I Laughed, I Cried...Zoe's Tale

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I finished Zoe's Tale last night. I'm not going to turn into an effusive bootlicker, because, you know - yuck - but I liked this book.

Which is no surprise. The Smart Man and I routinely contribute to the Athena Scalzi college fund, and after I read Old Man's War, I was delighted to learn that Scalzi was younger than me. That way he could continue to write for my entertainment without dying on me, you see. Because, really - it is all about me.

In any event, it's very similar in tone and feel to the other three full-length novels set in the Old Man's War universe. And while I think that makes for a fabulous read, I do think he fell a bit short in terms of writing as a teen girl. Zoe's voice reminded me - forcefully - of Scalzi's own voice on the Whatever. So unless Scalzi has a secret teen ghost writer maintaining his blog, I found that a bit distracting. Would I be picking this nit if I didn't read the Whatever? Probably not. Will it prevent me from buying his future work? Certainly not. Athena needs to go to the college of her choice, after all.

And yes, it did make me laugh. On several occasions. And yes, it did make me cry - twice, in fact. Because in spite of the similarity between Zoe's voice and Scalzi's, he nailed certain aspects of being a teenager, in all its ignominy and angst.

Zoe herself is a most exceptional young woman. Almost too exceptional, but Scalzi stops short of Mary Sue territory. He manages to make her that most rare of creatures - a teen who not only has her act together, but manages to be likable, as well.

4 out of 5 stars.

4 comments:

Steve Buchheit said...

That's because, secretly, Athena is the one writing Whatever, John just plays with the dog and chases the cats. Athena, after all, has won more writing awards than John, but it would have been very awkward for her to go to the stage to accept the Campbell last year and the Nebula this year. So that the book that supposed to be written from a teen-aged girls viewpoint reads much like Whatever doesn't surprise me.

Matt Warnock said...

I can't wait to read it.

Anne C. said...

Great review, Janiece. Certainly no bootlicking there!
I'm also looking forward to ZT, but am deep into Bujold territory now (have reread Shards of Honor and Barrayar) and must continue in this vein until it (or I) taps out.

Janiece Murphy said...

"Ivan, you idiot!"