Friday, 5 August 2016

Humankind

Humankind

by L.C. Morgan

4 out of 5

Synopsis
“The human race will ultimately be responsible for its own demise. It is with great certainty that I alert you of this now, and you heed my warnings. What we have called the ‘benefits culture’ for hundreds of years has caused profound chaos to our world and its economy, and it is damage I fear we will not return from.” President of the USA, Harold Chant, the year 2465.

“We need to find alternative fuels and a cure for overpopulation. But short of a miracle or genocide, I fear it’s too late…” Queen Anastasia of England, the year 2989.

In spite of all foretelling and scientific proof, humans have ruined their home, Earth. Overpopulation and the misuse of valuable fossil fuels have resulted in the end of the world fast approaching, and many believe it might be too late to stop it.
With that fear very much in mind, in the year 3030, an alien race called the Thrakorian’s stepped in to take charge of the Earth and its inhabitants, but at a price.
Rather than leading by fear, the Thrakorian’s have ensured the loyalty and servitude of the human race through gratitude and a sense of purpose they’d been lacking for generations. But can their savior’s really be as generous as they seem?

Years later, and rebel forces are intent on bringing down their new governing race, and Earth’s new leader, King Kronus, atop it. Loyal humans must fight against their own, but to what end, and for whose agenda?

Young Kyra Millan is a girl from the slums with a valuable mind. She’s intent on fighting her way up the social ladders and starting a new life based on her own merit, and will do anything it takes to reach her peak. Kyra also harbors a strange and unusual secret though, and it’s one she holds so precious it consumes her. Before long it becomes clear that all is not what it seems, but when you’re in too deep can you ever come back, and would you even want to?
Kyra must decide, and with everything on the line she’ll have to prove herself if she wants to survive.



Review
Years after the Thrakorians invade Earth and liberate humans from greed and poverty, there is a sense of balance in the world. Kyra wants nothing more than to join the human army and serve the Thraks and their King. But as she rises up the ranks and away from the LA slums, she realises how stark the differences are.

Far in the future, Earth is over-populated and corrupt, with the class divide being worse than ever.
The Thrakorians "save" them by invading, killing millions and instating new rules. The beneficent rulers make sure the humans are all cared for and provided with what they need, as long as they work for it. Those with skills are promoted and rewarded, encouraging others to do so.
It is a good system, and seeing the world through Kyra's eyes, things were definitely better with the Thraks in charge.

Humankind follows Kyra as she finishes high school and joins the army - all her life she wanted to work in the intelligence division, and she's not going to let anything get in her way.

I have to say, I loved Kyra. She was fun, and interesting. She was civil, but not afraid to stand up for herself.
What I liked most was that she worked bloody hard to get where she wanted to be. She didn't take anything for granted, and spent her teenage years training physically to make up for her tiny height and the fact that she's a girl.
Kyra is ambitious, and doesn't lose her head around guys. Do you know how rare that is in this type of fiction? My cold-hearted-bitch side is doing a happy dance.
Yes, there is romance, and the relationships do take centre-stage in large sections; but I thought it was all very well-balanced and refreshingly real.
I really liked the attitude towards relationships and sex. It isn't doe-eyed and all-consuming, there isn't instalove or swearing this is "the one". As I said, it was very real and natural, following Kyra through the years of training and proving herself to be the best at what she does.

The plot is good, and even though it has the repetitive structure of Kyra going through each year of training, it still all felt fresh and fun, and Kyra really pulls it along.
It often gives a brief summary and a time skip to avoid it being too repetitive, which made it a little jumpy, but I found this preferable than dragging along with too much filler detail.

The only real downside for me was a lack of subtlety regarding the plot. There were no big secrets or surprises, and the clues leading to Kyra's questioning the system felt less like clues and more like they had great arrows pointing to say this. is. important.
Kyra's doubts in the system that she has always devoted her life to, were very blunt and a sharp contrast to everything going on around her to start with. Sure, there was logic behind her thoughts, but it didn't seem like a natural progression. Although later on, I felt her reactions became a lot more natural.

That ending - I can't decide if I like it or not. You cannot leave me hanging like that!
There are cliffhangers, and then there's just plain stopping in the middle of a scene.
On the one hand, I didn't feel like Humankind wrapped it's own story up enough, it felt like the end of a chapter, rather than a book in a series.
On the other hand - I need Autonomy now.

Overall, I really enjoyed, and took until this very minute to decide between 4 or 5 stars. (Yes, I've gone for the stingy 4 stars, but I'm expecting Autonomy to be better, and I want a shiny 5 for it)
I would recommend checking the book out on Amazon, as it's on sale for the next few days.

Goodreads link
Amazon.co.uk

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