Overview (No Spoilers):
Other than Iron Gold, Only Human was one of my most anticipated book releases of 2018. With that being said, I had such lofty expectation of where Neuvel would take this concluding installment of The Themis Files trilogy, especially after one of the best literary cliffhangers I’ve encountered in recent memory at the end of Waking Gods. Thrilled at being sent an advanced review copy for Only Human, I quickly dove into this quick read, excited to see what would happen to Vincent, Eugene, Eva and Rose. Within the preceding novels of this trilogy, I was routinely impressed at the level of detail and emotions conveyed in the unique interview format. Only Human continued this distinctive formatting theme, while providing files/memos/articles from both in Esat Ekt and Earth. I thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole and liked this overall conclusion, however it felt outclassed by the first two novels in series. After one specific key death in Waking Gods, I felt like the remainder of the series lacked some of the magic, perhaps charm is a better descriptor, it had previously conveyed to the reader. While Waking Gods was a much darker book than Sleeping Giants, Only Human continued on the deep trend, never recapturing the extent of the amusing exchanges that endeared us to previous characters. Sure there was the introduction of new characters that attempted to fill the void, however none of them were given the depth, time to develop or backstory to really bond with the reader. Only Human yo-yoed back and forth between events unfolding on Earth nine years after Themis disappeared, to what happened to the occupants of Themis immediately following unexpectedly arriving at Esat Ekt. Both storylines were fascinating, leaving me on the edge of my seat wanting more of everything, from overall detail, to world building, and character depth. Perhaps flushing out Vincent, Eugene, Eva and Rose’s time on Esat Ekt and the events on Earth into two separate books would have served to supply the level of detail my curiosity begs, as such what Neuvel managed to pack into one book was impressive. Reflecting back on the wild ride that was Only Human, we saw glimpses of an alien world and culture, the human race coping with in the aftermath of destruction in Waking Gods, and a massive robot battle scene all jam packed into one book. Overall, The Themis Files as a whole was one of the most entertaining trilogies I’ve read, especially considering the unique formatting Neuvel employs to deliver his intriguing tale. As an afterthought, my criticisms of Only Human could also be biasly derived in part from the large shadow cast from the brilliancy that was Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods, making my expectations for this final installment an insurmountable hurdle to any conclusion.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
I’ve made the decision to postpone publishing my additional insight section until the release date. The spoilers are far too juicy! Please see back on May 1st for my spoiler laden thoughts!