It appears that the charm of The Slippery Slope slipped away with this one. The orphans are swept downstream and end up on a submarine. Things are pretty predictable, and I just didn't feel engaged by any of it.
I think I'm less angry at this book than disappointed. I went in expecting Jane Austen + magic and ended up really getting neither. While it is a Regency novel, and Kowal works towards Austen's style, much of the charm and all of the wit is missing. And the magic serves no real purpose in the world or the novel. It doesn't feel shoved in, but it does leave me a bit perplexed.
From the beginning, you know everything is going to go wrong in The Last Colony. But because it's John Scalzi, you know everything will be okay in the end. This was more Ghost Brigades and less Old Man's War—less focus on humor and more on the issues at hand—but I think it's superior to it in a few ways.