The Last Human

by PSHoffman

Humanity is extinct.

In their wake, they left behind powerful artifacts and wonderous relics, most of which are still yet to be discovered.

Alien life flourishes in the ruins of ancient human cities. Hundreds of distinct species and cultures. But they all worship the "Old Ones" as gods, for who else could have created these impossible devices: ships that can fly, droids that can think, and gates that form bridges between worlds.

One power-hungry Empire has learned to use these gifts to conquer and dominate all other alien cultures. With each passing day, they grind the people of Gaiam deeper under the bootheel of oppression.

But when an old, jaded thief stumbles upon an ancient, living secret... a new revolution may be at hand.

This is the story of The Last Human.

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  • Style Score
  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
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PSHoffman

PSHoffman

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Redcoat
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Reviewed at: Part 21 - The Lords of the Veneratian

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.

precinctomega
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

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.

Style Score

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.

Grammar Score

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".

Story Score

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.

Character Score

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.

Summary

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.

TheBob2000
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

On a site where 90% of stories are Isekai/Reincarnation stories, this one sets itself apart by having a protagonist that's an inhabitant of the world where the story takes place. That seems like such a small thing, but it makes the story feel unique.  If you want something different than the standard story on this site take a look at this one.  

Honestly I don’t have anything bad to say about it.  Good Grammer, Story, Characters.  What more could you want?

Each character feels like they have a story and a personality.  No one is cookie cutter.  Or mix and match.

Grammar, I’m yet to find any mistakes, which on this site is sometimes something like a legend.  Thanks for that.

Indents are done correctly.  Small thing but I can’t open some stories on this site because of that.

The style of this author is so clear and concise, and the flow between paragraphs is well done. I envy the way you conveys this story, it is something I cannot achieve as a writer and the praise this story is getting is well deserved. 

After reading this I can say I’m blown away by what was here.  Thank you for the great experience.  I look forward to what else comes from you and where this story goes.

todd
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Fantastic sci-fi of an aged universe

Reviewed at: Part 21 - The Lords of the Veneratian

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.

UnEarthed
Overall

Can still hurt you. There's enough buildup at this chapter to rage quit, or just read on Patron. I'll keep torturing myself with these regular releases...

 The writing is the jewel, the story fire. It hardly seems comparable to fanfics or translations. Yet the premise, complicated into real life at every turn, pays respects to the genre.

What if immortality could not prevent extinction? When could being transported "home" be another world? How many superstitions devolved from brilliant science? 

I can almost feel the tension for our future great-grandkids, but for all the unexpected depths on every turn...is this an amazingly disguised good vs evil battle?

SmaugBeiber
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It is good enough, and you can tell the author has some skill.

A journey narrative, with a chase and an open ended path. Interested to see a little bit more of the character development that comes along from having more characters interact over a longer period of time. The author is starting to round out some of the 2-d character edges at chapter 17, but more of this will continue to stregthen what they have written here.

Good style engaging and sold grammer. Pulls you in and enough happens to keep it right.

Story got a couple of points off for rushing in a new character, without setting up great motivation, and some generic "fantasy for fantasy's sake" elements when it doesn't appear two be what the author was going for here. Don't feel the need to dilute the potent mixture by making everything weird. The contrast between the normal and the weird is where the best story's sit. 

But honestly keep writing. This is good, and if you get it up to a length that most people on this site are looking for it should hit trending in no time. After trending it will be ready for a good edit and the world from there.

ArahVhel
Overall

All the yes from me. I'll update the review to a detailed one later. But so far, grammar 10/10, story is starting with a bang, and kinda like a blast from the past, it feels like all the paperbacks I read while young. Underdog hero meets world changing event, then apparently "assembles/meets" a team to pursue his quest that he wanted no part into. Tie it up nicely with a prophecy, and suitably horrifying ennemies so far. 

AstralTempest
Overall

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.