The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)
By: John Scalzi
Format/Source: eBook courtesy of the Tor.com book club
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.
I don’t read nearly as much Scalzi as I should lol. Then this book popped up in Tor.com’s First-In-a-Series book club (or whatever it’s called…it’s something along those lines) so I decided to check it out 🙂
This was a lot more exciting that I thought it would be. It reminded me of Kevin Anderson’s Saga of the Seven Suns (see author tag) and the space operas I used to watch growing up. There are three story lines, following Cardenia, the new emperox of the Interdependency, Lady Kiva, the foul-mouthed business captain/noblewoman, and Marce, a scientist/noble living in the backwater of the Interdependency. It was interesting to read as they tackle different issues pertaining to the Interdependency–one-upping from one noble house against another, economic issues, civil war, administration of an empire–all culminating to the major storyline that the Flow is collapsing. The threat felt very real, and quite terrifying when you think about all of the worlds that will be cut off as a result of the Flow collapsing.
I really enjoyed following the cast of characters in this book, from the quiet Marce to the badass Lady Kiva (who btw omg I thought she was as straight-up-badass as they come, and then in comes her mother D= Yoooo…). Ghreni was annoying but you can’t help but be fascinated reading about him and whenever he exchanges barbed dialogue with Kiva. And I felt for Cardenia, finding herself in a role she did not grow up being groomed into but rather found herself in.
The Collapsing Empire was a pretty solid first novel in a new trilogy. I thought the pacing was pretty good, there weren’t really any slow points, and even if there were, it still had vital information about the world in which these characters inhabit and how the Interdependency operated. Definitely left me wanting more, I’ll have to keep a lookout for the next book in the trilogy!