Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the last human (Zack Jordan)
Title: the last human
Author: Zack Jordan
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Publication Date: TODAY! (hardback/e-book)
I was so excited to be granted a wish to read this book. The blurb is awesome. A young human girl, Sarya, is being raised by her adopted mother who happens to be a killer giant black widow spider like thing. Only Sarya has to keep her identity hidden because she is the last human and humans are considered to be space’s most dangerous and terrifying species. Panic would ensue and Sarya’s life would be at risk.
I absolutely adored the beginning of this novel and the setup. I loved Sarya. I loved her scary mom. I loved the society status based on tiered intelligence levels. I love the machines and bots. I even loved the info dumps in the forms of instruction manuals that were dumbed down to match lower intelligence levels (like mine).
The first quarter of the book was so wonderful and action packed and interesting. At around 25%, the location changed and tone shifted. I thought about stopping there. Sarya’s actions do not fit with how she presented in the first quarter. She becomes rather fickle and whiny. New characters were haphazardly introduced and confusion started to begin. It’s not that I didn’t love the ideas of the new characters (like the space suit) but the narrative starts to disintegrate into philosophical ramblings that bored me. The plot began to feel haphazard.
Though I thought about abandoning the book again at the 50% mark, I kept reading for the small snippets of hinted potential. I loved the mom’s perspective and some things about Sarya’s new shipmates. I stopped for the last time at the 64% mark. The story had lost the personal narratives and ceased to be character driven. The best part of the novel was the world building, developing relationships, and watching Sarya grow. The growth stopped, the plot died, and the plot twist happened. I didn’t like that the big idea took center stage and everything I had loved about the writing ended.
I normally like discussions about artificial intelligence, personhood, technology, and the like. However, the beginning of this book led me to certain expectations and I did not like when the author decided to drop Sarya’s agency and mission. I went online to read other reviews to see if I should soldier on but decided against it. Others may have better mileage.
This looks like the book was the author’s debut. Based on the strong foundation of the beginning of this novel, I would be willing to try more of his future work. But this one ended up being unsalvageable. Arrrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.
Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.
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.
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