ALL HUMANKIND died thousands of years ago...
…but the xenos still worship them as GODS.
Today, hundreds of alien civilizations thrive in the gods’ lost cities and fallen megastructures. One Empire has learned to harness the remains of humanity's forgotten technology to reconnect the distant worlds... and dominate them.
Eolh is an old, jaded, avian thief who lives in the dark underbelly of a conquered city. When the Empire first opened the gate between worlds, they stormed his home, killed his gang, and burned everything he held dear.
But that was a long time ago.
Now, the resistance is dead. No one dreams of fighting back—for the Empire wields the weapons of the gods: warships that fly, robotic constructs that hunt, and rare mysteries scavenged from the tombs of the gods. Eolh lives a half-life, thieving, running jobs, and selling his services as a freelance listener for the last gangs of Lowtown. He trusts no one, and only looks out for himself.
When an unusual heist takes a deadly turn, Eolh must bargain with an overzealous android who carries an impossible secret—one that will shake the foundations of the universe.
There is one last hope for salvation. For his people, or maybe just for himself…
Read this series if you love Dune, Star Wars, or stories about prophecies and long-forgotten technology.
Take a journey across far-flung worlds filled with alien cultures and impossible technology. This epic Space Opera mixes elements of science fiction and fantasy, and features a cast of underdog characters who find untold strength as they awaken the ancient wonders buried by time.
All this was foretold... One day, a human god will return.
Now a Published Novel!
Buy a Copy Here or keep reading on RoyalRoad :)
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All the other reviews do a good job of laying out the prose and well-written aspects of the story. The world feels rich and very much alive, and the story has a unique way of weaving together the current society while showing the vestiges of previous Humanity. There are multiple threads of mystery to unspool that keep the story moving along, and the characters are all (with a large exception) well-written and "real".
The reason why I struggle to follow the series despite all the praise above is because one of the main titular character - "the last human" - is simply not enjoyable to read. I understand the idea behind how and why the character is presented, but an unpleasant character to read and follow is just... unpleasant. Compound that unpleasantness over multiple chapters and I've struggled to keep reading.
A deep sense of age seeps into every part of The Last Human. The story is set in a city built upon ruin after ruin, whose richest inhabitants are still poor compared to what came before them.
Contrary to what the title may suggest, the main character is not, in fact, the last human. Instead, the story follows Eolh, a sapient avian thief struggling to make a living in the slums of a city occupied by a brutal and arrogant empire. The setting is seen through Eolh's eyes, and his familiarity with it helps to emphasise the awe he feels at the mysteries he sees.
This lends the story an incredibly engaging atmosphere, one that blends religion and technology to create a keen sense of something far greater than Eolh could ever comprehend. It's a slow burn, lasting eight chapters before even describing the colour of Eolh's plumage, which only further helps build up the incredible style of this story.
Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend The Last Human. The characters are rich and engaging, and the story limits itself to a very small cast so you'll never get overwhelmed. The plot itself is an engaging odyssey throughout fascinating and fantastical environments, all tied together by a cohesive style that really helps bring across the reality that Eolh and his entire civilisation are standing on the shoulders of giants.
This book is well-written, well edited, and well planned and executed.
It is dark. Relentlessly dark. Soul-grindingly dark. Never a hint of lightening up, a moment when something horrible doesn't happen, or anything less than a neverending grind of pain and failure for everyone involved.
I love science fiction, and I am well familiar with Dark future concept, but this book takes that concept and runs with it into the darkness in a never ending tale of relentless depression and constant conflict.
The thing is, most of these books end after four or five hundred pages with the denouement. This, though, just keeps going relentlessly, never a hint of comic relief or even a moment for the heroes to relax. No big reveals, no final victory or defeat, just more grinding pain heaped on a smoking bonfire of corruption and death. The titular character is a useless, unheroic, brainless bundle of angst and constant stupidity that is impossible to empathise with. He's supposed to be 16 but acts like he's a 7 year old, and is flat-out unpleasant to read about.
That review? That's exactly what reading this feels like, the whole time. I will give the book 5 stars for technique, and pull away a star for being an endless grind that makes you feel filthy for even trying to follow the plot and for having absolutely no redeeming characters or characteristics besides it's complicated worldbuilding. This kind of relentless evil might have made a big name for scifi writers in the 60's, but today there's little to recommend it.
The novel starts fine but ends up feeling rushed and simple. Every relationship is impossibly quick to form and develop, and every character never stops to just breathe. Multiple times I had to stop and question myself as to when this relationship happened? Did I miss some important scene? So I would go back, and no I had missed nothing. I feel as if the author is trying to make us feel how the characters feel, but instead it just comes off as contrived.
Never once stopping, even just for a moment, to let things settle. There is no sinking in, which makes every story beat feel shallow. The world has some obvious thought put into it but we are never allowed to "smell the roses" so to speak. A shame really because there is potential here. A three star here because it is better quality for this site, but anywhere else would be a 1 star rating.
The story has an interesting idea
It's got a acceptable style and writing
Also The pace is decent too.
But characters were... um I don't know how to put it... they made me uncomfortable. For the lack of a better word. I'm not saying it's bad, but I can't forge a connecting with them. Anyway maybe it's just me.
But overall I would recommend that you give this story a chance.
The Last Human is an imaginative tour de force. It strikes a perfect balance between exploring a deep and engaging new world, excavating the enigmatic history of that world and doggerly pursuing a plot. I rate it comfortably among the best works currently on Royal Road.
It should come as no surprise that the author makes his living teaching people like you and I how to make a living doing this.
The novel is tightly composed with barely a wasted word, but enough detail to give the reader a strong sense of place and environment. The only thing I could think to ding this whole thing from a perfect score (other than the fact it's not finished yet) is that, maybe, there could afford to be a little bit more detail to paint in the picture of the world. Individual scenes are beautifully composed, but the gestalt is still a little blurry at the edges. Some of that, of course, is deliberate, because part of the joy in the story is the unfolding discovery, but... Just a smidgen more detail would be great.
Unsurprisingly the author isn't merely - as far as I can tell - perfect in his use of vocabulary, spelling and grammar, but imaginative and innovative. I have wee, tiny twitch at the word "Veneratian" but I think it's more a "I'd love to discuss his word choice over a beer" than a "that's a terrible neologism".
Zero complaints. None. The author sets up the components of the plot quite beautifully. Because of the title of the novel, we know what's in the box and the author doesn't waste time playing coy, instead setting up the motivations of the characters - sometimes with throwaway lines the significance of which won't become apparent until later. It's a voyage of discovery for every major character and the reader as well. It really makes you feel like part of the narrative.
Eolh is our protagonist and his motivations are well mapped out. Every now and then I catch myself wondering if his motivations and actions are aligned in a given scene, and every time it's like the author has anticipated my doubting as there's something there to reinforce why Eolh makes the decisions he does.
I think Ryke is my favourite character, though, because of the personal sacrifices she made which make her deeply sympathetic.
Poire is a bit of a whiny kid. But the author is at pains to make his whininess both understandable and sympathetic, and even though his loss and confusion are overwhelming, the author is careful to give him both the intelligence and agency to illustrate his potential.
Obviously, I really like this story. It's a follow. It's a fave. If you're just here for harem LitRPG, you'll hate it. But if you are interested in not only a great adventure/mystery but also a masterclass in how to write popular speculative fiction, you'll love it.
Some of my favorite science fiction stories are set in the ruins of ancient advanced societies, ones so old that little remains beyond the barest fragments of their glory. This is set in the ashes of humanity, as numerous alien species struggle to survive underneath the crushing boot of an empire that has hoarded the artifacts of humanity's technology, things so advanced that they might as well be magic. Miracles and medieval tech side by side, while crude robots pull carts down streets alongside floating palanquins. It all pulls together to create an incredible blend of an arcane universe, with everyone scrabbling at the crumbs of long-dead giants.
Style: Well written with a solid voice. For those familiar with it, the story captures some aspect of the tone that makes Hyperion such a great read. There's a narrative weight as each character is slowly swept up by events of legend and carried forward. Small people backlit against a vast universe.
Grammar: Solid, with few (if any) errors.
Story: Believable and lived in. It's a grungy world, with the grandeur of what humanity had once wrought woven through the civilizations that they built in its ruins. The sense of age is almost palpable and makes for a world that feels lived in. The bones of the story are familiar, with an oppressive and xenophobic empire, a widespread prophecy regarding the return of a human savior, and the allies drawn into his wake. But it's written in such a way that it feels fresh. The story (as of yet) doesn't worship the Chosen One but develops them as someone lost in time. There hasn't been much development regarding the overarching plot, but the hook has definitely been set.
Characters: Each one is solid, though we've only seen through four perspectives. The first and arguably main perspective, Eolh, makes a great lens. He's solidly practical, jaded, and finds himself caught up in something that he no longer understands. The rest of the cast is unique and fleshed out, each with their own voice and their own goals. It would be easy to make them sycophants or caricatures, but the Chosen One aspect of the story has been well-handled so far. The prophecied human is more lost than any of them and trying to make sense of a world vastly different from what he remembered. Even better, all of their actions and reactions feel real when set against their history and experiences.
Overall, this all comes together to make for a fantastic jaunt of science fiction that has the bones of grand adventure buried inside. It's still early in the story, but I can't wait to see what comes next. Easily recommended for fans of sci-fi or adventure fantasy.
I've had an idea bouncing around in my head for near a decade now about a human waking up to a post-apocalyptic, post-human world where there are no more humans, but plenty of primitive trans-humans. Plenty of technology that might as well be magic. Probably as a ttrpg, as I'm not an author.
Which is why I'm so happy to read this story. This is something I've wanted for years and years, and it's so well done.
The worldbuilding is stylish and slick, but full of that delicious feeling of that weight of ages. The plot is gripping. The pacing is well done, fast, but not rushed, and the story has time to breathe, but it doesn't get slow.
The characters are good, solid, but I can't call them great. They lack a degree of pizaaz or weight. Their foundations are very good, but I'd recommend showing a bit more of their background, and looping it into the story more. Eolh's history as an urchin turned revolutionary, and Poire's ancient recent history as a whateverisgoingonthere is great stuff. Eolh in particular could use more hinting and foreshadowing as to his fiery past in the earlier chapters.
I never noticed any grammar problems, and that's all I really need out of grammar.
I've truly enjoyed this story.
I quit when I did for two reasons, the protagonists have no agency and I dislike multiple POVs, especially as many as this one has. I get what the author is trying to do, fish out of water, traumatized and all that, but it just goes on way too long. And there are far too many characters that get chapters. I just didn't care. My opinion. To each their own.
Initially, the title gave me the impression of a zombie survival reincarnation story like some that have been going around, but boy was I wrong. Only a few chapters in and a I can see oodles of potential oozing from the story.
The characters/groups are interesting and vary greatly with in appearance and culture even early on. There is a sense of realistic selfishness to them that we see in materialistic societies. Many of them seem to only want what is best for them at the expense of the people around them, much like our modern society.
The setting is intriguing, giving a sense of age to the world, almost in a hopeless sort of way. It makes the appearance of the last human in this world so intriguing.
Too early to say much about plot. Seems to be going in a good direction, though.
May edit later if I remember. Maybe not. Back to reading.