Only Human

Only Human

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protecte...

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Title:Only Human
Author:Sylvain Neuvel
Rating:

Only Human Reviews

  • Shreya (☆High Lady of The Night Court☆)

    Normally, I wouldn't be writing this review because most of the things I have to say about the series are usually covered in my first review, but right now I'm feeling so much emotion the only two options are to either scream for the better part of an hour or write this review, so here we are.

    The only other explanation for writing the review for this book is

    Normally, I wouldn't be writing this review because most of the things I have to say about the series are usually covered in my first review, but right now I'm feeling so much emotion the only two options are to either scream for the better part of an hour or write this review, so here we are.

    The only other explanation for writing the review for this book is that it’s… beautiful. It's ironic, really, because when I first saw that this series was written in interviews and diaries I thought that I would avoid all the heartbreak that comes along with saying goodbye to these characters because I probably wouldn’t get attached to them, now I realise that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everything happened fast, I practically flew through this book, but now that it’s over I wish I’d read it slower to cherish every moment with these people in this wonderful story. But there is no way I will ever forget everything I’ve just finished reading.

    This story, these characters and the enchanting writing that comes along with them will stay with me forever. And to the people who have yet to read this book or series, I highly recommend it and just beware of the last file of this book before the epilogue because you need to be emotionally prepared for that one. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once, and I think that is the most deadly combination there is.

    Over the span of these three books, we go from putting together a sleeping giant to starting an internal war to a whole other alien planet, and the whole thing blend together seamlessly. The personality of each character carries through to every file and it will leave you breathless. These characters are perfect for this story and this story couldn’t have been narrated any better. The plot was mysterious and alluring while the overall story remained steady and emotional. The writing brought out the best in the story and it clearly accentuates every single moment which is amazing. The time skips, however short, will keep you at the edge of your seat because the anticipation of what will happen is constantly eating at you.

    The story is woven very intricately, not in the sense that there were a million plot twists, but that each incident and each characters’ perspectives were placed together so perfectly at the right time. I love the fact that the author took the time to add so many details to the book even though the book would still be great even without them, but those extra details are the cherry on top of a very intriguing cake.

    The characters were each amazing in their own unique way. Rose, Vincent, Eva, Kara, Mr.Burns, the Interviewer are characters that will always have a place in my heart. I say ‘are’ because to me these characters will live on forever. I love this series beyond words and it has earned its spot on my favorites list. All three of these books get 5 stars from me and I highly recommend them.

  • Emily May

    4 1/2 stars.

    . I think

    will forever be my favourite, but there's many great things I can say about this final installment.

    While I felt the action was slightly toned down here (though still plenty of thrills),

    makes up for it with its t

    4 1/2 stars.

    . I think

    will forever be my favourite, but there's many great things I can say about this final installment.

    While I felt the action was slightly toned down here (though still plenty of thrills),

    makes up for it with its timely social commentary. Picking up nine years after the events of the previous book, we learn of the impact the giant alien robots have had on the world. Fear, paranoia and wilful ignorance rule our planet as anyone who is considered "different" is placed into work camps, or murdered.

    The interview transcripts and diary entries lead the story once again. Along with some thrilling action and fascinating science, this keeps the book zipping along at a breakneck pace. I was turning the pages like crazy, my eyes darting from one paragraph to the next in my desperate need to discover how it all ends.

    is packed full of goods. It's fast-paced action, thematically dark and sad, but with plenty of darkly comic parts and lots of Vincent being a lovable goofball. Race and racism are explored, as is Islamophobia. I also really enjoyed the discussions on patriotism and nationalism, especially how “love” for one’s country is challenged.

    Neuvel ponders.

    The novel's weakest point was, for me, Katherine Lebedev. She feels like a caricature - a strange, campy individual who is overly theatrical and unbelievable. While many of Neuvel's characters seem to have somewhat jaunty voices, Katherine felt too much. It was hard to convince myself she could be a real person.

    But my complaints are minor.

    was an extremely enjoyable reading experience and a near-perfect conclusion to one of my favourite series of recent years.

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  • Petrik

    The Themis Files trilogy began with Rose Franklin finding an arm of a giant robot, since then, the first and second book has been pretty focused on the mystery surrounding this robot. Neuvel took a different direction in Only Human and like the title said, this is a book that’s centered around the source of almost every problem in the world, humanity.

    The Themis Files trilogy began with Rose Franklin finding an arm of a giant robot, since then, the first and second book has been pretty focused on the mystery surrounding this robot. Neuvel took a different direction in Only Human and like the title said, this is a book that’s centered around the source of almost every problem in the world, humanity.

    The story was told in two periods of time, juggling between the present timeline which is nine years after the events in the Waking Gods, while the other timeline is there to fill in the time gap. Neuvel concluded his trilogy by using these two timelines wonderfully in this short book. Although I didn’t expect the storytelling to go with this direction, I really can’t imagine a more satisfying conclusion for this trilogy. Dealing with a lot of racial and religious issues, this is a book that will make you really think, and yet at the same time, Neuvel never forget to put hope for the future and familial love in this small book.

    There are tons of great lines like this in this book, reading this conclusion will definitely make you contemplate the situation of our world. There were an incredible amount of things talked about that I thought was very relatable and applicable to our society. For the past couple of days, Surabaya (a city in Indonesia) has been terrorized by suicide bombing (done by a family, how sick is that? No, I’m not joking, the suicide bombers was one family from their parents to their descendants) in churches, thinking they’re going to heaven by injuring and killing kids or adults who only wanted to pray; I found this next line to be very relatable to this situation.

    Plus, the character’s personalities and developments were spectacular here. Contrary to my experience with the previous books, the epistolary format here really helps in giving realistic and distinctive voice to every character.

    Unlike the previous two books, there aren’t a lot of giant robots fighting here, there is only one action sequence in this book and honestly, I’m happy with that. Why? The reason for this is that I thought of the actions in this trilogy to not reach its maximum potential. The only minor issue I have in this trilogy that’s still true here is because there weren’t a lot of vivid images formed in my head during my time of reading due to the epistolary format. For me, although this format offers a compelling dialogue and addictive storytelling, it sacrificed vivid images and action sequences because everything was told strictly through dialogues, files, and interviews. This is still slightly evident here but this is just a minor issue though, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this book that much.

    Only Human ended up being an incredibly satisfying conclusion, it’s definitely my favorite out of the trilogy. This trilogy also doesn't belong in the hard sci-fi genre and I don’t think anyone will have any difficulty diving into this series. I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone who’s looking for a great sci-fi trilogy that keeps on getting better with each installment, eventually leading to a captivating and satisfying ending. I definitely will be waiting for Neuvel’s next book and see where he goes from here.

    Sleeping Giants:

    Waking Gods:

    Only Human:

    Themis Files trilogy:

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars. The giant robots are back!! On sale today, May 1, 2018. Review first posted on

    :

    wraps up Sylvain Neuvel’s excellent THEMIS FILES science fiction trilogy with some surprising plot turns. *Expect some spoilers for the first two books,

    and

    *

    At the end of

    , the robot called Themis was suddenly transported back home to her original planet by remote command of her alien makers, accidentally carrying along four people who hap

    4.5 stars. The giant robots are back!! On sale today, May 1, 2018. Review first posted on

    :

    wraps up Sylvain Neuvel’s excellent THEMIS FILES science fiction trilogy with some surprising plot turns. *Expect some spoilers for the first two books,

    and

    *

    At the end of

    , the robot called Themis was suddenly transported back home to her original planet by remote command of her alien makers, accidentally carrying along four people who happened to be inside of her: Vincent Couture, the only human capable of piloting Themis; his 10 year old daughter Eva; Dr. Rose Franklin, the brilliant and compassionate scientist who first discovered the immense, buried hand of Themis as a child; and General Eugene Govender, commander of the newly formed Earth Defense Corps. After nine years on the planet Esat Ekt, Vincent, Eva and Rose, together with one of the natives of Esat Ekt, commandeer Themis and travel back to Earth.

    They land in Estonia, where the Russian government (which controls Estonia again) is delighted to take possession of both the robot and them personally. In

    , Rose had disabled another of the giant robots that the aliens had sent to Earth, and it turns out that the U.S.A. has been ruthlessly using this other robot, called Lapetus, to take control of many other countries around the globe. (How the U.S. was able to solve the tricky robot piloting issue is disclosed later in the book.) Vincent, a Canadian, is not happy to learn that Canada is now subject to U.S. control. The Russians intend to use Themis, Vincent, Eva and Rose to combat the U.S. and Lapetus. It’s an understandable strategy, though their methodology for convincing their "guests" to go along with the plan ― personified by the veiled threats of Katherine Lebedev, a major in Russia’s intelligence agency who is assigned as the prisoners’ handler ― is decidedly unpleasant.

    Meanwhile, in a panicked overreaction to the events that occurred in

    , most countries around the globe have created internment camps for people whose genetic makeup includes more than a certain percentage of alien DNA … and even executing those with the highest levels. Our world is devolving into chaos and governmental oppression, with rampant mistrust. It’s not a happy or peaceful world to which Rose, Vincent and Eva have returned.

    Neuvel includes a good amount of political and social commentary in

    . It occasionally gets a little clunky, but there are some incisive if rather pessimistic insights into human nature and our behavior when stressed … and the massive alien-caused deaths in

    have led to unprecedented levels of worldwide fear and uncertainty.

    is a dual timeline novel: the current timeline describes what occurs after Rose, Vincent and Eva return to Earth, interspersed with flashback chapters that follow their lives during their nine years on Esat Ekt. I was delighted to see Sylvain Neuvel take on the challenge of creating an alien culture but, partly because Neuvel is still following the same file-based narrative structure as the first two books, we only get a limited look at the aliens’ world and its people. It’s mostly seen indirectly, through the discussions and journals of the four humans who are involuntarily being held there. The aliens’ world of Esat Ekt is, in many ways, a familiar one despite their vast technological superiority and unswerving dedication to non-interference with other cultures. But like humans, they also have political conspiring, large portions of the population who are dispossessed because of their race … and even soup kitchens. I would have liked to have sensed more alien-ness in their society, but it was interesting to compare and contrast the flaws in their world with those in ours.

    Katherine Lebedev, the military officer in charge of Rose, Vincent and Eva during their time in Russia, is a quirky combination of threats and faux-friendly chirpiness who never quite feels real. As a handler, she was a distinctly unsatisfactory replacement for the nameless handler who was such an impressively dominant force in

    . However, the relationship between Vincent and his now nineteen year old daughter Eva makes up for this with its painful realism. Neuvel delves into the chaotic web of love, misunderstanding, anger and concern that can make up a relationship between parents and children … especially rebellious teenagers.

    is an enjoyable, thoughtfully written conclusion to the THEMIS FILES trilogy. It’s one of my favorite recent science fiction series, deftly combining hard science with interesting characters and social commentary, not to mention the excitement of giant robot deathmatches. Overall I give it an enthusiastic recommendation!

    I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you!!

    THERE'S A DESCRIPTION AND A COVER! *flails* How soon can I get my hands on this??

    ETA: The answer is: NOW. I have a copy from NetGalley in my hands now! *sweeps other books off the table*

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This one wasn’t quite as thrilling or action packed as the first two books in the series, but I still loved it so much. If y’all like SciFi and haven’t read this series yet, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?????

  • Ahmed  Ejaz

    FINALLY! I've finished this book. It took me more than a month. It was just my busy routine those days. Now I'm free. So..

    little bit more high. Like a ton of action scenes! But there were a handfull of those. This was my biggest disappointment. Anyway, we have to make peace with it.

    So the plot goes like this:-

    Themis, a robo-gaint, is called back to her home planet,

    FINALLY! I've finished this book. It took me more than a month. It was just my busy routine those days. Now I'm free. So..

    little bit more high. Like a ton of action scenes! But there were a handfull of those. This was my biggest disappointment. Anyway, we have to make peace with it.

    So the plot goes like this:-

    Themis, a robo-gaint, is called back to her home planet,

    , while having four main characters inside. They get to see the home planet of aliens.

    They live there for nine years while on Earth U.S. is trying to conquer the whole world with another robo-gaint, Lepatus.

    => Dr. Rose pointed out the most important thing here. If we, humans, have powerful weapons, we try to conquer each other. We want to rule over the people. So I think she did the best thing

    => The aliens have their own language which I think is complicated but good.

    => Eva was very annoying. But I think she was right to do so. She went through a lot of troubles in life. But Vincent was also right in his own way. He was worried about her safety. But she wanted to be independent.

    => Dr. Rose was the best one. Her POVs were the one I enjoyed reading the most.

    => That old man, Mr. Burns, was also the good character. I thought he was

    =>

    As a whole, the entire series is awesome. It's one of the best Sci-Fi I have read. Must give it a chance.

    16 July 2018

  • Matthew

    I’m kinda lukewarm on the final installment of this trilogy. And, in fact, while the concept of the whole trilogy has been pretty cool, I feel like ever since the first 100 pages or so of the first book, it has been kind of trending down hill. I wouldn’t say that it is bad, per se, and I had no problem staying interested through the finish. But, when I was done I was just kinda “meh”.

    With Only Human, my feeling was that the author was working toward the point, or the main moral of the story, at

    I’m kinda lukewarm on the final installment of this trilogy. And, in fact, while the concept of the whole trilogy has been pretty cool, I feel like ever since the first 100 pages or so of the first book, it has been kind of trending down hill. I wouldn’t say that it is bad, per se, and I had no problem staying interested through the finish. But, when I was done I was just kinda “meh”.

    With Only Human, my feeling was that the author was working toward the point, or the main moral of the story, at the expense of the actual storyline itself. I hope this makes sense! Basically, he knew what he wanted the reader to get out of the story so he forced plot points to get there. I have sat down to try an write before and it is a tough thing to get around smoothly – knowing something you want the reader to find out in the end and not give away too much too soon through convenient events or lazily fleshed out scenarios. I just didn’t feel the author got all the way there.

    Character wise, I was happy to find out what happened to everyone after the cliffhanger of the last novel. But, by the end, I was definitely done with them. Kind of sad as sometimes you hope that you will look back fondly on characters you spent a trilogy with, but I feel like I have spent all the time I needed to with this crew.

    So, I know it sounds like I am very down on the ending of the trilogy. I can say that I am not disappointed that I read it and there were some interesting events in the final book. While it was, in my opinion, the weakest of the trilogy, the trilogy as a whole was interesting and worth giving a go as long as you don’t mind the risk that the end of it may not be as fulfilling as you hope.

  • Imane

    I think the third book suffered a bit in comparison to the first two, it was still entertaining enough for me to continue, but i honestly expected much more.

    A bittersweet and kind of disappointin

    I think the third book suffered a bit in comparison to the first two, it was still entertaining enough for me to continue, but i honestly expected much more.

    A bittersweet and kind of disappointing ending to one of my favorite series. :(

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    I hadn't been this excited about the last book in a series in a while and... meh.

    There were some interesting parts, I was really curious to learn more about the aliens and I appreciated some of the author's thoughts but the dialogues felt too forced and really tried to be funny and sassy and it ended up a bit of a let down.

    I still think it's a fun, fast-paced series but the ending didn't blow me away!

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