Title: The Last Human
Author: Zack Jordan
Genre: Sci-fi/Space Opera
Publication Date: March 24th, 2020
Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)
One Sentence Synopsis
Sarya, a secret human raised by a murderous alien, is obsessed with finding out the truth about what happened to her species and why they were deemed too dangerous to exist.
This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version
“In My galaxy, there is order and there is chaos. You Humans are always dreaming of the first, but your pitiful attempts to create it always result in the second.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Though I am a lover of sci-fi, I had noticed recently that the genre was woefully underrepresented on my shelves, both read and unread. I think this is because a lot of the sci-fi that catches my eye also happens to be chonky.
Looking at you, Leviathan Wakes…
And big books are intimidating, y’all! I decided that I need to face my fears, though, and have actively been seeking out more sci-fi recently. So when I came across this book on Netgalley and read the synopsis, I decided to request it. This is the story of the last surviving human stumbling into something so mind-bending it threatens the entire galaxy! The whole vibe made me think of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels of all time, so that maaaay have influenced my decision 😁
Either way, I’m happy that I decided to give this a shot! The Last Human has that special mix of humor and convoluted philosophical questions that I honestly appreciate in my science fiction. Not only did this book make me laugh out loud multiple times, it really made me think about concepts like free will and community and belonging. It had my emotions bouncing all over the place! I would be rooting for Sarya, then wondering what the hell she was doing! It was complex, but fascinating all at the same time.
Speaking of Sarya, I don’t think I’ve ever empathized with a character so much who I also wanted to strangle. She was so frustrating! But in a realistic way, ya know? I mean, she is a teenager (I think?) who is thrown into an overwhelming series of circumstances without any kind of guidance. If I had to go through half the crap she does in this book as a teenager, the entire galaxy probably would have imploded. Seriously.
That didn’t stop the frustration, though 😂
And Sarya wasn’t the only character that has stuck in my mind. All of the characters in this book have a richness to them that I appreciated. It can be easy to let the secondary characters in a book like this be flat and only there as support for our main character’s story. Not so with these ones! Honestly, my favorite character is Sarya’s adoptive mother, Shenya the Widow. Trust me… she’s amazing! And the crew that end up in Sarya’s life all have layers and I loooove it. I wish we had actually spent more time with them. Especially when it came to developing the relationship between the crew and Sarya.
Hmm… here I was whining about the length of sci-fi books and I’m wishing this one had more!
I will say that some of the science talk got a bit convoluted. Not in a “I can’t understand this” kind of way. More of a “Let’s make this as mind-numbing and twisty as possible” kind of way. But those bits weren’t too overwhelming, so it was easy to move past it. Most of it was mind-bending in the best of ways! It was fast-paced and thought-provoking and, honestly, just a really fantastic read.
Final thoughts: This is a incredible romp through space that makes you think about a lot of big concepts. It’s a quick read that will have you rooting for Sarya at the same time that you’re questioning all her decisions. If you’re intimidated by science fiction or space operas, I think this would be a fantastic jumping-off point!