Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: The Dog King (Human Division #7) by John Scalzi

The Dog King (The Human Division, #7)The Dog King by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the seventh installment in John Scalzi's serial novel, The Human Division. Of all of the episodes, despite its inclusion of the main cast, this has me most scratching my head and wondering if this book is meant to be a cohesive whole. As amusing as the story is, it seems more of a distraction than part of a bigger plot.

In this installment, Harry Wilson is assigned to watch an ambassador's dog while said ambassador works on a peace accord with the Icheloe. The Icheloe has been at war with itself for hundreds of years, since the disappearance of their king and his crown. While the dog is sniffing around the garden, it discovers that a lovely signature plant is actually carnivorous by getting eaten by it. Harry goes in after the dog, and makes a discovery that entirely changes the negotiations.

It was amusing to watch the higher-rated ambassador get taken down a peg, as she's consistently wrong about the Icheloe. Her comeuppance isn't that she loses rank or fails in her mission, but that she knows she's wrong and Wilson is right. That he takes great pains to make her look smarter than she is makes that comeuppance all the sweeter.

As amusing as this tale is, though, it didn't feel like it contributed to the overall story. We already know Wilson and Abumwe are well-equipped to handle strange situations, and of the importance of working things out with non-Conclave races. I'm not sure what this installment added to the overall story, except an amusing aside.

Once again, I listened to this on audio, narrated by William Dufris. It's a delightful, quick listen, and I recommend the experience.

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