Saturday, January 9, 2010

Zoe's Tale

Zoe's Tale is a retelling of the previous book in the series (The Last Colony), but from the point of view of Zoe, John Perry's adoptive daughter. Zoe is fourteen years old when her parents decide to head a new colony planet called Roanoke. Along with the regular dangers of colonizing a new planet, Zoe and her fellow colonists have to deal with the fact that they are pretty much bait for the Conclave, a group of 400 alien species unified to prevent others from expanding. As Zoe grows, she becomes an integral part of the fate of her colony. Can a sixteen year old girl make a difference in this battle?

Zoe Boutin-Perry is awesome. She's snarky and sarcastic, while still intelligent and compassionate. It's interesting to see her grow up with the same problems as teenagers today, just with extra danger and political intrigue. One of my favorite moments in the book is when two of her friends wandered off into the woods and got captured by a primitive race of animal-like people that are native to Roanoke. She had enough people on her side to slaughter them, but instead she sang to them and communicated with them. She didn't treat them like dumb animals, but was diplomatic and solved the problem through communication and understanding. She shows a maturity and wisdom beyond her years.

Another thing I really liked in this book was the use of music. The arts are sometimes absent from science fiction novels because we tend to think of them on opposite sides of the spectrum. It's very effective when they are used together. When people from many different places joined together to colonize Roanoke, they had a hard time integrating and feeling like a whole. Music played a large part in unifying them and eventually, they ended up with a new type of music unique to their planet that was a mix of all of the residents'. It was interesting that the sociological issues of colonization were addressed.

Zoe's Tale fleshes out the story of The Last Colony very nicely. I was afraid that the two books would be too similar, but I was wrong. The two novels are compelling in their own ways. The point of view of John Perry and Zoe is so distinct that I sometimes forgot that the two stories were linked. This is also a great crossover book between the teen and science fiction genres.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins


Nina said...

I never ever heard of this book before, it sounds nice. I mean a new colony and fightingscenes..I'm up for it. Thanks for the great review!

vvb32 reads said...

neat-o. i hadn't heard of these either. i like the fact that zoe attempted to communicate instead of be on the defense and stereotyping her captors. and singing at them - interesting approach.