Book Review: The Last Human, by Zack Jordan

The Last Human, by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

Published by Del Rey on March 24, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 432

Source: Netgalley

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The last human in the universe must battle unfathomable alien intelligences—and confront the truth about humanity—in this ambitious, galaxy-spanning debut

“A good old-fashioned space opera in a thoroughly fresh package.”—Andy Weir, author of The Martian

“Big ideas and believable science amid a roller-coaster ride of aliens, AI, superintelligence, and the future of humanity.”—Dennis E. Taylor, author of We Are Legion

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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Zack Jordan’s debut novel The Last Human is science fiction with an intriguing premise. I’m just not sure it entirely worked for me. 

The basic idea is that this is a world in which hundreds of alien species of varying intelligences live but humans have been deemed too dangerous to exist. But the main character Sarya is human—the last human, in fact. And she doesn’t feel like she’s particularly dangerous. So what happened to humanity and how did she survive? 

During the first two thirds of The Last Human, I kept thinking of this book as Ready Player One meets Star Wars. There was a main character I could root for and lots of action. But right around the two third mark, the story took a turn, becoming deeper and more introspective. And I’m all for an action packed book that also delves deep with thought-provoking ideas. In this case, however, the turn was so hard that it felt like two completely different books and it began to lose momentum for me. 

Although I had some issues with The Last Human, there were several elements of this book that I enjoyed. The writing was sharp and witty. It asked questions about what it means to be human and how we fit into something that is not only much bigger than us but much bigger than we could ever comprehend. And overall, it was a lot of fun!

For the most part, I enjoyed reading The Last Human. While I might try another book Jordan writes, I wouldn’t be interested in any type of sequel. That all said, if this sounds like your kind of book, definitely check it out. 

*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3-b&w

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