The Last Human by Zack Jordan

  • Release date: March 24, 2020
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-100451499816
  • ISBN-13978-0451499813

Amazon description:

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut.

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.

My review:

Thank you to Net Galley and Del Rey for providing an Electronic Uncorrected proof in exchange for a fair review.

I’m so happy I was given the opportunity to read this. I love scifi and space opera and when I saw this book mentioned, and saw the awesome cover, my interest was piqued. As someone new to this blogging and reviewing world I was nervous about requesting a book thru NetGalley, and this one was not up for request, you had to “wish” for it. Wish for it I did. Lo and behold, about a month later, I was notified that it was approved -yay- and my wish had been granted.

The Last Human was a really fun, unique twist on the scifi space opera genre. Beginning at the The Watertower Space habitat/station, where we meet Sarya The Daughter. Sarya lives with her mother, Shenya the Widow. Shenya is intimidating, has sharpened claws instead of fingers, very intelligent and very protective of her daughter, but also a killing machine. She is raising Sarya as her own, as a Widow. Sarya though, looks nothing like them, she is described as ugly because she is a creature with bones and tissue on the inside(yuck), which of course says a lot about the alieness of Shenya. Sarya has been presented as having been born as a member of another one of the lesser seen, lesser intelligent species in the universe. That of course is to dissuade anyone from thinking she is actually a Human, a species that rejected the Network, and as a result, has offended the many alien species thriving throughout the universe, all connected to Network.

Network is the all pervading, all connecting technology that makes progression in the universe possible. Network allows faster than light communication, synchronizes citizens, and all technology. Network gives you an intelligence rating that determines what you are capable of and is always there with you to guide and assist. Every citizen has a piece of network implanted, and acts as a friendly helper for that person.

Back to the story. Sarya knows shes a human, has never seen another one and is pretty depressed to be the only one of her kind, all the while impersonating a species known for not being very intelligent, so not expected to perform anything complex as far as her future career goes on the space station. She goes to school with a variety of other unique citizens of this vast network, but is not highly thought of. There are interesting moments talking to the drones and machines that keep the station going I found hilarious.

The story really takes off and things spin out of their controlled orbits when she is offered the opportunity to leave and actually meet another human. From here, it would be all spoilers, so I’ll talk about how this book made my head spin with it’s almost manic story progression and character development.

Zack Jordan does a fantastic job creating “big moments” filled with action, presenting big science concepts that are pretty easy to understand. There are universe sized intelligence’s, there is destruction on a massive scale, heart warming friendship, sacrifice and loss, and redemption to follow.

My only criticism(minute is that I felt like I never had the clearest picture of what Roche, one of her friends and partners really looked like, I never had the clearest picture in my mind. It’s possible that was my own lack of attention, or imagination, so nothing to really complain about as this book was great, fully engaging, and so unique.

One of the really cool touches I really loved was the stuff in paragraphs, which you will understand once you read it. Also, the concepts of “Network” and “Observer” are fascinating on many levels, and made me consider how life might “out there” and why planet earth is so alone. Thats why I read scifi, and there is so much more, including hilarity and a great ending, but I would just recommend giving this a book a read at this point. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: Nine-point Five of Ten Galaxies