by John Scalzi
Series: The Interdependency #1
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 9 hours 6 minutes
Genres: Science Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups
The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe.
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible -- until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.
Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.
The Flow is eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals -- a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog to share her review of THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE by John Scalzi. This is a fantastic listen narrated by Wil Wheaton. Now grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and enjoy Sophia’s take on it….
Sophia Rose’s Review
Do you ever get hold of a story that you thought looked pretty good, but then it turns out to be this fantastic experience that you couldn’t have possibly predicted from the outset? That was how THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE one hit me. I was in the mood for sci-fi so I saw this first in a new series by an author I’ve been meaning to try again after my first satisfying outing with a short story of his. Then, how could I not be excited when I saw Wil Wheaton was to narrate? Yes, that Wil Wheaton!!!!
I confess there is a part of me that gets nervous picking up on audio books I know will have complex world building and large casts of characters simply because I struggle to keep it all straight when I’m first getting used to matters. And that was a little of the case with this one. However, that disoriented feeling didn’t last long and it actually added to the experience I had encountering this new sci-fi world of humans in space.
There are a handful of narrators and situations going on representing people in key places and offering up different facets of the story. It is easy to follow the change in scene and narrator. There are a couple times there are jumps in time when the narration changes, but it’s not hard to keep up.
All the narrators and plot threads are deeply intriguing in their own way. There is the feisty and irreverent representative of one of the trading guilds who is all about advancing her family’s wealth and her own advancement. She is brazen and open, but oh so cunning and not the person you want to screw with.
There is the newly made young Empress who never wanted the job and struggles with all the politics and working the system because she is just not Machiavellian enough and she sees this time as the waning days of the Empire her family has ruled for centuries.
There is the conniving sociopathic scion of an ambitious trading guild who is at the far end of the Empire working with his family to take advantage of the situation and work a sweeping coup if they bold enough to pull it off.
And there is the straight-shooting scientist who was content to study the Flow and only cares to use his knowledge to bring about the survival of his race though he truly wishes the task fell to someone braver and more capable like his twin sister.
I enjoyed this creative sci-fi world all built around the natural flow stream in space and also the new dire straights caused by this natural wonder shifting away so that all the various human outposts of the Empire will find themselves separated and forced to figure out how to survive when they were built to depend on each other for goods.
The author is gifted with the ability to marry cool sci-fi elements with an engaging human nature story. The reader is made to feel a part of their struggle to survive, but also understand the varying motives that might be similar or different from his or her own.
But I get ahead of myself, the struggle is not so much survival at this point as it is to get people to see the problem. Some work to suppress while others work to educate and still others work to use the changes to their advantage.
I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. This was just the intro and opening shot. I suspect it’s going to get pretty intense when all’s said and done.
Wil Wheaton as the narrator was spectacular. He had a huginormous cast of characters to keep straight and several plot threads. It was amazing. I saw each individual, the setting, the situation and all the elements that make up this complex story so easily with him at the narration helm. This will be a series that I can’t imagine with any other voice and will seek to get all in audio as a result.
All in all, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE was quite the experience and I wholeheartedly push it at sci-fi lovers as a ‘you must’.
[bctt tweet=”The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi a #mustread for sci-fi lovers ” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Great review! Scalzi is one of my favorites, and anything of his read by Wil Wheaton is an autobuy for me! I’m actually working on his Old Man’s War series now, so it may be a little while before I get to this one, but I may not be able to wait! 😀
Oh cool! The Old Man’s War is what I want to start next after seeing how this one went.
Yeah, Will Wheaton is worth it as a narrator. 🙂
I am looking forward to this one myself so it’s awesome to see you love it 😀 I did read some mxied reviews about the characters
It was a fun one, but I think I know why the mixed reviews on the characters. There is a larger cast of main characters and there are some shades of gray types that its hard to figure out whether to like them or not. It has the feeling of early moments in a longer story so I took a wait and see attitude.
Maybe two sci-fi for me but Wil Wheaton narrating it does have me interested. I like the cast of characters who have clearly defined personalities and ideas but I’m sure that will change once the villain/scion starts doing his thing.
It’s got a space opera feel to it so the focus is divided between the sci-fi elements and the character relationships- if that helps you a little deciding.
Yes, I did enjoy that each character was drawn well since there were so many of them and narration threads. I cannot wait to see what comes with the villain’s plotting.
The Bibliophile Babe
Not my normal thing, but it sounds interesting!
Yes, it was. But yes, probably not for everyone especially if sci-fi worlds don’t draw you in. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
I know exactly what you mean Sophia Rose and yes I have also had that happen to me. This looks right up my Sci-Fi loving heart. Thanks
see you in a week!!
It was such a great surprise, Debbie. I expected good b/c its Scalzi, but that added connection to the story made it great. 🙂 Hey, yep, I’ll be dropping by. Have the lemonade ready for me. 🙂
Melissa (Books and Things)
I have not nearly read enough Scalzi. I was offered this one for review but couldn’t fit it in with my timing. So need to add this one to my must in audio. Will is a good narrator and I’m so glad you really enjoyed it!
Oh, that is a bummer when that happens, Melissa. Happened to me a few times when a book I wanted just didn’t fit the schedule. Hope you get the chance at some point with this one and Wil as the narrator. 🙂
This is outside of my usual read but it does sound good. Plus, I can’t resist Wil Wheaton as the narrator. I listened to Ready Player One not too long ago and he was amazing!
Oh, neat. I’ll have to look up Ready Player One because I agree, Katherine, great narrator. 🙂
Hi, Sophia! Well, you have me sold! I like so many aspects of this book that you mention (characters and world-building, especially), but you totally have me adding it for the Wil Wheaton narration. So glad you enjoyed this so much! Great review 😀
You and I see eye to eye on what is good stuff, Michelle. 🙂 And Wil Wheaton’s narration just took this one that much higher on the fabulousness. 🙂
Oh my gosh, Will Wheaton narrates?? I adore him. Now I want to listen to this.
Sawoooon, Heidi. His adult voice is great and he did such a fab job getting all the characters and the complex sci-fi world as well as the emotional tone just right.
Cool book title, Sophia! Thanks for the post.
It really was and fit the whole story, Angela. You betcha!
Tyler H. Jolley
Great review, Sophia. Hope you’re well.
Gracias, Tyler! I’m doing dandy and wish you and yours the same. 🙂
Oh that sounds awesome and to have Will as the narrator, that’s just a big plus in my book.
Yes, it was fabulous to have a good story and get a narrator that was a bit of nostalgia all on his own, Mary. 🙂
I don’t really read a ton of sci-fi, but I’m glad to hear you really loved this one. Oh gosh, and I LOVE Wil Wheaton!
I never used to read it at all and then bang, one book and I was a convert. LOL
Oh man, yes, Wheaton was a great narrator and amazed me how he kept all the characters and the technical terms straight.
Wow, amazeballs, huh! Really too bad that I wasn’t approved for this book (I mean, the text version). Well, one day, right? Narrated by Will Wheaton as well! Sounds really good.
Oh now that is a brutal bummer, Evalina not to get picked for it. 🙁 I hope you get the chance at the audio. Maybe through a library Overdrive program.
I’m from Europe, so no Overdrive 🙂 don’t live in the States. One day I might just buy it 🙂
Ah, that does me a different route for sure. Hopefully its released already for you so you can get it when you have the time.
Geybie's Book Blog
Wow, sounds like an amazing SF. I’m curious. I haven’t read many SF books. I’ll check it out.
Awesome review, Sophia.
I didn’t get into sci-fi for years, Geybie and then someone offered a review book and I was hooked. 🙂 Hope you get the chance.
I love when books surprise you and knock your socks off. Glad this was one of those reads for you. 😉
Oh yeah, this one took me by surprise and now I want the next installment pronto. 🙂
This is not my type of story, but you do make it sound interesting..
I enjoy reading reviews for books that aren’t my thing either and its fun to see when someone had a really good time reading it. Thanks, Nadene!
I am not a sci fi reader but Sophia Rose, your enthusiasm makes me want to read this book!
Yes, it was a fantastic one for me. I’m lucky I got coherent words on the page to describe it, Cindy. LOL
Ohhh, you make it sound so good!
Tempting you, Blodeudd. Hear my evil book temptress laugh? LOL