Book Review: The Humans

The HumansImage
Matt Haig
Science Fiction
Published: July 2nd, 2013
5/5

                The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his frist impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge
                He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he had been led to believe. Disguised as martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him there.
                Praised by The New York Times as a ‘novelist of great seriousness and talent,’ Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject – ourselves.

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The Humans was a delightful surprise for me. I had not heard much discussion about the book in the community that I’m involved with online but I found the synopsis intriguing. An Alien takes over the body of a mathematics professor that has just solved the most important Mathematical question to humanity to date. He is expected to destroy all evidence and halt the advancement of humanity. However, along the way he begins to develop a sort of infatuation with humanity and strives to discover what exactly it means to be ‘human.’
               I thought that the character development of the unnamed Alien was fascinating and refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and to begin to question what he thought he knew. Despite the advancement of his society the primitive nature of human emotions stumped him and the social queues often left him quite confused.
                The humans is extremely funny and entertaining, the chapters are very short and that makes it really easy to read in short bursts. The story also gets quite dark at times, and I felt that helped counteract the unrealistic nature of some of the scenes.
                Overall this was an insightful, touching and completely original story. I’m extremely happy I took a chance with a book that I had not heard much about and I am greatly looking forward to reading more books written by Matt Haig.
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Book Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th waveImage
Rick Yancey
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Published: 2013
Young Adult, Post-apocalyptic, Science fiction
3/3 (Buy-It)

                After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
                Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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                The 5th wave is the first in a new Young Adult Science Fiction series, it takes place in our reality, in our time, with our technology and we are devastated by the arrival of strangers that have yet to say why they’re here.  The 5th wave is a fantastic start into the science fiction genre, a fantastic book to wet your feet with.
                I’ve read quite a bit of science fiction in the past year or so, and have come to really, really enjoy it. Young adult science fiction is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres as it’s not usually as intimidating as adult science fiction can be, and it is usually written at a level that all peoples reading it could understand. That being said, if you’re a full blown, I need complicated science fiction mumbo jumbo and everything explained out the wazoo, this probably won’t be the book for you. Also, if you’re not interested in this plot then I would also suggest not reading this book despite the hype. Read what you enjoy only.
                Thought the characters were fantastic, the world building was great, left me feeling fulfilled and excited for the next installment. I don’t have too many complaints regarding the plot or development at all. Found little to no errors within the writing itself, and though there were a few things I did figure out before revealed thought the author did a great job with all the twists and turns.
                I fully recommend this book. It does have a romantic sub plot (but seriously what doesn’t?) but it’s not overly in your face and is not the main focus. It’s a great story about survival, sacrifice and family (Something that I don’t think is focused on nearly enough).