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Summary

"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."

©2008 John Scalzi (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Teenage Star Trek Story

I love John Scalzi books I've listened to so far and was delighted to find some new additions to add to my collection. I did purchase based on reviews so was disappointed to find I really did not enjoy this book as much as his others.

First it is all centred around a teenager - Zoe. Whilst I have no issue with this subject matter I often find female teenager characters somewhat tiresome and can say this was in part over come.

Mainly the book was simply not in the usual humorous engaging style I've become used to. I found the book somewhat drawn out, didn't (unfortunately) care about the main protagonist, although did stick it out to the end. Maybe because this solely focused on the 'kid' characters and not enough 'alien' character development,or humour.

I guess my message is buy with caution and if you're expecting Androids Dream, Fuzzy Nation or Red Shirts this one just didn't stack up for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Should have been spliced

I'd have preferred if the Scalzi had spliced together The Lost Colony with this book, it covers the exact same time period but from a different perspective. It made the book less interesting than the previous one as you are just waiting for events to unfold. This book is optional in the series but it might be possible to swap it with the previous one. If you are a fan of the series you should get this book, or perhaps you're compelled to read it for completeness sake, in that case you should stop reading reviews and get it already.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much of a YA novel

I'm not a huge fan of retelling stories from other characters' perspectives, and it felt more like a YA novel - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but felt inconsistent with the rest of the series.

A skippable book in an otherwise great series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I said she said

The story is ok. Entertaining enough. However. I was completely put off and almost abandoned the book as every passage of speech has "ok" I said, "great"she said. "Fine" I said. "Huh "she said. Said said said said said. In No other audiobook has this bothered me. Probably because other authors give a bit more credit to the reader/listener

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Different

This is the last colony for a 12year old. Unfortunately I'm not 12 anymore.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant book!

As I've come to expect from this series, thoroughly enjoyable and brilliantly narrated. Should have been six stars.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The YA version of Lost Colony

If this was a freebie or on sale I probably wouldn't feel so annoyed but having used a credit on it I am. This is the same story as the Lost Colony - the last book in this series - told from Zoe's perspective.

Although the perspective adds narrative you didn't get to see in the Lost Colony for me it is just not enough to make a whole new books from. There is no suspense because you already know how the book will end.

Also Zoe suffers from the disadvantage of being a 'teenage girl written by an older male author' - I love the author's characterisation usually but boy is Zoe a walking, talking stereotype. Worse she kind of knows she is and keeps saying things like "you'd think being revered by a whole species would make me ... ". This leads to a whole load of listener back-chat where I found myself slapping my forehead and saying "yes Zoe I would think that, I would think your unusual life would make you less of a 2D characture but sadly no".

I have to say I couldn't get to the end. It just all got a bit too jaw grinding for me. Now the big question is whether to persevere with the rest of the Old Man's War series or find something new.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Is it aimed at teens? adds barely anything

if you are a teen - listen to this, no need for the others. if you read the others this is a parallel thay basically repeats the last in the trilogy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing 😄😄

I loved every minute of this book and recommend it to 10 and upwards. The reader is amazing and really gets you into the story!! Totally recommend this.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike.the.kraken
  • 05-03-14

Bait and switch. Skip it unless you're a teenager.

This is a tough review to write. I greatly enjoyed the first three books in the "Old Man's War" series, and picked this up without hesitation - as it was listed next in line. However, this is not a book targeted at adults even though it's mistakingly placed in Contemporary SciFi. This is pure bait and switch to sell a few more copies to unsuspecting customers.

1. "Zoe's Tale" is Young Adult Science Fiction.
2. "Zoe's Tale" is an almost verbatim retelling of "The Last Colony", except it's the "Twilight" version.

I'm quite miffed at Audible & the publisher for not prominently calling this out, and classifying the book correctly.

It's strange that Scalzi chose to re-write "The Last Colony" entirely from a teenagers point of view. I had expected Zoe to START OUT as a teenager, then slowly grow into a woman as the story moved forward. However, what I got was Scalzi channeling giggling girls, fart jokes, and teenage crushes. Really? Had I not been on some very long airline flights, this book would have been returned for refund posthaste.

It's clear that there was a kernel of a story hidden in "The Last Colony", where Zoe impressed General Gau, and somehow wrangled an impressive piece of technology from The Consu. However, Scalzi does very little with those events, and thus you'll spend the entire book building up to a rather flat third act.

The one shining star in this whole mess was the narrator: Tavia Gilbert. She grew on me quickly, and her voice acting was very well done.

So - would I recommend this book to a teenager? No.
Why? Because, they'd be dropped into a series 2/3'ds of the way through, with no other books voiced for them before or after.

Scalzi is a good writer, but your credits would be better spent on his other work.

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David M. Wheeler
  • 06-04-09

A fun listen, and some new information, but...

Zoe's Tale was fun to listen to. The reader was skilled at adding emotion to the story and was a good actress.
The story itself filled in some gaps and added some dimensions to the story told in "The Last Colony". Whether that information was enough to justify another book must be left for the individual reader/listener. For myself, there was too little new.
The most glaring problem that I had with the audio release was that the reader of this story had obviously not listened to the previous volumes. The differences in pronunciations from previous volumes to this one always took me out of the story. A common pronunciation guide should be a "must".
Still, this book fleshed out characters that otherwise would have, for space reasons, recieved too little attention otherwise. Worth listening to, especially if you have an extra "credit".

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • W. Seligman
  • 11-09-13

Too much a repeat of "The Last Colony"

I'll start with the good: I admire John Scalzi as a writer, and all his skill with words is evident here. His "Old Man's War" series is a general homage to the works of Robert Heinlein; in this novel he captures the intelligence and attitude of a typical Heinlein precocious teenager from his young-adult novels.

I'll also compliment Tavia Gilbert as a reader. She gets the tone of a teen-age girl exactly right, along with the "I'm always in control" attitude of Zoe.

With all that, I can only give this two stars. The problem is that I listened to Scalzi's "The Last Colony" only a few months ago. Every plot point or bit of information I listened to in "Zoe's Tale" was something I already knew. There were no surprises. I found I simply was not interested.

I listened to first half hour of part 1, trying to give it a chance. Then I skipped to part 2. I listened to no more than five minutes before I realized I knew exactly in what part of the story from "The Last Colony" I was in, and listened to at least two plot points repeated from that previous book. I couldn't take it anymore.

If you haven't listened to "The Last Colony," I can recommend this audiobook. If you've listened "The Last Colony" and you like to listen to audiobooks more than once, wait whatever interval you normally wait between successive listens to the same book before listening to "Zoe's Tale."

Otherwise, I suggest you get "The Human Division" or "Redshirts", two other novels by John Scalzi available on Audible.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 03-12-11

Read the previous books first.

Do not read this book unless you've read the previous books in this series. The Last Colony is particular is required listening before listening to this book. I can't imagine anyone will like this book very much if they haven't listened to The Last Colony first, as this book covers the event of that book from a different perspective.

Let me start by saying, it's very rare for me to enjoy listening to a female narrator. I don't think there are very many talented female narrators, and much prefer to listen to men in most cases. That said, Tavia Gilbert gave a pretty amazing performance. The sarcasm came across really well, and in many scenes you could just feel the emotion in her words. She's definitely one of my favorite narrators now, and I will be looking specifically at books narrated by her in the future. Those of you that listen to books fairly often know how important it is to have a good narrator.

I think that the perspective shift of this book adds a lot to the story that was already there. Zoe is a strong character that's hard not to like. It goes into far more detail concerning Zoe's relationship with the Obin, especially Hickery and Dickery. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about Zoe's relationship with her boyfriend Enzo. I'm not usually big into love stories, but it was very well done in this book. Frankly, I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book altogether.

You shouldn't go into this book expecting Old Man's War. There aren't a lot of great battle scenes with lots of action. This is the events of The Last Colony from the perspective of a strong teenage girl thrust into adulthood before she should be. My only regret in finishing this book is that there are no longer any more books set in this universe to read. I loved them all, and Zoe's tale in particular has a special place in my heart. I urge everyone to give it a try.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 14-10-08

Love Scalzi as an author

Let preface everything by I love the first two books by John Scalzi. This book is however a huge departure from his previous work Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades story lines. It is told from the first person narrative of Zoe, a 15 year old girl. I have a 14 year old bright girl, but this book accurately portrays some of peculiarities that viewpoint for better or worse.

Being a first person story, its perspective was limited and some of the more interesting events are simply glossed over. This book would be ideal for Young Adult with its love story, but for a thirty-something adult I was outside the intended age group.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JP Vic
  • 22-12-08

ok - but not like Scalzi's other books

I liked this but it is not a military adventure like ghost or old man wars.

OK if you are a father of a teenage girl you will like this, or are a teenage girl. Other than that it's just too much like a teenage girl story

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 18-10-08

Oh, dear. This really is a juvenile...

I so enjoyed "Old Man's War", "The Sagan Diary" and "Lost Colony", which were written in this universe. I had kind of hoped that, even though this was written from the perspective of an adolescent female, it wouldn't be a juvenile book. But it is. And since any juvenile who wanted to really enjoy this would need to understand the universe created in the adult books that he or she likely never read, there is a tiresome amount of explanatory narrative. Kids will be bored and adults will be annoyed.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Derrick
  • 08-05-18

Skip This Book

this was a total lazy RIP off. I'm pissed at the author. this is a 100% re-hash of the previous book in the series but from a different characters perspective. nothing new, just a slightly different take on the last story. I WANT MY MONEY BACK. 27 bucks for NOTHING! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • OneFreeborn
  • 24-03-18

Wonderful... if you're an eleven-year old girl.

What disappointed you about Zoe's Tale?

I had to give up after just less than two hours. I just couldn't be tortured anymore. What's the point of hearing a just-told story delivered again -- except in baby-talk?

What could John Scalzi have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Let me know it was a repeat of content I already know from earlier books in the same series, except with a narative full of childish attitude and snide commentary.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tavia Gilbert?

The narrator is probably fine... if you enjoy listening to every sentence end in a tonal upswing and you're ten to fifteen years old.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration at thinking it would be a different story; that it would have any new content. Author should have started a new series for teens rather than mix the two audiences in the same series using identical content. Who in their right mind would enjoy both? Either you're a teen, and enjoy this book, or you're an adult and enjoy the previous three books. But why would anyone wish to listen to the same tale twice?!

Any additional comments?

This is the first book for which I wish I could have a refund out of between three and four hundred books that I've purchased on Audible. NOTHING in the first two hours is new, or interesting. I made it almost two hours before giving up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 26-01-12

Enjoyable, fast paced, well narrated

It makes sense to listen to this after Old Man's War and The Last Colony. Both books will give you a bit of background but also add appreciation for John Scalzi's talent to change perspective, tone and maybe even a little bit of the genre. I found Zoe's Tale very much fun to listen to, and actually for different reasons than the above mentioned books.

As it is the events of The Last Colony retold there is not so much happening which you do not know already. And still I found the book fast paced, gripping from beginning to end, and yes very much a teen girl story with all what you expect to find in it: a smart female hero, a little bit of romance, a bit of food for deeper thoughts, a little bit of drama and lots of humor and easygoing story telling. And all of this packed into an universe which I came to like and enjoy in the previous books.

When I look at the other reviews, I see that it cannot be everybody's cup of tea but then it never pretended to be anything else but this: a fun story told in the words of a teenage girl.As such it is exceptionelly well and wittily written, and really perfectly narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful