Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book Review: Agent to the Stars

A rare appearance of a white male author book review! I have a lot of time for John Scalzi, because before I started to mainly read women, I absolutely adored Old Man’s War. Anyway, I picked this up on recommendation from @elenatanasoiu and finally found a time to read it.

I quite enjoyed it, sitting by the pool in my hotel in Kigali, so optimal easy reading time. It was definitely that kind of book, as it was pretty fluffy and straightforward. It felt like it spent most of the time being clever about dialogue than invest in some in depth story telling and character development. Which was fine, it was exactly what I wanted on holiday, but I think another time I might have found it a bit annoying.

Actual poolside view

The story is pretty straight forward: a rather blob like alien race had decided the best way to introduce themselves to humanity was through a film agent. Tom, the person then tasked with figuring out how to show the aliens as the good guys rather than movie villain, team up with one of the aliens (Joshua) alongside dealing with some of his earthly clients. Tom and Joshua are enjoyable, but in some ways feel like the same character. As I said, everyone was being so clever, that you don’t get a huge amount of character individuality.

There was one thing that annoyed me while reading but I felt the choice was redeemed at the end. It has to do with one of the female characters, which I thought was kind of typical (don’t want to say what happens because it would literally ruin the book). Anyway, you just wonder why these sorts of situations always seem to happen to the women, rather than men. But like I said, I think the impact of that decision justified it being made in that way.

I felt the final act paid off a lot of the themes that were talked about through the book and I loved how the aliens finally revealed themselves. It was quite a clever idea and imagine if Scalzi had written it later in his career some of the less sophisticated elements would have been better handled.

Still, if you want some mindless fun, it’s very enjoyable, I recommended the poolside in Kigali.

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