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Zoe's Tale

Zoe's Tale

Written by John Scalzi

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert


Zoe's Tale

Written by John Scalzi

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

ratings:
4/5 (93 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 19, 2008
ISBN:
9781427206442
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

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Also available as bookBook

Description

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it's what I have to do. I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don't know my tale: How I did what I did - how I did what I had to do - not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I'm going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It's a story you know. But you don't know it all.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 19, 2008
ISBN:
9781427206442
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

John Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man's War, won him science fiction's John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, Lock In, and also Redshirts, which won 2013's Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.


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What people think about Zoe's Tale

4.2
93 ratings / 69 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    Though the events of this book have already played out in The Lost Colony, the reader is not bored by this due to the fact that the story is told from the perspective of the teenaged Zoe Boutin Perry, daughter of the traitor and adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan. A lot goes on that our adult protagonists were unaware of and, of course, it was a real treat to find out what happened when Zoe goes to visit General Gau. I just loved Zoe's voice and Scalzi does a particularly good job of writing from the POV of a teenager without overdoing it on slang and attitude. Zoe and her friend Gretchen come off as a bit precocious, but that's almost to be expected considering who their parents are. I loved, loved, loved the further revelations about the Obin and their connection to Zoe as well as their history with the Consu. Great book. Can't wait to read the rest.
  • (4/5)
    A teenage girl fights to protect her new home from invaders.So often, I hear others say that a book from further along in an established series is a good place to start. I usually think that's tripe, but it's true here. Even though ZOE'S TALE takes place pretty far along in the OLD MAN'S WAR timeline, I never felt like I was out of the loop. Scalzi gave me everything I needed to establish a connection with Zoë and her story. I really liked how he handled the backstory and the worldbuilding; while Zoë sometimes discusses her past in some detail, it always feels like a natural part of the story, and it fit with her character.Which, by the way, is wonderful. I loved her voice. I can’t speak for the way Zoë sounds in the other books, but in this one she always comes across as being utterly herself. I really liked her snark and her honesty, and the back and forth between her and her friends really, really works. I believed in her completely. I did, however, question how aware she was of her teenage status. All the “never send an adult to do a teenager’s job” stuff got kind of old after a while. It felt rather forced.As far as the plot goes... well, when I stopped to think about it, I did find that I wanted a little bit more, but I so rarely did so that it wasn’t much of an issue. Zoë’s world is easy to sink into. I wanted to spend more time with her and her friends, and I appreciated how Scalzi intertwined her life with the wider political stuff going on around her. I’m sure that I’ll appreciate it all the more when I read THE LAST COLONY and see all the political stuff Zoë – and, by extension, I – missed out on.I often steer clear of science fiction as I find that most of the stuff I run across is very plot-over-character, but John Scalzi's got me thinking I should dip my toe in the water a bit more often. Zoe is unquestionably the focus here; I really felt for her, and even teared up a few times. I got a big kick out of the book, and recommend that you give it a go.(A rather different version of this review first appeared on my blog, Stella Matutina, as an open letter to John Scalzi).
  • (5/5)
    The premise: it's not easy being seventeen. Not when you're the biological daughter of the man who betrayed the human race, the adopted daughter of the colony leaders on a pioneer world that's been abandoned and used for bait, and what amounts to being a holy icon to the Obin, a race of aliens. Zoë's Tale takes us through the events of The Last Colony, but all from HER point of view and how her actions effected that book. But it's more than a retelling: it's a story about love and friendship, about the dangers of a pioneer world, and what it means to hold the entire race of an alien people in the palm of your hands.My RatingMust Have: sue me, I've reached the point where I'm biased. I enjoy Scalzi's work way too much, and while his trademark humor and snark is evident in this book, he did a great job crafting Zoë's character and giving her a story within the story we already know. And I'm serious about wanting to get the YA audience to read this, because I think they'd really, really enjoy it (those who like SF, anyway). I think the book stands well enough on its own, but even I'll admit at its strongest after reading all the OMW books that come before. It's the icing on the cake, and the cherry on top is the realization that Scalzi could, if he wanted to, write YA too. Just watch out for the occasional bits of profanity. Although my new favorite word is now "smartassery." Thanks for that, Scalzi!The full review, which does include spoilers unless you've already read The Last Colony, is in my journal if anyone's interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)REVIEW: John Scalzi's ZOE'S TALEHappy Reading! :)
  • (4/5)
    I do love how John Scalzi writes. Simple, straight-forward, tells his tales and lets the readers fill in a lot of the detail in their heads. This entry is particularly special because he tells the tale of a teenager who is allowed to grow and learn and is shown as intelligent, yet young and struggling to find her way in the world.
  • (4/5)
    When I started this book I had a few misgivings: the previous one in the series, The Last Colony, had been a very enjoyable but not stellar read, at least compared to its predecessors, so I was afraid that a return to the same scenes, although from a different point of view, would prove less than interesting. Well, I was wrong.

    Zoe's Tale fills very well the untold sections of its "parent" book, and does it in a consistent and believable voice, that of a teenager girl who never sounds contrived or cliché. John Scalzi did a great job in fitting the pieces of this puzzle with the previous one's, giving us a fresh look on known events and even offering new angles and insights on them. In the afterword the author speaks about his own doubts and difficulties in facing this kind of project, and in light of the successful outcome of this endeavor I must say that he truly outdid himself. Not doubting him again, no way...

    Through Zoe's eyes, the characters of John Perry and Jane Sagan gain new facets: we see them as successful, well-balanced parents who go from raising a daughter to caring for an entire colony – which led me to think that raising Zoe might indeed have been a sort of dry run for the larger effort... What we learn about them, both as individuals and as a couple, comes from their daughter's clear-headed reflections, and gives them a more rounded – and more human – dimension that makes me like them even more.

    What I most admired in the writing is how Mr. Scalzi approaches the feelings and turmoils of a teenager (and her friends): he keeps a light touch, sprinkled here and there with his trademark humor, and can deal with young emotions in a way that's both believable and engaging – either in happy and sad circumstances. Yet, despite this light touch, there was a moment when he had me in tears: the scene in which the hundred volunteer Obin offer, one by one, their allegiance to Zoe was such a powerful moment, for all its understated simplicity, that I felt overwhelmed.

    Well done, well done indeed. And damn you, John Scalzi, for making me cry :-)
  • (4/5)
    I am glad i waited a long time to read this book. If I had read it right after The Last Colony I don't think I would have liked it as much. Fun read but still a little to familiar for me to just gush about.
  • (3/5)
    I really enjoyed this quick read. I might have rated it higher if it was a story on its own, but this fourth book in the Old Man's War series tells the same exact story as the previous book, but from the point of view of a different character. I loved the read from this new perspective, but there was little drama as to how the story was going to work out so that took a bit away from the enjoyment. Either way, I look forward to the next book in the series.
  • (4/5)
    Part of the Old Man's War series, this book is written from the viewpoint of Zoe, whose family is joining an expedition to colonize an uninhabited planet. She soon meets Gretchen, an equally intelligent and sarcastic girl, and a yummy guy named Enzo. Zoe has two bodyguards she calls Hickory and Dickory of a race known as the Obin, who previously had no consciousness until her birth father made a device that awakened them. Consequently she is regarded as a god to them and they will do anything she asks of them. A time comes when that makes her make a very difficult decision. I listened to the audio version and at times the narrator reminded me of the animated series, Daria, on MTV, another smart and snarky teen.
  • (4/5)
    An enjoyable read told from the perspective of a teenage girl. Great world building. Potentially I should have read some of the earlier Old Man's War books first.
  • (4/5)
    Zoe and her adoptive parents decide to move to a new colony world. They are accompanied not only by the family dog, but also by Zoe's alien bodyguards, Hickory and Dickory. Their race reveres Zoe, and their contact with her is protected by treaty because her natural father helped their race develop consciousness. But the colonial union has set their new world up as the scapegoat in a battle with the Conclave, a group of 400 alien races that has sworn to destroy any new colonies.
  • (3/5)
    I gotta say, I was pretty disappointed in this book. It's a rehash of the events of The Last Colony, and not a particularly well-done one, either - while the new scenes that we didn't get to see last time were great, there were only a couple of those, compared to a whole lot of repetition. Ideally this and The Last Colony would have been one longer book, switching between John and Zoe's points of view.
  • (4/5)
    Much like Orson Scott Card did when he revisited the events of Ender's Game from a different viewpoint with Ender's Shadow, John Scalzi uses the fourth volume of his Old Man's War series to retell the plot of The Last Colony. I like to think that Scalzi pulls it off better than even Card did, mainly because the whole same-story-from-different-perspectives thing works even better with first-person narratives, and Scalzi's narrators couldn't be much more different: a 90-year-old (mentally) ex-soldier, and—in this book—a 17-year-old girl.It's the teenage-girl viewpoint that gets this book labelled as "YA", I guess, so it amuses me that it's by far the longest book in the series. (To be fair, the language is toned down considerably from previous books, but that comes from being about a bunch of teenagers instead of adults and ex-soldiers.) Speaking as a middle-aged dude, I think Scalzi pulls of the "voice" of a teenage girl quite well. And indeed, it's being able to connect with the main character through her narrative that makes this book work—even more than in previous volumes. Presumably you know the plot of the story already, having previously read The Last Colony, so that plot takes much more of a background role in this book, while the story here focuses more on the characters and their relationships with each other. And it works, it really does. Even when I knew what was going to happen, Scalzi keeps things fresh by not rehashing territory covered in the previous book; choosing instead to show what transpired in-between key events, or what Zoe was up to "off-camera".Now, if you haven't read TLC yet—or previous books, for that matter—I think Zoe's Tale will work for you. Scalzi puts in enough detail, I believe, for the reader to make sense of what's going on. But I'll go out on a limb and guarantee that you will get much more out of this book having already read that one. Likewise, I find myself appreciating TLC much more now that I've essentially read it again, but from another perspective and with some of the gaps filled in. The two books together make for a more fulfilling reading experience than either one of them by itself.It's not a perfect book by any means, but it's nice to get to know a number of characters better that were more or less peripheral in TLC, and to have some plot-related things explained a little better. And apparently Scalzi is incapable of writing something that's not an absolute page-turner. [4 out of 5 stars]
  • (2/5)
    It's probably because I read all the other books in this series, but I found that this volume brought little that was new to this saga. It felt more like a re-hashing of the previous volume.I found the voice of Zoe annoying, and I thought that she obtained her success all too easily.The first volume in this series was absolutely brilliant, but I think the author didn't bring enough new material to it to sustain it for four volumes.
  • (4/5)
    I have a real soft spot for young-adult science fiction. The myriad vampires and wizards are quite fun, but I'm always happy to find someone writing solid, entertaining sci-fi aimed at the under 20 set.

    The comparison of Scalzi to Heinlein may have been overdone, but it still holds up. This story, told in Zoe's own voice, is much more about how she adapts and lives up the challenges on the struggling settlement of Roanoke (lost and stranded after their colony ship goes astray, of course) rather than details of technology, alien biology or the vistas of new planets. It's all in the title, this is a story of Zoe's personal journey. Although she herself is a treaty condition between two species, as well as being a kind of avatar to a race without personalities, all the alien politics and interstellar wars are grounded in her first steps into adulthood.
  • (4/5)
    Scalzi says this is his attempt at YA, but I have a hard time believing it. Because he gets the voice of an overwhelmed teenager right, but other things wrong. The main character has zero relationship with her parents. All the YA I ever read, parents take a strong front and center role. Even if they're dead. And especially if the main character's a girl. It doesn't matter that she's adopted, her dad's an 80-year-old man in a 25-year-old body, and her mom's a space green beret. All teens have a strong latch onto their parents. It may not be pleasant, it may be filled with conflict or love. But they do, because they know they're inches away from leaving the nest.And there is no sex. I don't know what the future is like, but hormones haven't changed that much in the past two thousand years. Here's a fact about all teens: they think about sex. It's always on their minds. It's not always in the context of wanting it, but they think about it. And most of them have sex when they're teenagers (not me, of course). So unless the Colonial Union has some kind of suppression field like in Half-Life 2, something's wrong here. Also, there's no whining, no snapping, no drugs, no alcohol, no engaging in destructive behavior. Zoe's the perfect girl.Also I'm realizing that Scalzi does a lot of dialogue is his novels. His characters do a lot of talking--civilized debates, interviews and arguments. That's his style, and that's okay. But at a certain point it's like, okay, this has gone on long enough, it's time for something to happen. Enough speechifying.And I could not believe his author comments at the end when he thought he could just handwave the werewolves and deus ex the "bullet sapper" machine in "The Last Colony". How could you leave obvious plot elements like that and not realize they are unresolved? Don't you read your own work? I'm looking forward to his next work, but I feel like I'm starting to get burnt out on his style.
  • (4/5)
    I confess, I skimmed a lot in the beginning because it so closely rehashed events in The Last Colony; but the further in I got the more closely I had to read and for possibly the last quarter of the book I was crying. It seemed more heart wrenching to read about what happened to Enzo & co. from this perspective, as well as the goodbyes and interaction with Zoe and the Obin. On to The Human Division!
  • (4/5)
    Good story though the ending was a bit incredible.
  • (4/5)

    I liked this entry to the series. Old Man's War is not very hardcore Sci-Fi (compared to Banks et al) but still enjoyable. Making the POV character a teenager fits the depth of the series better.

    This book was a quick read, but en entertaining and at times downright funny one.
  • (3/5)
    Teen who is our heroine trying to save the day and her planet. Improbable but fun tail of galactic politics.
  • (4/5)
    An enjoyable read told from the perspective of a teenage girl. Great world building. Potentially I should have read some of the earlier Old Man's War books first.
  • (2/5)
    I was disappointed that this book was largely a re-telling of The Last Colony from someone else's point of view. The author in an afterword explains what he was trying to do, and maybe as a writing exercise it was worth it to him, but not to me. TLC was a book filled with action and tension, ruined here by knowing how it was going to come out. It does fill some important gaps in the story but not enough to make it fresh. Sorry, I can't recommend this even as a YA book; teens can read the earlier one just fine, the teenaged characters are fully drawn.
  • (5/5)
    This book was great! For unusual reasons, Zoe, a human, is accompanied/guarded by two members of an alien race who want to see what her life is like. Then she and her adopted (human) parents go off to start a colony on another planet. I loved this book. It was like Ender's Game, but better. It was about compassion and doing hard things and had this great female protagonist and a world that was fully created in just one book. I've heard this is the companion to another book which tells the story from another perspective, and I am looking forward to reading it. But I may miss Zoe. There was something gentle and sweet and real in this book. A more-than-pleasant surprise.
  • (4/5)
    Zoe and her adoptive parents decide to move to a new colony world. They are accompanied not only by the family dog, but also by Zoe's alien bodyguards, Hickory and Dickory. Their race reveres Zoe, and their contact with her is protected by treaty because her natural father helped their race develop consciousness. But the colonial union has set their new world up as the scapegoat in a battle with the Conclave, a group of 400 alien races that has sworn to destroy any new colonies.
  • (5/5)
    The story flows easily, characters have depth. His style is like that of heinlein, Most definitely the highest of praise
  • (3/5)
    This is the same story as "The Last Colony", but told from Zoe's point of view. I found it a bit repetitive in places, but the story was still compelling enough to keep me going, and she's an appealing narrator. Scalzi has a talent for creating main characters who are smart, creative, and geniunely good people without sliding into Mary Sue-ness.
  • (4/5)
    This is the 4th book in the series which is a companion piece to the previous one The Last Colony. It's the same story but told from a different character's POV. That character is obviously Zoe, teen-aged adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan. Not planning on writing another book in the series the author was inundated with requests to fill in the blanks of TLC and to provide more info on Zoe so decided to kill two birds with one stone and so here we are. With the narrator being a teenage girl this has much more of a YA feel than previous entries. It's a fast paced story but it's not without some real pathos in places. It had been a while since I'd read TLC and think this might have been a good thing as I'd forgotten a lot of what was coming next in this tale and so could get caught up in it again. If' I'd read this book in isolation I probably would increase the rating by a ½★ but overall it's still a re-hash of a story I've already read even if it's still a good one.
  • (5/5)
    This is essentially the same story as told in ‘The Last Colony’ but from a different point of view. So why would I give it five stars? Simply because it is done so well. It caught my interest, made me smile, jerked my emotions, and reintroduced me to people and places that I became well acquainted with in Scalzi’s other ‘An Old Man’s War’ books.
    Technically, this should probably be considered a Young Adult novel because of the teenage protagonist. There is nothing wrong with this. Other authors (myself included) have written YA spinoffs set in the same world and with overlapping characters from their adult novels. This, however, is not a spinoff. This is the same story related in ‘The Last Colony’ but from the perspective of John’s and Jane’s adopted daughter, Zoe. She was a great minor character in previous books and an exceptional protagonist in this one, which is told in first person, giving us insights into how she deals with being an orphan, the adopted daughter of the colony leaders of the planet Roanoke, and something like a goddess to the alien species known as the Obin.
    The aspect of the book that feels a bit unnatural is some of the dialogue between Zoe and her friends. They are almost too witty, and Zoe and her friend Gretchen have more self-confidence than seems likely for two teenage girls. Of course, they are not normal teenagers. After all, who wants to read about hormonally powered, angst driven, girls whose major concern is how to attract a boyfriend? ... Oh, right. Those. Do yourself a favor and read this instead. Zoe has angst, she has hormones, she even has a boyfriend, but she also has intelligence, common sense, and wisdom beyond her years.
    Scalzi has become one of my favorite authors, and I would love to see more stories set in this universe he has created. How does Roanoke fare? How does the Colonial Union deal with the Conclave? Do they join them? Do they oppose them? Is the C.U. overthrown? And what about Earth? It’s an interesting world and there are many more story possibilities here. If he does continue with this thread, though, it will leave him with less time for his other writing, which would be a shame. Perhaps he could be cloned...
  • (4/5)
    Proper YA sci-fi! We don’t get enough of that, so I was quite pleased. All in all, I loved Zoe’s voice and thought Scalzi did a great job of capturing her (despite never having been a teenage girl). I haven’t read any of the rest of the series, but I’ll definitely keep them in mind now. [May 2011]
  • (4/5)
    Mmm, brain candy. And I don't mean that in any kind of bad way. This isn't hard SF, it's easy to read, easy to follow, nothing too complicated. It's more about people. I think I liked this more than I liked The Last Colony, though I gave that a similar rating -- it was good to get into Zoe's head, good to see things from a different perspective, and this way you could get to know the Obin a little better, and see what happened behind the scenes, so to speak.

    I love Enzo's character, and totally forgot what happened to him until the moment Scalzi ripped out my heart. Ouch.

    There was some awesome banter -- I remember that being a strength in other books, too. Definitely glad I finally got round to reading this, even if it's sad in places.
  • (1/5)
    A disappointing read. I guess I deserve it for not reading the synopsis.

    I was expecting something truly new. I mean, it's okay for the plot to pick up slightly earlier than where the last book ended off, but this is ridiculous: It's just a rehash of book #3 with an annoying faux-teen voice that really doesn't work. :

    Given the quality of the first three books, I expected much more from this one. Feel free to skip this one -- I wish Scalzi would not have given it to the temptation of adding yet another volume to the series, or better yet, had taken the time to create something truly new.