer beach read. 1