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2.0 out of 5 starsBlurb doesn't match the book.
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2017
I picked this up for free and couldn't get through the first chapter. There's a disconnect between the blurb and the first chapter that is hard to reconcile. Eli spends his time in the first chapter mooning after an ascender, one who changes bodies, who wears ridiculous costumes, and who treats him like nothing. I was expecting a clear connection to a larger world, one that is hinted at in the blurb. Instead, I got romance, but bad, superficial romance that makes Eli seem cheap/stupid/delusional. And this is my protagonist? I'm supposed to follow him through six books because he loves his mother and paints well when he's crazy? No thanks. It looks to me like most of the positive reviews have read other books by the author, so are not judging this book by its own merits. I love that you just love all her work, but how about a discussion of this book, not more gushing about another series she did? If the book blurb had started with his unrequited love of Lenora, it would attract and keep more readers.
Humans are capable of great things, but they are fallible and mortal. With an opportunity to live forever presented in Susan Kaye Quinn's The Legacy Human (Singularity #1) the question arises as to what you would trade for that immortality.
Elijah Brighton, a legacy human living in the post-Singularity, is a skilled artist with talent that reaches remarkable heights when he creates in a fugue state, earning him the patronage of an immortal ascender, a being that is a hybrid of human and machine. Eli harbors the dream of becoming an ascender, especially as doing so would help ensure that his mother finally receives the medical care she needs to cure her cancer. Landing a surprise sponsor to compete in the creative Olympics that provide him an opportunity to earn ascender status, Eli struggles to either harness or master the fugue state that would virtually guarantee his gold medal. As he works on refining his painting and befriends some other artists, despite his sponsor's guidance, he begins to learn of the real game the ascenders are playing, causing him to question who he really is as he tries to preserve his life.
An absorbing and thought-provoking story exploring the combination of humanity and technology, Eli's world presents intriguing concepts in a moderately futuristic setting that is both familiar and foreign, in both locations and technological and societal representation. With this being the first in a series, I was a bit surprised at the lack of backstory for the Singularity, aside from mentioning that it happened and how the world now functions, with little done to establish how the world reached that point or the development of the group of dissenters throughout society, which I found to be the more fascinating portion of the narrative. The characters are relatively well-crafted, offering realistic characters with flaws and age-appropriate behavior, even if some of Eli's behavior didn't always make logical sense or feel entirely natural to the surrounding events.
5.0 out of 5 starsI found myself immersed in the story and wanting more when I finished it.
Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2018
I've read a few of Susan's books now and enjoyed every one of them. But I have to say this is my favorite so far. SKQ is quickly becoming one of my favorite sci-fi authors. I look forward to reading more of her books.
2.0 out of 5 starsCould not finish this book teen angst novel
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2020
The blurb made this book sound good. Unfortunately, it’s just a bad romance with a weak main character pining after an immortal being. The main character is a teenager so I guess the teen, anst-ridden crush shouldn’t be a surprise. Maybe this should have been classified as Young Adult but I still don’t know how it made it past my “non-romance” filter criterion. If you are looking for hard sci-fi or space opera then give this a pass. If you like emotional rollercoasters and pointless mooning over a love obsession then dive right in!
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating blend of science and art!
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2017
Normally, I don't like books narrated in e first person present, but with Quinn's deft skill, I barely noticed it. Instead, the point of view did exactly what it should: it filled me with the pathos and ethos of the character, and it kept the mystery and suspense alive. The understanding of the creative mind was poignant and lovely. The interwoven exploration of faith, especially in the performance of a side character named Delphina, was breathtakingly beautiful.
My only concern as I neared the end of the book was that there would be too many questions left unanswered to feels complete story arc. I think Quinn just cleared the line on that. It definely leaves you needing to read book 2!
Set in a future world where most of humanity has 'Ascended' and become immortal part human part machines, Elijah Brighton is one of a small number of legacy humans, descendants of those who refused to ascend for religious or other reasons. Treated as second-class citizens, almost pets, by the Ascended, the legacies live in what is left of the old cities, dependant on the Ascended for food and money. Elijah is an artist, supported by his sponsor Lenora, what she doesn't know is that Elijah's best work is created when he is in a fugue state, something he has no control over. His mother has cancer, something that the Ascended can easily cure, but will die unless Elijah can get her the drugs she needs or persuade Lenora to let them ascend, something that is now forbidden to legacies.
Then Elijah is offered the opportunity to compete in the artistic Olympics, the gold medal prize is ascension for the winner and his/her family, by Lenora's second, Marcus. This is where the book started to feel very much like The Hunger Games, young people competing for an audience of sophisticated, superior beings. Just like THG, the competitors and their sponsors are not above trying to nobble the opposition, put them off or kill them and each competitor has a sponsor to guide them and advocate on their behalf.
I liked this but I didn't love it. I felt that the story kind of lost its way a bit in the middle, the focus changed to add in a romantic element and I didn't really understand the twist about Elijah and his fugue state, there were too many strands pulling together and then the introduction of a Resistance group became a bit too much.
However, having said that, this was an interesting take on a future world where humans are the inferior race and I will probably read the second book in the series to see how the Resistance continue with their quest for the answer to The Question.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2017
This is a coming of age story on more than one level and while it would be easy to lump it in with the abundance of teenage science fiction or fantasy works that have become common I think this offers rather more. There is a well built world hovering between dystopia and paradise depending on what side of a line you are on, the legacy humans are treated with a kind of disinterested, benign oppression by the ascenders. As the story develops there are layers of complexity are revealed and the motivations of the ascended are seen to be still all too human. There are themes of a jaded society craving the entertainment of a gladiatorial arena and a sterility within their own creative works that demands a novelty that can only be provided by legacy humans. This then ties in with the idea that ascenders have somehow lost their souls in the process of becoming posthumans, the spark that makes a human more than a collection of data driving an artificial consciousness. While this is definitely written with religious overtones, I'll admit this did initially start to put me off the book, when you think about this it is an almost unavoidably human way to express this concept and which is consistent with the characters in the story. If you prefer, as the reader, to think of this as some kind of quantum connection with the physical universe which is not captured by the technology of ascendance then this would not be inconsistent with the story as it develops. Overall there is a subtlety and ambiguity to the story and themes which works well as seen through the eyes of the main character as he discovers there is far more to the world he lives in than he ever thought.
The character of Elijah is written with level of emotional content that brings him to life without being over wrought, he is after all a human, an artist and a teenager. I have been reading science fiction for several decades so it is unavoidable for me to see similarities with other books, that also clearly puts well outside the intended readership for this book, yet I still enjoyed it because of the style in and the skill with which it has been written. The only reason I have given it four rather than five stars is because for an adult it is quite a light read so the score is an absolute comparison to books I would mark at five.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 29, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. It was different with a unique storyline. It moved at a good steady pace and the plot developed well.
I liked the characters. Eli was great. All he wanted was to save his mum which was so admiring to read. He was willing to do anything for her life. I think he was a little bit ignorant to the competition to start with, but he knew what he needed to do and he worked hard to make it happen.
Cyrus was also a great character. I think Eli would have been lost without him and ultimately, it is Cyrus who helps him with the competition. Both of them worked well together and it was nice learning about their friendship. They truly are more brothers to eachother.
I think there is more to Lenora that meets the eye. I'm looking forward to hopefully finding out more about her as the books go on.
The storyline was brilliant. I felt the concept was unique which made it even more enjoyable to read. The acsenders were well thought out.
I think the added storyline with the girls, Batha, Kamali and Delphina made the storyline more exciting. They were good additional characters. The situation that Eli has found himself in has led on to the next book well.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The great characters and plot have definitely left me wanting to read the next book in the series. I would definitely recommend it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2019
A fantastic start to a series, well written and interesting. The background world-building is easy to understand, so it is easy and fast to get into the story, and a very good story it is. My only slight quibble is that this is a book which is written in the present tense, and I am not a huge fan of that. However, I will admit that it works very well for this story. I am looking forward to working my way through the rest of the series, and I am fascinated to find out how things progress.
The Legacy Human challenges the reader to explore what it actually means to be human. I found it very thought-provoking and deeply spiritual in parts. What happens to our soul if in the future we manage to transcend humanity? Do we still have one? Is there a way to maintain that essential component of what it is to be human? And if the opportunity was there would you aspire to ascend? These are some of the questions I asked myself, and some of the issues that Eli has to face on his self-developmental journey. Throw in some untrustworthy characters and a hefty dose of suspense and you end up with a roller-coaster ride of a read.
Eli is very easy to warm to. His willingness to place his mother's safety above his own was very endearing. Cy, his best-friend-slash-brother, is fiercely loyal and a brilliant side-kick. I felt a strong emotional connection with both characters and they were very well written and developed as the book progressed. I have a feeling I know who Eli's father is and if I'm correct it is going to shatter his world. Can't wait for the next books in the series to find out!
The world-building is superb and I could easily picture the Ascender and Legacy cities. I would love to see this made into a movie; I think it would be visually stunning.
Susan's writing is breath-taking and so inspiring. She is truly amazingly talented.
I felt the pacing was a little slow in the first part of the book, but it's only a minor complaint. It didn't deter from my overall enjoyment of this book.
A friend who is a big fan of Susan's recommended that I read this book and I'm so glad I did. I have the Mindjack Trilogy on my Kindle already and I look forward to reading some more of Susan's work.
In summary, this is an exceptionally well written book with stunning world-building, imaginative plot, like-able characters and a promise of great things to come with the rest of the series. Highly Recommended.