Since the apocalypse is happening right now (not really) what better time than to read a book about the last human in the universe? Which is exactly what I did this weekend (when I wasn’t glued to the Nintendo Switch I just bought myself). Anyway, I am very tired – because of course I’m writing this like two hours before it’s supposed to be posted at midnight – so I’ll just get right to it. Here’s my review of Zack Jordan’s The Last Human.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
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?
In The Last Human, Zack Jordan created an extremely imaginative world. I read a decent amount of science fiction, but this book really made me realize just how little of those stories include alien species. This book definitely had those in abundance, and it’s one of the things I liked most. It made the story feel diverse, even though it wasn’t in a way we’re familiar with. And I really liked it.
The story started off really great. It begins with a human girl being raised by her adoptive mother. Who is a Widow, aka an enormous spider. (Full disclosure, I hate spiders with every fiber of my being and definitely had a moment where I didn’t think I could continue after realizing this book was about giant alien spiders. But I got over it, and it didn’t freak me out as much as I thought it would. No spider nightmares for me.) I really enjoyed how relatable the characters were, especially in the beginning, since it set the tone for the rest of the book. Even though the vast majority of characters belong to species we’ve never heard of (because they don’t exist), the author made it easy for the reader to empathize with them.
I really enjoyed the story and the writing. I liked how creative it was, and how interesting the world in this novel was. It definitely made me want to keep reading. Which brings me to my one complaint: this book felt SO LONG. I think the author did such a fantastic job setting everything up in the beginning, that the length was not really necessary. This book has a log of action, but the farther I got into it, the more it felt like it was dragging. It was one of those weird cases where I was super into it after the first chapter, and my interest gradually declined from there.
That said, it could just be my personal preferences and expectations. I can definitely see people loving this book, especially if they enjoy unusual sci-fi. Personally, I think I would have absolutely loved this if it had been a hundred pages shorter. I have nothing against long books (some of my all-time favorites have quadruple-digit page counts), I just think this might have been a more impactful story if it had been pared down a bit.
★★★☆☆ – The Last Human was a fun sci-fi novel with an interesting premise. I enjoyed reading it, and would definitely check out another book by Zack Jordan.
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This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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