When a friend told me how good Old Man’s War by John Scalzi was, I wasn’t sure I believed them. A story about an old man fighting just didn’t capture my interest. But I took a leap of faith for two reasons. One, my friend has good taste. Two, the novel is labeled as a sci-fi and anything can happen in a sci-fi.
And it did. I was not disappointed. Much of the first half of the book is about an old man, John Perry, who decides to enlist in a galactic war even though he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. It’s compelling because it’s a mystery as to why him and other old people like him are being recruited. And it’s an even further mystery as to why old people would want to enlist.
Just when I thought I had the mystery figured out, something else happened. I practically slapped my forehead and yelled duh! when it was revealed. I should have known, but Scalzi is great at misdirection.
After the reveal, the story picks up into a lot of gruesome action. If you love action, don’t be put off by the story’s initial slowness. It’s all worth it. Trust me. The range of hostile aliens that he fights are interesting and diverse. Most stories have one or two antagonists, but the variety of antagonists here are broad—and that’s okay.
If there’s one thing about this book I had a hard time swallowing, it was how Perry came to be a part of a special forces team. Scalzi tried to set it up by having Perry use tactics that no one else thought of and survive a hostile attack when no one else survived, but it wasn’t enough for me. However, this is just my opinion. And I didn’t feel it ruined the story. I was engrossed in every moment.
The book was so good, I immediately purchased the second one in the series. If you enjoy sci-fi and you want to enlist in a galactic war full of gruesome aliens, then Old Man’s War is for you. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.