Only Human (Themis Files Series #3)

Only Human (Themis Files Series #3)

by Sylvain Neuvel

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399180118
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Series: Themis Files Series , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 37,100
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sylvain Neuvel is the author of Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, and Only Human. He is a linguist and translator based in Montreal. He is at work on an R2-D2 replica and his next novel.

Read an Excerpt

PART ONE

WHEN IN ROME

File No. EE955—PERSONAL FILE FROM ESAT EKT

Personal Journal Entry—Dr. Rose Franklin

Be careful what you wish for.

About ten years ago—I was thirty-seven at the time—a giant robot from another planet visited Earth and decimated part of London. We succeeded in destroying it, but thirteen more appeared and dispersed a genetically engineered gaseous weapon in two dozen of our most populous cities. One hundred million people died in the process. Among them, this mysterious man whose name I never learned, who steered our every move ever since I was put in charge of studying that giant hand at the University of Chicago, and Kara Resnik, my best friend, who was also Vincent’s wife, and Eva’s biological mother.

With some help, I found a way to alter the metal these robots were made of at the molecular level and disabled one of them. That was enough to convince the aliens to leave.

I can’t say that I knew that was going to happen, that millions would die because I had discovered Themis and brought attention to our planet, but I was afraid it would. I was afraid ever since I was brought back to life. I felt . . . out of place, and I wished that whoever built Themis would come back and take her away. I also said I hoped they would take me with them.

They did. After the alien robots left Earth, General Eugene Govender, head of the EDC, Vincent, Eva, and I went aboard Themis to celebrate our—I was going to say victory, but that’s not what it was—survival. While we were there, the Council of Akitast—the group of aliens who decide how their world deals with others—had Themis brought back. She dematerialized on Earth and reappeared on Themis’s home planet, with the four of us inside.

They call it Esat Ekt—Home of the Ekt, their people. In some small way, they’re also our people. The Ekt first came to Earth some five thousand years ago—twenty-four of them or so. They were among us for a couple of millennia. They were ordered never to interfere, to stay out of history’s way, but over time, some of them frayed and joined the natives. They had children—half-human, half-alien—who in turn had children—three-quarter human—and so on, until their descendants, undistinguishable from humans, had but a tiny bit of alien genetics left in them. Three thousand years later, there was nothing left to distinguish them from. All of us, every single person on Earth, were related, however remotely, with the handful of aliens who chose love over duty, back when the Titans walked the Earth.

We have been living here on Esat Ekt for nine years now, but we are still very much outsiders. Their entire society is built on the idea that different species shouldn’t interact in ways that can affect them, that each should be left to evolve according to its own set of values. Centuries ago, their kind was nearly decimated by the inhabitants of a planet their emperor had displaced, exiled for personal or political reasons. After that, they replaced their monarchy with a very complex democracy, and took their noninterference policy to a whole new level. To the Ekt, “polluting” an entire species with their genetics means robbing them of the future they should have. They view this as we would genocide. What happened on Earth was a tragedy for them as much as it was for us. They came to exterminate what they thought were a handful of Ekt descendants before they could contaminate all of us. When they realized they were too late, they had already killed millions. We are living reminders of what they consider a stain on their history, like the Holocaust Memorial, or a monument to the victims of slavery.

They will not be reminded anymore. One way or another, our time here ends tonight. We’re going home.

File No. EE961—PERSONAL FILE FROM ESAT EKT

Mission log—Vincent Couture and Rose Franklin

Location: Aboard Themis

[Dad, don’t do this!]

—It’s too late for that. Don’t come any closer, Eva. I don’t want to hurt him. Rose, can you hold her?

—Hold her? No, I don’t think I can hold her. Come here, Eva. Let’s not make this any harder than it already is. You don’t want anyone to get shot by accident. We’ll send him back, Eva. I promise. No one else has to get hurt.

[What do you mean, no one else? What happened? What’d you do, Dad?]

—Ekim, eyyots ant ipyosk insot. Ekim! Eyekant!

[Ekim, don’t do it. You know he’s bluffing. He won’t hurt you. Eyekant ops!]

You’re right, Eva. I don’t wanna hurt him, so don’t force me to.

{It’s OK, Eva. Eyekant aktept eps.}

[No! Don’t do it for me! I’ll stay! I’ll stay here with you.]

—You can’t stay, Eva. Not anymore. You don’t know what we . . . never mind. There’s no time for this. Ekim, you’re all strapped in? Here. Hold the gun, Rose. I need a minute to get into my harness, and we’re gone.

—They’re coming, Vincent, we need to go now.

—Dammit! I can’t get my arms through.

—You can do it. Just relax.

—I’m not sure I can. I’ve never piloted the upper body. Last time I saw someone put this on, Eva was like ten, I . . . 

—Can’t you switch places with Ekim? He can guide you through the commands on the console.

—He said it’s complicated. He had me at “orbital defense system.” I don’t think I—Got it! But I’ll never be able to close the front. Let me put the helmet on, see if it works without the braces closed.

—Any minute now . . . We have to GO!

—Yes! She’s powering up. Go! Go! Ekim, punch it in. Eyyots!

—How long until . . . 

—Whoa.

—What? Vincent, where are we?

—I don’t know. I think we’re . . . It’s nighttime. Trees all around us. Ekim, is this Earth? Akt eyet Eteyat?

{Ops eyoktiptet.}

—What did he say?

—Euh . . . It’s an expression. Beats me. Something like that.

—Look at the stars.

—What?

—Look at the stars. Do you recognize anything?

—I don’t see anything familiar . . . Yes! That’s . . . la grande ourse. I don’t know the constellation names. The big bear?

—The Great Bear. Ursa Major.

—Yeah, that. We’re here, Rose. This is Earth.

—Wow. I can’t believe we made it. Eva, say something.

[Dad, what did you do?]

—Not now, Eva.

[Tell me what you did!]

I said not now. It won’t be long before someone notices us. Let’s lay Themis down so we can get out.

[Just tell me?]

Eva, what do you think they’ll do to Ekim if they find him here? He needs to get back. Ekim, eyost yeskust ak eyyots esat.

{Eyekant ets ops. Ethemis eyet onsoks.}

—What did he say? Empty Themis?

—He said Themis is empty. Drained. She used up all her energy to get here. There’s enough left to power the helmets but I can’t move the arms anymore.

—How long do we have to wait, Vincent?

[Dad, I’ll kill you if anything happens to him.]

—Easy, Eva. When you and I drained her in New York, it took only a few minutes before she was able to move again. Looks like we’re in the middle of nowhere. With any luck, no one’s spotted us and we can get out before the sun comes up. Heck, it might take days before we’re found. Just like last time.

[Last time we almost died.]

Then not like last time. Look, there’s nothing I can do. If I knew how to speed this up, believe me I would.

—Go talk to Ekim, Eva. You have some time. You should talk to him. You might not see him again after he’s gone.

[I hate you, Dad. I really hate you.]

—I know.

—She’ll get over it, Vincent. Just give her time.

—I don’t know, Rose. What we did, it’s . . . Anyway, she’s home, that’s all that matters. Now we just need to get Ekim home safe.

—He could stay here.

—No, he couldn’t. They’d put him in a cage, stick needles in him all day. A hundred million of us died the last time his people were on Earth. It’s been a while, but I don’t think folks here would’ve forgotten.

—What will happen to him when he gets back home?

—Well, he’ll tell them we kidnapped him—we did. Hopefully, they’ll end it at that.

—Do you think they’ll believe him?

—I don’t know, Rose. What would you have me do? Write him a note?

—He looks scared.

—He’s a kid! He’s millions of miles away from home, and he may have just committed treason. I’d be scared too.

—You put a gun to his head.

—Like I said, I’d be scared too.

—We just traveled millions of miles ourselves, you know.

—Weird, isn’t it? We’ve waited all this time, then, boom. We’re here.

—Our . . . friend once told me it took ten days to get from there to here. It just feels instantaneous. I’m not sure how they’d know.

—Know what, Rose?

—How long it takes to get from there to here.

—They’d probably check the date?

—How? We can get the date here, but what we’d need to know is the date over there, now. How do you get that? You go back, divide by two?

—I have no idea. I . . . 

—You did what you had to do, Vincent.

—Did I? Did I have to do this?

—Don’t go there, Vincent. Don’t.

—What’s worse is I don’t feel nearly as bad as I think I should. Shit.

—What?

—Can’t be. Not that soon.

—What’s happening?

—Lights. There are a bunch of vehicles coming our way. Trucks, maybe. Ekim, eket eyyots apt aks.

[Who’s coming, Dad?]

I don’t know, but they seem to be in a hurry to get here.

[Yokits! Now what? We can’t do anything!]

Well, if it’s just trucks, neither can they. We’re fifteen floors high.

[They can bring a crane.]

It takes days to put together a crane this high. A crane isn’t what I’m worried about.

[What then?]

They might just be locals in some pickup trucks. If they are, we’re still good. We can just transport Themis when she’s charged and disembark somewhere else.

[And if they’re not?]

Well, if they’re military, they won’t just bring trucks. They’ll come with . . . 

[With what?]

That.

[What?! We can’t see, remember?]

A helicopter.

—Is it military?

—It’s big, Rose. It’s not a TV helicopter. Nothing you fly tourists in either.

—What’s it doing?

—It’s coming . . . Hovering above us now . . . Side door is opening. Shit. Shit. Shit.

—They’re coming in?

—Two guys on ropes.

—Vincent, who are they?

—I don’t know, but they have guns. One’s at the hatch.

—They might be happy to see us.

—They might be ecstatic. Eva, you should stand in front of Ekim, just in case they’re not. Whoever this is, he’s in the shaft between the hatches.

—The inner hatch is opening.



Vincent, what did he say?

—I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure he said it in Russian.

File No. 2106

Interview between Major Katherine Lebedev, Russian Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), and Dr. Rose Franklin, Ph.D.

Location: GRU building, Saint Petersburg, Russia

—Good morning, Dr. Franklin. I trust you had a good night’s sleep. I’m sure you did. We have really good drugs . . . Don’t tell anyone, but I take some from time to time when I need the rest. I never thought I’d get to do this, but on behalf of the Russian Federation, and the entire planet, I suppose, welcome back! And welcome to Russia!

—We’re in Russia?

—Yeah! You are! Sit down, Dr. Franklin. You’re making me nervous.

—I’m sorry. I am a bit nervous. I don’t know what I’m doing here.

—Oh, you have every right to be nervous, Dr. Franklin. I said you were making me nervous. I’m supposed to look superconfident. That’s hard to do if I’m fidgeting in my seat. But this is so exciting! Please sit!

—I don’t suppose you’ll tell me who you are, or where I am.

—Who I am? Doesn’t it say on . . . Where is it? There’s a little plaque with my name on it . . . Oh, here it is. I’m Katherine Lebedev.

—You don’t sound Russian.

—I hope not. I spent most of my life in New Hampshire. I went to Brown. Law school.

—You were a spy.

—I wa . . . No! I was a kid. I was born there. I played with dolls. My parents were spies. I didn’t find out about any of it until it was time to leave. I moved back here eleven years ago, and here we are! I was saying something. Oh yes. I’m Katherine Lebedev. I’m a major in the GRU.

— . . . 

—You don’t know what that is, do you? The Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Mouthful, I know.

—It sounds like the KGB.

—The KGB—it’s called the SVR nowadays, by the way—is for kids. Don’t tell them I said that. We’re ten times bigger than the SVR. OK, maybe not ten times, but we’re it. This is where the fun is. We have six times the numbers of agents, spy satellites, James Bond stuff. What else did you wanna know? Oh yes, you’re in—we’re in Saint Petersburg. Government office. Big grey building.

—Are you the head of this . . . GRU?

—Me? I wish. No, I’m a lowly major. I run a small—tiny, really—division focused on alien tech. We don’t have any, so, like I said, it’s small. Which is why you’ll understand how happy I was, how happy we all were, when you landed in Estonia. Only a few hours away, really. What are the odds?

—Estonia? You said we were in Russia?

—Right! You don’t know! I’m sorry. Where are my manners? You have a lot of catching up to do. What do you wanna know? Ask away.

—How long were we gone?

—Nine years, three months, six days—ninety-seven days—nine years and ninety-seven days. I’m sorry, I don’t know the scientific way . . . 

—Nine years? We thought it was less than that.

—Oh! Our scientists talked about that. Something about time dilation when traveling at near-light speed. I don’t understand any of it, but they said you might come back a thousand years old. No, that can’t be. A thousand years would have passed here. Can you tell I’m not a scientist? So how long did you think you were gone for? A few seconds?

—Eight years, seven months, maybe eight.

—Oh . . . Wait? You don’t know exactly?

—We . . . Do you know where we were?

—I’m waiting for you to tell me, but everyone assumed you went to the planet where those robots are from.

—Right. It’s called . . . 

—What? It’s called what? Oh, you don’t know if you should tell me . . . It’s really up to you. No, it’s not really up to you, but you know what I mean. It’s not like we’ll torture you on your first day. I’m kidding! GRU humor . . . I know. How about this? Do you think telling me the name of the place will forever upset the balance of power? Besides, you worked for the United Nations when you left. We’re in there. It’s your world!

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Only Human 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
jmchshannon More than 1 year ago
It would be too easy to discount the Themis Files series as nothing more than a fantastic story about alien giant robots and how humankind handles the knowledge of their existence. Yet, you would be wrong. While it is about the alien giant robots and human's reaction to them, it is so much more than that. (If you need a hint, just look at the final book's title.) As a finale, Only Human sums up the overarching themes and provides excellent closure to this story that is much more than it seems. One of the things I continue to love about this series is the format. I am a fan of the epistolary format if only because it is different and more personal. However, Mr. Neuvel continues to take it one step further with his use of transcripts, official reports, journal entries, and other third-party "sources." I find it a fascinating method of telling a story as well as one I imagine that is quite difficult to write. After all, he has to go beyond telling a story. He has to structure the story in the context of something else. Each reporting method has to read differently with a different target audience while remaining true to the actual story. To me, he is very successful in this endeavor, and it remains one of my favorite aspects of the series. If the first novel was about human greed and the second novel about human violence, the finale is exactly what it says it is - a study in what it means to be human. We see this from those on Earth struggling for power in the world left after the loss of hundreds of millions of people and the disappearance of the giant robots from outer space. We especially see this in Rose and others' experiences on the alien planet and their reactions once back on Earth. Being human has always been difficult to define, but when adding the knowledge of and interaction with an alien species, this takes on a whole new meaning. I realize that all this makes it sound as if Only Human is much more introspective than its predecessors. It is and it is not. Yes, there is plenty of soul searching as Rose and others struggle to figure out what to do, both on the planet and on Earth. However, there is plenty of the same action that makes the previous two novels so enjoyable. After all, Mr. Neuvel means for the series to be fun and action-packed, so there is plenty of robot-on-robot fighting that is still as entertaining as it was the first time we experienced it. The Themis Files series remains as impressive in this last book as it was in the first book. Moreover, it keeps its originality to the end. Plus, it never pretends to be something it is not. It pokes fun at its genre while proving to be an excellent example of its genre. I am sad to end my time with the giant robots but cannot wait to see what Mr. Neuvel will do in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Has a different feel than the first two byt is every bit as good.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
The Themis Files is one of my favorite science fiction series. I love the storytelling style, the characters, and the plot (so pretty much everything). Needless to say, I had incredibly high expectations going into Only Human. While it took me a lot longer to get into this story at first, the last third of the book was incredible. There’s a lot of very timely social commentary in this one, which, although sometimes difficult to read, was worth reading. The exploration of what it means to be human definitely left me thinking. There was a big time jump between Waking Gods and Only Human, which took me a bit by surprise. However, I loved that the jump allowed Only Human to explore the relationship between Vincent and Eva. In some ways, this was Eva’s coming of age story. As always, Rose was my favorite character. I did miss some of the characters from previous books who didn’t make appearances in this one. There was one new character who felt a bit off, she wasn’t quite as nuanced or developed as the other characters. But, as with the other books, the characters were the focus and the heart of this fantastic story. I still adore the unorthodox storytelling style, it really helped me connect with the story and the characters. The timeline was a bit harder to grasp at first in this one but once I got used to the switches between time periods, it got a lot easier. Part of what I adore about this series is that, even though they ultimately come together to create a cohesive story, each book is entirely unique. Only Human was more focused on social issues. In particular, Sylvain deconstructs the “us vs. them” mentality. The commentary was timely and, at times, a bit painful to read because of how well Sylvain draws parallels between our situation and the situation in the book. Only Human was a brilliant end to wrap up an amazing series. I’m already looking forward to rereading this one in a few years. I think any speculative fiction or science fiction fans will love this series. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
The Themis Files is one of my favorite science fiction series. I love the storytelling style, the characters, and the plot (so pretty much everything). Needless to say, I had incredibly high expectations going into Only Human. While it took me a lot longer to get into this story at first, the last third of the book was incredible. There’s a lot of very timely social commentary in this one, which, although sometimes difficult to read, was worth reading. The exploration of what it means to be human definitely left me thinking. There was a big time jump between Waking Gods and Only Human, which took me a bit by surprise. However, I loved that the jump allowed Only Human to explore the relationship between Vincent and Eva. In some ways, this was Eva’s coming of age story. As always, Rose was my favorite character. I did miss some of the characters from previous books who didn’t make appearances in this one. There was one new character who felt a bit off, she wasn’t quite as nuanced or developed as the other characters. But, as with the other books, the characters were the focus and the heart of this fantastic story. I still adore the unorthodox storytelling style, it really helped me connect with the story and the characters. The timeline was a bit harder to grasp at first in this one but once I got used to the switches between time periods, it got a lot easier. Part of what I adore about this series is that, even though they ultimately come together to create a cohesive story, each book is entirely unique. Only Human was more focused on social issues. In particular, Sylvain deconstructs the “us vs. them” mentality. The commentary was timely and, at times, a bit painful to read because of how well Sylvain draws parallels between our situation and the situation in the book. Only Human was a brilliant end to wrap up an amazing series. I’m already looking forward to rereading this one in a few years. I think any speculative fiction or science fiction fans will love this series. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
dmetcalf29 More than 1 year ago
Great conclusion to a terrific Sci-fi series! Only Human is the third and final installment in the Themis Files Series. Once again, it follows Dr. Rose Franklin, Vincent and Eva. *There may be some spoilers for the first two books in the series.* This book definitely surprised me in a good way. I really didn’t have any idea how everything was going to wrap up. We knew at the end of Waking Gods, that Themis was forced back to her planet and that the main characters were aboard. When the book begins we learn that they spent 10 years on the planet Esat Esk before escaping back to Earth. So the book goes back and forth detailing their time on the other planet and what is happening in present time on Earth. Rose, Vincent and Eva learn that that the world is now in chaos and there is deep mistrust among countries. This is all a result of what happened in the first two books where we also learn that all humans have a percentage of alien DNA. At the opening of the third book, the government is now arresting and killing those with high percentages. On another note, with the return of Themis, the Russian government now has a way to combat the U.S. who we learn has been taking over countries by using their own robot who they found called Lepetus. I really enjoyed this conclusion. There wasn’t as much action as the first two books but it was still amazing. I really loved the details of Esat Esk. The author did a phenomenal job describing this other planet, especially the politics and the culture. I loved seeing the characters interactions with the aliens. If you liked the first two books, this third one will not disappoint.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is the recommended third book in the Themis series. This is not a stand-alone novel and the three book series has to be read in the order they are written. Since this is the last book in the series, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. Basically a giant robot was found buried in pieces around the Earth. It is put together and we are trying to master the technology, when more fully operational robots are sent to Earth and begin attacking. The attack is stopped, but all the robots, including Themis, the robot that was put together here, disappear from Earth. The human crew inside Themis, Dr. Rose Franklin, linguist Vincent Couture, his 10-year-old daughter Eve Reyes, and Gen. Eugene Govender, are stranded on the robots home planet, Esat Ekt. After being stranded on Esat Ekt for nine years, they return back to Earth, but the geo-political climate has changed. The group lands in Russia, become prisoners, and discover that America and Russia are battling for the supreme control of the planet. Those in charge seem to be suffering from some kind of collective insanity and rule by violence and fear, including vast numbers of people sent to work camps and internment camps. As in the previous two books, the story unfolds using interviews, diary entries, mission logs, and covert recordings. The narrative jumps back and forth between the time spent on Esat Ekt and after the group returns to Earth. Most of the main characters were already fully fleshed out in the first two books and are further developed here, while new characters are a bit lacking in development. Russian intelligence officer Katherine Lebedev comes across as an unrealistic cartoonish caricature especially with the "jokey" dialogue she takes part in. There isn't a lot of in-depth worldbuilding on Esat Ekt, and what is presented doesn't seem alien. The political climate on Earth is examined, but Taken as a whole I'd give the series 4 stars, but, for me, this was a weak ending. I'm not entirely thrilled with Neuval's choice to make the plot so political. I get it; the current polarized political climate is disturbing. For me, however, all this did was make the presentation a bit too preachy in this final installment of the series and I didn't get as much of the science fiction, and robots, I craved. Additionally, I can't help it, but I missed the unnamed narrator from the first two books. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Random House Publishing Group.
Karen_Benson More than 1 year ago
Ohmygosh... The FEELS at the end! Neuvel rocked it once again with his series finale to the Themis Files. In Only Human, Vincent, his daughter Eva, Dr. Rose Franklin, and the General had been whisked off to the aliens' planet of Esat Ekt as the 4 were celebrating their victory while inside Themis. 10 years have passed and our crew finally manage to make their way back to Earth with Themis. Once again, the story is told in interviews, personal logs, and transcriptions and this time bounces between being back on Earth and those years spent on Esat Ekt. And once again, I was glued to my ereader throughout! I did miss Kara and the nameless interviewer throughout this entire book. Russian Katherine just didn't appeal to me at all. If she was meant to take the nameless interviewer's place, it didn't work for me. I still enjoyed the heck out of everyone else though! Although there wasn't as much action as the first 2 books, I still thought it was an amazing ending to the series. My favorite of the series will always be Waking Gods! *Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey Publishing for the advanced copy!*
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
This was so good! The whole trilogy is really amazing. I actually remember reading the first book in the trilogy, Sleeping Giants, and thinking that it was just okay. Everything changed when I decided to try the audiobook for the story. I was really able to appreciate the story much more with the help of the narrators. When I picked up the second book, Waking Gods, I was worried that I wouldn't be as impressed by the book in print after my experience with this previous book but I liked that book right from the start. The same can be said for this book. I thought that Waking Gods ended with just a bit of a cliffhanger and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to these characters. This was one of my most anticipated reads for the year and I was not disappointed. This review will contain spoilers for the previous two books in the trilogy. I went into this book expecting it to pick up right where the last book ended and it did to a point. The first part of the book goes back and forth between a time 9 years after the previous book and various points during those 9 years. I had so many questions about what had happened to everyone during those 9 years and I am glad that we got to see some of the more important events. We do learn more from the characters as they are being interviewed about their lives during those lost years as well. So Vincent, Eva, and Rose have spent a significant amount of time living on an alien planet. You would think that they would have changed a lot during those years. They did experience some changes but the most dramatic changes happened here on Earth. Our planet has not done well during those years. Things are bad. Countries are power hungry and using the robots to intimidate other nations while their people are being treated poorly. I loved the characters in this book. I really feel like I have got the chance to really know Rose and Vincent during the course of the trilogy. Eva is much older and I liked her character more in this book. Many of the key players from previous books show up in this installment as well. I was always thrilled to get to see these familiar characters play a part in the story even when they were a character that I loved to hate. There were a couple of new characters that seemed to fit into the story quite flawlessly as well. This story was just as exciting as I had anticipated. How could a book about giant alien robots be anything but exciting? Anyway, this book had all of the action scenes that I had hoped to see. There were quite a few surprises along the way and I found myself turning pages as fast as I could just to see what would happen next. I was somewhat surprised by how things worked out in this one and it really was a good surprise. I was very satisfied by how everything ended. I would highly recommend this series to others. This is an exciting and highly imaginative trilogy that has been a whole lot of fun. I do plan to purchase a copy of the audiobook of this one for a re-read in the near future. I can't wait to see what Sylvain Neuvel comes up with next! I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley.
SKhani More than 1 year ago
It’s always bittersweet to see a series I’ve loved come to an end. On the one hand, I’m getting answers and conclusions. Things are wrapping up. Characters are getting on with their lives. But I’ve been in love with the Themis Files series since page one of Sleeping Giants when it came out a few years ago. It’s hard to let go. Like the two before it, Only Human is told through transcripts of audio/video diaries, conversations and pilot logs. I think, outside of the plot itself, this method of delivery makes this series even more addictive and readable. I kept finding myself thinking “ok, just one more quick chapter before I stop for a bit.” The chapters are short and punchy and keep you pulled into the story. I’m not going to lie… I missed Kara and the Interviewer. I know their deaths were necessary in Waking Gods, but I couldn’t help but miss their characters. Kara was one badass chick. Rose and Eva are great and are very strong characters, but I just loved Kara and her attitude. The Interviewer had a great, dry sense of humor (not to mention mystery) that I thought added another layer of awesome to the previous installments. Often in series, I feel cheated at the end. I feel like I’ve invested so much time and emotion into books and characters, only for things to wrap up unrealistically in the final book. Thankfully, the last book in the Themis Files didn’t disappoint. Only Human fit well with its predecessors. It didn’t come off as rushed or too easily wrapped up. I didn’t feel like Neuvel was trying to write an ending to please anyone but the characters. I was a bit thrown by the start of the book, with several main characters being transported to an alien planet. It was weird and unexpected, but oh-so-perfect once you get used to the idea. Once back on Earth, friendships are tested and right and wrong are no longer clear cut in a world that has changed beyond recognition. I couldn’t help but draw parallels from current political situations we’re in now, which I’m sure was Neuvel’s intent. Book one had me hooked. Book two broke my heart. And Only Human, book three, was the perfect ending to an amazing trilogy.
MarziesReads More than 1 year ago
In the conclusion of Sylvain Neuvel's action-packed Themis Files trilogy we jump forward in time, almost ten years after the conclusion of Waking Gods, when Dr. Rose Franklin, Vincent Couture, his daughter Eva, and General Eugene Govender were abruptly whisked away on Themis, while celebrating aboard Themis, after seemingly stopping the alien annihilation of the citizens of earth who possessed alien blood. The book opens with a prologue shock. Two American pilots are controlling an abandoned giant, named Lapetus and they are using it to take control of Libya. This, as it turns out, has been status quo. America now controls North America and various other locations around the world. As we will later see, some other countries have gone the land-grab route, too. In Chapter 1, Rose, Vincent, and Eva are returning to earth from the alien planet Esat Ekt (the Home of the Ekt) with the aid of a young alien named Ekim. As we will later find out, in order to return his daughter to earth, Vincent has made terrible moral decisions. And as a result, Eva is not happy. Cutting rapidly back and forth between their logs of life on Esat Ekt and dealing with the seeming mindboggling bureaucracy of the Ekt people, over the course of the book, although we seem to learn relatively little about the Ekt in a snazzy "let's show aliens!" kind of way, we learn a lot about their way of life and their tendencies, just like their earth relatives, toward discrimination and prejudice. In a seeming democracy, which Rose doesn't initially assess as clearly as Vincent and Eva, some people on Esat Ekt are disenfranchised due to lack of racial purity. It sounds all too familiar... But in spite of this, when Rose, Eva, and Vincent return to earth they are taken aback to find that a decade has wrought horrible changes on our planet. As Rose says, people are being "willfully stupid," ignoring scientific findings for the sake of comfort when marginalizing and doing active harm to a fraction of the population deemed unfit. "Our entire race is trying to lobotomize itself." These perceptions of Earth come deep in the book, and are discussed with a character that I had wrongly assumed died in Waking Gods but who, it turns out, survived, has been interred, and is then saved by none other than the dreadful Alyssa Papantoniou. Yes, I used the word interred. Earth has become a very frightened and frightening place after the alien attack. And as a result, your perceptions of someone like Alyssa may change, as well. The battle that at the core of Only Human deals with the battle to (re?)gain some sense of an evolved human zeitgeist. While there are things I can quibble with in this book, such as the sketchy business of how Ekim is handled as a character, and the Ekt ultimate solution, which is little better than what's been going on, this is still, an interesting conclusion to the Themis trilogy.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
Sleeping Giants, the first book in this series, is still my favorite, but Only Human is a close second. This is a dual timeline novel - events that occurred during the nine years spent on an alien planet, and what happens after returning to Earth. Vincent, with his snark and intelligence, is undoubtedly my favorite character and he has some incredible moments in this book. His struggles to protect his daughter while also giving her space to become her own person are both heartwarming and humorous. Although as strong, determined, and principled as her mother, to me, Eva's rants seemed more along the lines of a spoiled brat teenager to the point that it was somewhat distracting. The world-building on the alien planet isn't explored in depth. It's interesting and somewhat similar to Earth, but what I enjoyed most is that it's also flawed. Their world is just as imperfect as ours, many of their struggles the same. With its action-packed robot fights to its social commentary, this series has been an epic and thought-provoking ride from beginning to end and one I highly recommend to sci-fi fans. Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome!