ARC received from the publisher, Tor Books, in exchange for an honest review.
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Series: The Interdependency (Book 3 of 3)
Genre: Science fiction, space opera
Published: 14th April 2020 by Tor US & 16th April 2020 by Tor UK
The Last Emperox is a satisfying conclusion to one of the more entertaining and accessible space operas I’ve read.
Science fiction could be quite daunting sometimes, especially when authors are making an attempt at originality in worldbuilding. New terminologies and complexity of concepts could make reading a bit of a struggle when all one wanted was simple enjoyment. So when books like The Interdependency trilogy came along that has interesting worldbuilding and great scifi concepts that are not difficult to understand, snarky humour and even political intrigue which did not bore me, I was so delighted that I ended up binging through all three books. And the entire trilogy ended up with solid 4-star ratings right across.
As usual, being a self-proclaimed nerd, the best part of the series for me was in relation to The Fold itself. A multi-dimensional cosmological occurrence that allows space travel to cut across distances of many light-years in a significantly shorter time. Essentially, it enables space travel between star systems where the human race have now inhabited which otherwise would have been impossible without faster-than-light technology. With that, The Interdependency was built around the structure of The Flow streams, with each star system being completely reliant on one another for resources. Resources which are monopolised by the noble house in each system, and right at the top of it all is the emperox as the ultimate ruler of The Interdependency. So just imagine when The Fold started to collapse and all these cosmic highways eventually disappearing. This formed the backdrop of the political drama that ensued as one of the pre-eminent houses used the opportunity it presented for a power grab.
I was slightly distracted by the political intrigue which continued to brew in this concluding volume. Perhaps it was the binge-fest that made me feel as if I’m being bombarded with the same old schemes again. It also didn’t help that the antagonist had her own POV chapters and being in her mind made me feel disgusted. I was especially reminded of how relevant such form of justifications and motivations exist in many of the people in power in our world right now.
Don’t get me wrong though as I really did enjoy reading The Last Emperox regardless of a minor stumble initially. The main characters remained consistent and have sufficient development to bring this story to its denouement; it turned out that reading about characters who were not confident nor certain about what they’re doing, but would try their very best because it’s worth fighting for could be quite endearing. The snark in kept the tone fairly light, while Marce’s work on The Flow continued to keep me engaged. As these are quick reads, there were no issues with pacing as far as I was concerned. A cool revelation towards the end of the book was also quite brilliantly utilised in the closing scenes. While I felt that there was adequate and satisfactory closure to the trilogy at this point, there is a potential for future books to be written.
In short, The Interdependency trilogy is great and accessible science fiction that is fun and highly enjoyable while maintaining the genre’s ability and propensity for social commentary. Recommended for all fans of science fiction, as well as those who are new to the genre.