by Sylvain Neuvel
We always thought the biggest threat to humanity would come from the outside.
We were wrong.
As the human race picks up the pieces of destruction left behind, a new world order emerges. New alliances are formed. Old divisions are strengthened. And, with a power struggle fuelled by the threat of mutually assured destruction, nothing is certain.
At a time when the world’s nations should have been coming together, they have never been more divided.
With the human race teetering on the brink of total war, Rose, Vincent and Eva must choose sides. But doing the right thing might mean making the ultimate sacrifice.
When I started reading the Themis trilogy, I truly had no expectations but as I read the first and second book of the series, I started to appreciate the way Neuvel wrote the novels. I started to expect things from the series, certain actions or certain plot points, the first two books didn’t disappoint me. However, I do think that Waking Gods would have to be my favourite out of the three books.
The third book, Only Human, might have come out in May but I got my hands on it in June? So, this review took a while to come. We were left with the mystery of Rose, Vincent, Eva and Eugene back in Waking Gods and in this one, what happened to them when they were beamed into somewhere not earth, we also see what really happened on earth while they were gone. None of it is pretty, none of it unpredictable either. At least the earth part of the book, people turned on each other and tried to conquer those they considered inferior or dangerous. Same old.
I did find the planet of the Esat Ekt very interesting, their system to handle matters were very frustrating and in a way, very human-ish? But we are later made to understand that it’s probably from them that we have some of the rules on earth. Oh well.
Just like last time, the entirety of the book is through interviews and log entries, it’s a familiar way of the plot unfolding by now so I didn’t have much problem getting into it. What I did have a little bit of a problem with was the jumping timelines. The thing with log entries and interviews was that you really have to keep track of what you are reading. Sometimes, I wasn’t able to pay attention and then, bam, would come a section where the characters are in the past. Yeah, you could say I struggled a bit with that.
I have to say that Neuvel did put the plot in the best possible direction, I mean, the way presented the racism and religious unrest (read: downright inhumane treatment of people) is far too real. I can see that happening because that has been happening for a while now. However despite offering the very real possibility of what would happen to us if things escalated, he also managed to leave some room for hope in the end.
“I hate this world. People are small. They’re ignorant, and they’re happy to stay that way. They make an effort to. They’ll spend time and energy finding ways not to learn things just to feel comfortable with their beliefs.”
I was just so much in agreement with this statement in the book, and the thing is, you can apply in it real world as well, unfortunately. I think it is the very real parallel to our world that really made me appreciate the book a lot. Bombing cities, trying to blame one religion just so another religion can feel better about themselves, this is very real and well, I was glad to see that at least in a novel there were consequences for that. There’s this part in the end that made me love the book a lot, that made me feel truly good about reading the book.
“We’re not heroes. No one is. Every movie we watch, every book we read, we see people who can solve every problem, face every danger all on their own. But in real life, Vincent, we just call the cops. That’s what I did.”
That the human race is not evolved enough to be at peace is no surprise but to realize it and accept it….that’s the biggest step to becoming better. I think we aren’t there yet and it might be that we could be centuries away from that. I am also glad that unlike in the other two books there wasn’t a lot of robot fighting, I mean, I was super happy with the ones that happened in the previous books but I am glad because in return for that, Neuvel gave us such character growth. We could truly see the characters grow in this one, they have changed, some for the better, some for the worse but there was growth.
Overall, the ending was satisfying. Initially, I didn’t find it that way but I once again read some parts of the book and now, I think there couldn’t have been a better or more satisfying ending. Of course, I am not saying that there aren’t parts that didn’t bug me but they weren’t big enough issues that they need to be discussed. At least, they weren’t for me. If I had to rate the book, I would rate it around four stars. Or maybe 3.99? I really enjoyed the series as a whole and I think I can safely say that I will be very interested to see what Sylvain Neuvel brings out next.
I would recommend this trilogy to those who want to have a sci-fi with a bit different format than the traditional one. This is a trilogy that you could enjoy more and more the further you go into it. It got better with each book, frankly. So, give it a go if you are a sci-fan and want a finished series. They are all available and frankly, I love that a little too much. Completed series are always such a joy, right?