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  • Only Human

  • By: Sylvain Neuvel
  • Narrated by: William Hope, Charlie Anson, Laurence Bouvard, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 914
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 856

Brilliant scientist Rose Franklin has devoted her adult life to solving the mystery she accidentally stumbled upon as a child: a huge metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. The discovery set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events with geopolitical ramifications. Rose and the Earth Defense Corps raced to master the enigmatic technology, as giant robots suddenly descended on Earth's most populous cities, killing one hundred million people in the process.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • casting error detracts severely, but a good story

  • By Deborah on 05-02-18

Disappointing finale

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-18

** spoiler alert ** I eagerly anticipated Only Human, as I had devoured the previous two Themis novels. I felt pretty let down by this final chapter unfortunately.

When we last left our characters the nameless man and Kara were dead and Vincent, Eva, Rose, and Eugene had been transplanted to another planet. This led to two problems:

1. The nameless man really made the entire conceit of the book make sense. I love found footage kind of novels and it tracked that this secretive government agent had painstakingly collected interviews, news reports, briefings etc etc into a file. When he died and they went on an alien planet they had some throw away lines about "Rose thinks we should still do this" and "thank goodness we found someone to charge our recorders!" but it no longer felt like we were getting to peek at a secret government file. It felt like we were reading someone's SUPER DULL diary where they monologued for ages about the injustices of socio-economic policy. Also, because of the more flashback heavy nature of this book the chronology of all the files was out of whack and it seemed like events were scattershot. Less "well-organized case-file" and more "oops someone dropped the case-file and we let an intern put it back together"

2. The motivations of the characters truly did not make sense. Obviously Vincent wanted to get Eva back onto Earth but I never felt like I really understood WHY. WHY was he so willing to kill a bunch of people so his daughter could go back to Earth? It's not as if Kara was still alive and waiting for them. If it was indicated that Vincent had other family on Earth, it certainly wasn't brought up at all in this novel. If they were being held as prisoners, also understandable. At the end they claimed Eva was going to be killed but he had wanted to get her off the planet from the get-go so not sure that really passes the smell test. Also, they never considered going ANYWHERE else? You find out there's an entire galaxy out there and you just want to go back to a planet where there's nothing waiting for you?

I also had issue with Rose and Eugene and her weird foray into trying to cure cancer. She said she loved him with every fiber of her being...really? Either romantically or not I don't ever remember reading any of their interactions and being like "wow what a beautiful relationship these two have". I remember Eugene being exasperated with Rose. That's about it.

Eva had this whole "revolutionary fights for the oppressed" thing going on but I felt like that was completely undermined when she said she was happy to let a "few dozen" Chinese and North Korean soldiers die so she could live. What a saint! I also did not understand her and Vincent's stupid fight that was just clumsily wrapped up without any real resolution. Vincent's moronic spiel to the american soldier about how he'd murder everyone's family if they hurt his little girl just felt gross and dumb. And I say that as a person with a little girl of my own. I literally said out loud in my car "OH WHATEVER" about halfway through his Liam Neeson-esque speech.

I really loved Sleeping Giants and I enjoyed Waking Gods. I don't know what happened here, I really got the feeling that Neuvel wrote himself into a corner at the end of Waking Gods and just didn't know how to get out of it. I love the audiobook format (although Eva's sudden New York Puerto Rican accent was jarring) and I hope more books follow suit. Obviously Neuvel has been impacted by current events and while I applaud the attempt to shine light on discrimination/racism and their ugly consequences, I just can't get behind this series finale.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful