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Publisher's Summary

Pacific Rim meets The Martian in the explosive follow-up to Sleeping Giants ("One of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory" —NPR) and Waking Gods ("Pure, unadulterated literary escapism" —Kirkus Reviews).

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. Though Rose and her team were able to fend off the attack, their victory was short-lived. The mysterious invaders retreated, disappearing from the shattered planet...but they took the scientist and her crew with them.

Now, after nearly 10 years on another world, Rose returns to find a devastating new war - this time between humans. America and Russia are locked in combat, fighting to fill the power vacuum left behind after the invasion. Families are torn apart, friends become bitter enemies, and countries collapse in the wake of the battling superpowers. It appears the aliens left behind their titanic death machines so humankind will obliterate itself. Rose is determined to find a solution, whatever it takes. But will she become a pawn in a doomsday game no one can win?

Read by William Hope, Charlie Anson, Laurence Bouvard, Adna Sablylich, Laura Kirman, Aaron Vodovoz, Julie Rogers, Christopher Ragland, Patricia Rodrigues, Jennifer Woodward, Karina Fernandez, Eric Meyers, Madeleine Rose, Lance C. Fuller, and the author, Sylvain Neuvel.

"Packing a surprisingly powerful thematic punch, this novel is an addictive blend of science fiction, apocalyptic thriller, and chillingly timely cautionary tale. Two (giant, robotic) thumbs up!" (Kirkus Reviews)

"Boasting a winning combination of briskly paced action and futuristic dystopia tempered by cautious optimism, Only Human brings a fitting, satisfying end to the Themis Files series." (RT Book Reviews)

©2018 Sylvain Neuvel (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This action-packed tale with apocalyptic stakes is a fitting finale to this wonderfully cinematic series." (Publishers Weekly)

"Series fans will be eager for [Sylvian] Neuvel's ever-so-satisfying conclusion to his rip-roaring science-fiction adventure tale." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    59
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    16

Performance

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    161
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    75
  • 2 Stars
    41
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    23

Story

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    23
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

casting error detracts severely, but a good story

The full-cast narration in this series is usually great, and for the most part, this book is no different. extremely distracting in this recording, however: a very poorly chosen replacement actress speaking for the character Eva mars the storyline. whereas in book 2, Eva sounded like she was raised speaking Spanish (a contextually consistent choice, she being from Puerto Rico), in book 3 she suddenly and inexplicably has a strangely strong northeastern US accent—and even worse, an obnoxious speech impediment. Eva has a much larger role in this book, to boot, meaning there's no shortage of frustration. i do love this series, and this book is well-written, engrossing like the others. But it's surprisingly difficult to listen to this totally miscasted R-less actress throughout. luckily, the rest of the cast hold up and the continued story remains witty, intriguing and darkly fascinating (despite sometimes feeling depressingly realistic/relevant). i do hope the audio version is re-produced ASAP because i enjoy re-listening to the previous books and wish i could say the same about Only Human.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Yokits! this is horrible narration

just finished chapter 52 and nearly quit the book listening to it. the horrible "alien language translation" in a voice that makes no sense for no reason. I mean Yokits! it's almost as bad as frakking making a fake swear word and saying it all the frakking Yokits time. Cause that's Yokits cool and I Yokits love hearings the word Yokits over and over so I Yokits know I'm on a Yokits other planet. But God Yokits it's annoying.

Eve is now from Jersey just warning you. The Spanish accent is now a hard Jersey accent which apparently she picked up at in the alien planet. Yokits! that's seems Yokits bad.

the story is still ok, not on par with the first two. these narration issues might be skewing my judgement though. aww Yokits

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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

disappointing

first two books in the series were fantastic, this sadly fell short.... yokits :/

change in cast was quite unfortunate, especially since Eva plays a large role in this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointing finale

** 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book but opt for the print version this time

A satisfying conclusion to this great series, though I will say, it was my least favorite of the three books. There is a lot of social commentary and serious issues going on in this final installment (lots to discuss in a book club), but it’s buffered with a lot of humor, which actually makes the book stronger. I particularly appreciated Vincent’s sense of humor, especially when learning how to speak the alien language and when teaching English to them. This is absolutely a continuation of the story arc from the previous two novels and they must be read in order.

I listened to all three books on audio and absolutely adored the full cast productions. I wholeheartedly recommend the first two on audio, but I have to say that I am hesitant to do so with this last one. In fact, I will go so far as to say I actually think I would have enjoyed this book more had I read it in print. And the whole reason for this is one single, solitary reader. Whoever voiced the character of Eva did an absolutely horrible job. I’ve noticed that other reviewers have commented on their dislike of her, as well. I have no idea why the reader decided to use the accent she used (and why the producers allowed it), but it was totally out of character and completely distracting and annoying. One reviewer described it as a Jersey accent and I think they may be right. Eva never lived in New Jersey, New York or anywhere in the northeast, so why she should have such an accent is bewildering. And Eva has a large presence in this book so you have to listen to her voice a lot. It really overshadowed all the other wonderful voice actors, in my opinion. Sadly, I would say save your Audible credit on this one and opt for the print copy instead.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

changing Eva's accent took me out of the story.

big fan of this series. Vincent is one of my favorite characters of all time. I was a huge fan of the nameless man. Mr Burns is awesome.

but making Eva sound like a Puerto Rican who has lived on Long Island her whole life was plan ridiculous. I was waiting for he to talk about "foods that start with the letter q"

aside from that it was a decent way to wrap up a story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Well, this was terrible.

If I read two books out of a trilogy, I'm going to read the third regardless of anything. This final book was brutal. It was boring, long-winded at times, and overall unnecessary. Literally felt as if he didn't know how to end it, so he just went with the first idea he had. Took no chances, there were no twists or any climactic moments. The performances were great EXCEPT Eva's narrator. WHAT IN GODS NAME WAS HER ACCENT SUPPOSED TO BE? She sounded like Long Island street trash. Easily the most painful part of this entire audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Eva...WTF?!

I’m not a picky listener, and honestly have never left a written review. But the reading for Eva sounded like Snooki from Jersey Shore...absolutely terrible.
The story as well was thin. I finished it just because I read the first 2 books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A tragic ending to a good series

3 out of 5 stars

The Story - the story was interesting. Interesting in that it picked up on the planet of origin for Themis. But for me, that was about it. I found the story to be entirely too political, and it weighed down the many possibilities that could have been.

The Planet and Its Inhabitants - what I found most frustrating here was the lack of creativity with the structure of the society. there was nothing giving it an alien feel/vibe. Instead, these were humanoid aliens with a high moral compass, who's knees reversed in the other direction. I could see not much of a difference between the societies. The council and the empress were throwaways for me, serving no purpose.

Of the three books, this was my least favorite. I compare this book in particular to that of the second SATC movie - noncanon. It is of no use to the series. It pits the characters in ways that do not seem linear to their original storylines. Dr. Rose all of a sudden becomes a strategist? No. Eva has become a wild n out teenager who has seemingly lost her accent? No. Vincent has become an overbearing individual who can't seem to have some sense?

The ending was in some way a deus ex machina, and not one that I think should have been added unless there was an intention for there to be a 4th book.

My favorite character was the crazy Russian woman. She was annoyingly sweet at the beginning, which was clearly fake, but a nice new addition.

why 3 stars? Because it was a clear depiction of what humanity would do in the face of uncertainty from a set of variables they literally could not control. The concentration camps? The classifying of alien blood? the cold war-esque tactics to scare other countries? Classic american/world stuff. For that reason, I thought the book was well versed in the stupidity of people when in panic mode.

3 stars though. I expected better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Yokits! Sums it up.

Yokits.... really. That’s Eva’s go to “swear” word.. It’s like the author felt the need to force feed that word to us. Not all negative, I like the content..... the “performances” left a lot to be desired. Changing Eva’s voice in the third book.. HUGE mistake. Eva sounded like Mila Kunis doing a terrible Spanish accent. The alien language feels as weird as Pig-Latin to me. The Eva voice is distracting from the story. Annoyed they couldn’t keep same person for the third book. Was hoping for more out of this one. Enjoyed the series as a whole tho.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful