Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: Earth Below, Sky Above (Human Division #13) by John Scalzi

Earth Below, Sky Above (The Human Division, #13)Earth Below, Sky Above by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the final episode in The Human Division, the serial novel by John Scalzi. Scalzi has announced on his blog that there will be a season two, so anyone dissatisfied with where this ended can hang on for more.

This isn't a matter of holding it over our heads to see if we wanted it; it's that this is where this story ends, and, because it worked out as well as it did, hooray, there's more.

And thank goodness. While Earth Below, Sky Above does explain where the missing ships went and what the apparent endgame was, and does so in quite the exciting story, we still don't know who's behind the nefarious plot. Colonels Liz Egan and Abel Rigney have their speculations, but those are just speculations, and little is revealed that the reader doesn't already know.

Which leads me to my biggest complaint about this installment: for a story wrapping up an epic tale, there sure were a lot of "as you know, Harry" recaps in dialogue that were completely unnecessary. Characters rehash information they already know, and that the reader is well aware of. It seemed sloppy writing in an installment that was otherwise fun and exciting.

In the end, The Human Division is the sum of its parts: a self-contained tale that leaves questions for another time. Had I not been aware, while listening to this last installment, that there would be more, I might be annoyed. But, I know I'm going to sign on for season two, and probably the rest of the Old Man's War universe, while I'm at it.

I listened to this installment on audio, narrated by William Dufris, and remained pleased with his ability to narrate the tale. He had good flexibility and pronunciation, and modulated his voice well so I knew when characters whispered or shouted, but didn't have to adjust my volume. He was an excellent choice for narrator for these episodes, and I hope he reads season two, as well.

If you didn't want to read the installments as they came out, The Human Division will be coming out in one collection, with extra bonus material, also discussed on Scalzi's blog. I don't know how different an experience it'll be to read all at once, but the option is there.

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