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’.