The Last Human

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 May 2020

Member Reviews

I was completely engaged in this unusual SFF adventure story, and equally impressed that it's a debut. I enjoyed the characters and the unique premise. Will recommend!
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Sarya the Daughter becomes Sarya the Destroyer.  I loved how the author slowly built up this scifi universe.  The alien species were well developed and the tiered intelligence of them was an interesting concept and the agendas of the more intelligent tiers played out in ways I wasn’t expecting. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.
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A mostly enjoyable read. There were times when the book slowed down a bit too much for me, and then there were other moments when the chapters were more engaging and left the reader wanting to know what happens next. I wonder if the book cut 100-150 pages out of the book the pacing would be more readable and a more pleasing read.
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This book was full of great characters and unexpected plot twists that kept me guessing and interested.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read and review The Last Human.
It is a great book for young adults for feel out of place in their world. It has a plot that moves a little slow at times, but overall teens will enjoy the book.
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This was one of the hardest books I've ever struggled to get through to the end.  And, full confession, I sorta didn't.

After fighting to stay awake and interested through the first half, I finally gave up and stopped reading.  I was bored, confused, indifferent, lost, bored.  Then I thought, I should really check out the ending.  If THAT was at least exciting then I swore to go back and finish the rest.  So full disclosure, I jumped from the 50% point to the last chapter.  I didn't miss a beat as far as the story.  I wasn't lost or confused about what was happening.. Probably because it turned out very little had happened in the last half.  

So, we begin by learning a teenage girl named Sarya is the last human.  She has been raised from early childhood by an assassin spider.  I think.  The description only says: eight long arms ending in razor sharp blades, a mandible she clicks in anger, and a carapace that can't be penetrated.  She is horrified by everything about her adopted daughter.  Her soft skin, her two eyes, her voice.  So why did she, after killing the girls parents, take the girl and raise her instead of killing her too?  Not a clue.  But the fact that Sarya is the last human must be kept hidden, because otherwise there would be hell to pay since all other species hate humans.  So how is it that she goes to 'school' with other alien species and no one seems to know she is a human?  Not a clue.

Life for Sarya starts to fall apart early on.  Tragedy strikes, I guess you could say.  Sarya doesn't seem particularly torn up about it.  Then she is on the run from those who want to kidnap her.  For what purpose?  Not a clue.  She finds a few other odd creatures who help her out on her journey.  Sort of.  They don't really like her looks either.  They have a few boring, mild action escapades.  By now I'm at the 50% point.

As I start the last chapter, I find she has destroyed the enemy.  Sort of.  Turns out the one she thought was a friend was really also an enemy.  She destroys them too.  The odd creatures that kind of helped her along the way don't hate her quite as much as they did.  The end.

The writing was alright but the action/storyline was slow and plodding.  None of the characters, and I mean NONE, not even the 'heroine', were likeable.  You never learn enough about them to get attached to them.  There are some chapters that go back into past memories, but even that is done so jerkily, going back and forth from present to past, character to character, and back again, that it hindered more than it helped.  And none of people populating the book become fast friends, comrades against a common enemy, the sort of thing that makes you root for the good guys and hiss at the bad guys.  Everyone was just there for themselves.  Oh sure, once in a while, one would help out another, but usually only because there was something in it for them.

If you don't like the characters you're reading about, and are not interested, or downright confused by, the plot, then it's hard to work up any enthusiasm for a book.  I didn't, I was, and I just can't recommend this novel.  Unless i don't like you much.  In that case, read away!
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Following the general theme of bumbling human travels through space with grumpy robot and friendly monster (and semi-sentient equipment), this novel felt like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with the addition of Sully from Monsters Inc - but with a girl! - in which everyone gets philosophical at the end of the book.  In addition to HHGTTG, a key scene is similar to one in Neuromancer, in a nod to another classic of science fiction.  It was refreshing to have a female central character in science fiction, and the Widows were gone from the story far too soon, but to someone who has read these other books it felt quite derivative.  To a young person who hasn't been exposed to these books, though, this would be a fun and thoughtful read.
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This book follows Sarya a teenage girl who is the last human (and hiding it) in an interstellar community. This book took some delightful turns, quite a few I didn't figure out until they started. 

I admit, at times I found myself unsure as to whether I was enjoying reading this but my final thoughts were very positive. This world grapples with issues of slavery (though not necessarily in those turns), higher intelligences that were written in interesting ways, as well as teenage insecurities. The cast is bright and fun.
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Sarya the Human is relatively harmless. Why then, is she having to hide the fact she is human from an entire galaxy?

The Last Human takes us along with Sarya on a daring, quirky space adventure of universal proportions. When her world is dashed to pieces, how will she survive being the last of her long-hunted species? Filled with unusual aliens, such as furballs, sentient space suits, and two battling egomaniac hive minds, this is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

This book exceeded my expectations and left me wanting more. I loved the worldbuilding and how unique the aliens were. In fact, the aliens are so alien that you really begin to feel as Sarya does: isolated and alone as the last of a species. The story did feel like it lagged a little bit in the middle, but it’s an important part of building Sarya’s backstory and character, so it’s definitely worth sticking it out.

The Last Human is a science fiction story with a twist, reminiscent of the classic Star Trek episodes, where Kirk is facing off against a computer or some other “higher intelligence”. It’s fun, funky, and thought provoking.

Thank you NetGalley and Del Ray Books for allowing me to read this book as an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I really wanted to like this book, and the first third or so was promising. However, I had to settle on 2 stars because I found myself reading it to finish it versus being invested in it. I don’t see myself reading more books in this series, as it became rather boring and convoluted quickly. 

Copy given by net galley. Opinions clearly my own.
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I really enjoyed the beginning of this book and it's not that I completely disliked the second half, it's more accurate to say that I feel like that the two halves are different books. They are written in such completely different ways that I was left very confused, which made it hard for me to enjoy the second half. The writing is great, and I enjoyed the characters but the turn from a light, comedy to heavy and  philosophical was too much for me.
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Oh my gosh. This book was eye opening, crazy, completely understandable, mind blowing, and I could see this being a truth. It was hard to put down and I had to know what happened next. I don't want to say more and give anything away but this is a book that makes you believe in doing bigger and breaks you down into insignificance and builds you back up sort of. Overall I enjoyed it.
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Sarya is the last human and she has spent her entire life hiding the fact that she is human because humans were destroyed for a reason. Unfortunately Sarya does not understand why humans were so horrible that the entire race had to be destroyed (and neither does the reader). Set in some unknown future where people are rated by their intelligence (and put into ‘tiers’), Sarya is rated quite low (since her adopted mother, from a murderous insect like race had to get her papers to explain her somehow and the one she can pass for is not a high tier). She has lived her whole life on a space station where everyone knows their place and those of sufficient intelligence are connected to the Network, something Sarya has only experienced thru a less than ideal connection. As the book begins, this lack of connection is about to change for Sarya. This offers an interesting read by an author who has done some well thought out world/universe building.
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You can’t accuse Zack Jordan’s The Last Human of having a misleading title. It’s the story of Sarya, who is quite literally the last human being in the universe. That she even exists is a bit of a fluke; she was saved by one of the Widows, which are among the most lethal species that exist, and adopted in an atypical moment of emotion. Now Sarya has to disguise herself as a low-intelligence species, pretending to be something she’s not, because humans? Well, they’re viewed with horror and terror – remembered as one of the most terrifying species that ever existed in the annals of the Network (a networked intelligence that pretty much regulates life across the cosmos and nicely keeps the peace). And when a higher tier intelligence – in other words, an intelligence that’s basically like a god to something below it – recognizes Sarya for what he is, a series of events kicks off with ramifications for literally all life as anyone knows it.

That, as well as some of the tone of the early chapters, might lead you to expect a space opera with shades of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or even Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera, and to some degree, Jordan provides that for us. With a slew of inventive, weird species and a rich universe anchored by the Network, Jordan builds an immersive, rich universe within pages, and that dazzling scope of imagination never lets up over the course of the book. Jordan gives us a universe that’s vibrant and complex, as well as giving readers the feeling of being tossed into a world that’s so more immense than our own. That’s only amplified by his conceit of tiered intelligences, where each tier is so far beyond the others as to almost be incomprehensible – a writing choice that only underlines humanity’s insignificance in the universe.

All of that sets up a really fun premise, as Sarya finds herself beset on all sides, trying to figure out her place in the universe, and just maybe see if there are other humans still alive somewhere. The book has a way of constantly evolving and changing around you, as new characters appear and old ones evolve, situations change, realities shift, and so much more. It’s imaginative, weird, and a ton of fun…

…and then the book changes in a far, far bigger way, changing from a fun space opera romp into something more philosophical, complex, mind-bending, and existential. What I thought was an adventure novel got more and more ambitious, getting into questions of free will, the nature of intelligence, human nature, and the nature of life itself. Did it feel like a natural outgrowth of the book to that point? Well, yes, in some ways – Jordan’s ideas about intelligence tiers set up some of the later concepts in subtle ways – but it’s still a major change in the very type of book we thought this was.

Now, whether that’s a problem for you or not really depends on the kind of reader you are, and how invested you were in the genre you were reading. In some ways, I loved that ambitious second half – it’s the mark of a writer who has ideas to spare, and I loved how ambitious, weird, and genuinely complex that whole section is. But I also can’t deny a sense of confusion as the book turned on a dime; what’s more, it felt like a lot of the material that I was enjoying in the first half got tossed out or left behind. And even if that second half settles the plot of the book is solid ways, it still feels like an ending that doesn’t quite fit with the first on a tonal level.

That all being said, I still liked and recommend The Last Human – it’s too original, too rich, too imaginative, and too thoughtful not to deserve some reading. That it shifts so wildly will cause some people to dislike it, and I don’t entirely disagree with them, but I can’t bring myself to fault a book for starting in a familiar genre and then evolving to something far more complex and even philosophical. Does Jordan manage that transition perfectly? No, probably not…but I’ll take a book that takes chances pretty much anytime over something that plays it safe. And besides that, if this is only Jordan’s first book, I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
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Sayra isn't the most scary creature on her space station, Watertower. She just wants to be treated better than her current status, which isn't much higher than a laundry hamper, and trying to keep her real identity a secret.  But on a field trip she meets someone like her and that is when things go wrong, her mother is killed fighting for her and a rogue space suit grabs her and takes her on board with a ragtag crew fleeing the now exploding Watertower.  

This is a good book full of twists, suspense and action.  This is also a very philosophical book at times.  It takes a long look at the human race and how it believes humans would act in certain circumstances.   It is one reaction I suppose, but the writing was good and I enjoyed the book..

The review will appear on my blog on March 24th
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Picture it!
We are in the future. There is a galaxies-spanning network of alien races, all working together. What links them is the Network. It translates, allows FTL travel etc. In this future, humans no longer exist. They have been deemed too dangerous and were eradicated.
Why though? Was it because we're violent and always prey on the weak instead of collaborating on a huge scale? Was it because we were too stupid compared to these other species? Or maybe we just liked to not become a member of the Network but also didn't play by its rules for non-citizens? You'll have to read the book to find out.
The Network has elevated most species, but there are still different intelligences. They are grouped into tiers. Despite what I can only call racism, the lower tiers still benefit from the higher ones. Think Dyson Spheres.
One such sphere is Watertower Station where our protagonist, Sarya, grows up. She is the adopted daughter of a Widow, an alien race with mandibles and blades known for their fighting skills. And when I say adopted, I mean secretly-human adopted.
How it can be that humanity has been wiped out and not been seen for thousands of years if not longer but now ONE single teenage human suddenly makes an appearance? Again, read the book and find out, it's actually cool.
As most coming-of-age stories go, Sarya's world is thrown into the grinder one day and her home is suddenly gone. She now has to navigate a weird galaxy as "the monster". I bet that wasn't what she had in mind when she grumbled about the low tier the fake-species of her fake ID was categorized with.
And of course she has side-kicks such as a sentient space suit, but it's not really about that.
Or it is for about two thirds of the book. Then the underlying questions get addressed: such as who we are and who we want to be, if we can play nicely with others, what it takes for a species to survive, what we're willing to sacrifice and what not, ... many say "the book gets talky" but I liked the deeper examination of these really important questions.

Just as much as I liked the worldbuilding of this book. The station at first, then ships, then the wider world so to speak. The different alien races were hilarious and I liked the nicely addressed plausible differences that have to be overcome for a successful cooperation - but also that they CAN be overcome. Hive-mind theories have been out there forever. The question is if a species such as humanity can go from being as we are now to becoming such a group-intelligence and I liked the examination of that topic a lot.

The writing style was also very good and gave the story the necessary flow. Oh, and I liked the way the publisher decided to display the different Network information. *lol* Dry humour is exactly my thing.

Yes, I have received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for this review, but that in no way influenced my opinion about this book. The author really did write something nice that keeps changing while you read, but in a totally plausible way that was fun and light but also serious, informed and deep. Scifi the way I like it. :D
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The Last Human by Zack Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was immediately hooked on the concept of an enormous galaxy-wide Network of aliens living and cooperating ... but fearing one species above all else: Humans. You know... because we break things. Get all tribal and s**t. We like to exploit weaknesses in others and lord over their spoils because we're a**holes.

Turns out, our main character is the last of this dastardly breed, growing up small in a huge network of Dyson Spheres with countless old alien species categorized in a hierarchy based on Tiered Intelligence.

Most of the book is rather fun and filled with all the normal Coming of Age stuff of discovery and adventure and breaking out of the rigid hierarchy while trying to get a grip on BEING the big bad that everyone is shivering in their boots about. A little girl should never have to be such a horrible monster. ; ;

I really enjoyed this book, but I'll be perfectly honest, I didn't LOVE it until the last third came rolling around. The whole Tiered Intelligence bit made it a real joy to read. What does it really mean? Networking, of course. Many, many collections of minds within other collections of minds. The more minds, the higher the Tier. When we get to the top Tier, we're dealing with the mind that can CREATE a full network of Dyson Spheres... and much more.

So what's the real story about? What is this little last human's fate?

NOT TELLING! Muahahahahahahaha... but it's awesome. Really awesome. :)

I loved the whole thing about game theory, biological emulation, and hawks vs doves. :)
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I have read a lot of books this year, but The Last Human has to be the strangest!
There is only one human left in the entire universe, Sarya, who was adopted but Shenya. Right away, I knew I was entering a time and place like none I had ever experienced. Shenya is well she is, kind of like a spider. A dangerous, spider who has managed to keep Sarya's true heritage hidden, as humans are loathed throughout the galaxy. There are many more unique characters, who all manage to interact through the Network. It is quite a humorous journey through space, with underlying philosophical themes. 
A lot of The Last Human was entertaining, but there was also an awful lot of philosophizing. Not that the questions raised or the concepts weren't interesting, it's just not what I was expecting from what started as a fun and quirky read. 3.5 stars.
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Review by 2shay..........🌟🌟🌟.....

Look at the cover. Did you take a good look? It’s brilliant. Every one of the strange, alien creatures depicted on the cover are in the book. Some are furry, some are slick or slimy and a few have exoskeletons. They’re all sentient, with minds connected by the Network so they can communicate flawlessly. Then there is the bright yellow triangle, the universal danger sign, with a human outlined. So, it’s fairly obvious from the cover that all those many alien creatures fear humans. We know, from the title, that there is only one human left. The cover and the blurb made this a must read for me.

Sarya The Daughter is that one human. Sarya is the adopted daughter of Shenya The Widow. Shenya is an eight legged, huge, spider-like creature with deadly blades as extensions of her legs. She loves her daughter without reservation, and has concealed her species identity for years. Theirs is a strange and intense relationship.

This book is beautifully crafted. It’s lovely. It’s complex. The author’s exploration of intelligence, free-will and point-of view are interesting...up to a point. That point, for me, was 58%. I just could not continue. I know that many people will love this book, I did for a while. As the story progressed, it became more about the great questions...who or what controls the universe...and less and less about the characters.

I have never, until now, given 3 Stars to a book I didn’t finish, but I was completely enchanted for a while. Pick up a copy, and, hopefully...

Enjoy! ARC graciously provided by Random House/Del Rey and NetGalley for an honest and voluntary review.
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This is a good book. I really enjoyed it. The character is well developed and the story is packed with action and adventure. The author does a great job delivering a story with a solid plot and interesting subplots.
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