The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

The novel “The Last Emperox” by John Scalzi was published for the first time in 2020. It’s the third book in the Interdependency series and follows “The Consuming Fire“.

Emperox Grayland II is trying in every way to save the inhabitants of the Interdependency from the collapse of the Flow that connects the various planets and inhabited habitats. At the same time, she’s aware that the plot against her that was foiled is just one of many that could cost her her life, especially after Nadashe Nohamapetan escaped from prison.

Planet End could represent humanity’s last hope because it’s habitable, unlike man-made habitats built in other places only because they’re close to a Flow current. The civil war on End and the fleet commanded by the enemies of the Emperox who control the current linking the planet to the Interdependency are the main problems.

“The Last Emperox” concludes the trilogy of Interdependency, the interstellar empire existing thanks to the Flow, which allows journeys of many light-years in a relatively short time. When a scientist communicates the prediction of a progressive collapse of the Flow currents, believed to be stable, the reactions are of disbelief until the moment in which their collapse begins.

This final novel concludes the various subplots started in the previous novels, including the one related to the intrigues around the throne. The trilogy forms one big story, so you need to have read the previous novels to understand the characters and events of “The Last Emperox”.

Discoveries and twists continue and John Scalzi manages to add at least some really hard to expect and this also includes the latest revelations on the origins of Interdependency. The roles of the important characters are now clear but their personal stories still have developments that can be surprising. Grayland II is at the center of the intrigues but Kiva Lagos is more involved than ever and is more foul-mouthed than ever.

My problem with “The Last Emperox” is that too often it seemed to me a sequence of twists rather than a story constructed by developing the various themes introduced in the previous novels. John Scalzi wrote the bare minimum to allow readers to understand that there’s a crisis to which most people react in a short-sighted way and the richest families are only interested in exploiting it to become even richer. Even as regards the twists, they’re sometimes told very quickly, for example in the discoveries concerning the past, of which the author only gives us glimpses of considerable complexity.

There was great potential to go in-depth but important parts of the big story, such as part of the aftermath of the crisis, are completely skipped. Especially considering that “The Last Emperox” ends the Interdependency trilogy, it seems a bit hurried. It’s a case of novels that perhaps would have been better if they had been longer, of course, if the lengthening had offered more substance with the in-depth exploration of the various themes.

As it is, the Interdependency trilogy is fun but there’s little more. The fact that “The Last Emperox” is so based on twists doesn’t make me want to re-read the series because there are no in-depth developments that can stimulate food for thought even in new readings. In the end, it’s a trilogy I recommend to anyone who wants to read a work without too many complications.

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