Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy. Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.
And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth—that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is—impossibly—the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago. That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.
Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship—with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands—Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth. What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table—and a second chance for humanity?
The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut—a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.
The Last Human will be released March 24, 2020. Preorder Now!
“Don’t touch me,” she says, her voice rising. “This isn’t something you can just… encourage me through. I’m being realistic, okay? I am a literal speck of fucking dust and I cannot do it.”
The Last Human had an enthralling start. The book opens with the main character, Sarya, being dissatisfied with her life. She is human, and hiding that fact because humans are a cross between outlawed and regarded as extremely dangerous. Because of this, Sarya’s prospects in life are low. It has come time in her life to choose her future, and she hates the future she sees.
So, at the most opportune time in her life, a stranger comes up to her like “I know what you are. Meet me later and I’ll take you to your people.” As you might expect, things do not go well for Sarya from here.
I really enjoyed the beginning of the book. I really wanted to know how Sarya would get out of the situation she had gotten into, just for being born. The world was interesting, as it was a giant Network of races and other intelligences. There were excerpts from a kind of guidebook, which had footnotes and it was a great way to include a lot of information in a short package. I loved everything.
And then something changed somewhere in the middle of the book. And I just lost all enchantment with the book. It was a series of one ridiculous event and bad decision after another. Typically spearheaded by Sarya who doesn’t think things through. Which is a big pet peeve of mine, and this just kind of rubbed me the wrong way because there was only one major mistake early on that compounded and this was just a lot of mistakes one after the other. I also felt distant with the rest of the characters because they were so cold.
And that worldbuilding I praised a moment ago? I grew steadily more and more wary of it. The focus on intelligence is just so weird. The entire story is built on how much intelligence someone has. Not even how they use it. Just what their race has on average, including the robotic help. Everything is categorized based on how smart they are. They rely on their technology for literally everything, and they treat the high tech terrible even though they have feelings and think of themselves like they’re, you know, intelligent. Because they are. Like, it felt like bullying. It just really rubbed me the wrong way.
Even those excerpts from the guidebook with the footnotes soured on me. I ended up wondering why they were even there anymore, because most of the time we had already pieced together the pieces from the story.
I know The Last Human will work for a lot of people, it just wasn’t for me. If none of what I said bothers you, go ahead and read it! I really wanted to like it and it started out so well. I just didn’t like the overall book. I wished more would have been done with the human aspects of the story, since this was what it was about. But the focus was more on the intelligences and the Network that runs the entire conglomeration. I just ended up disappointed in the end.
ARC received from Del Rey on Netgalley. This did not affect my review.