E-Book, 304 Pages
Adult/ Sci-Fi/ Contemporary
By: Matt Haig
“No one will understand you. It is not, ultimately, that important. What is important is that you understand you.”
The Humans was one of those books that I decided to try the first chapter in and found myself at 20% after one hour when I opened it for one chapter only! I am not saying the book is perfect -it is not at all- and I think if I am gonna be really critical then it does not deserve the 4 stars I am giving it for many things that did not make sense at all. I am giving this rating based on my enjoyment of the book mostly!
The book revolves around Professor Andrew Martin who solved one of the most complicated mathematical problems, but it is actually not the Professor himself but the alien who is taking his role in life and replacing him for a special mission from his planet.
The writing is good, I enjoyed the short chapters and fast pacing which Haig is good at and which also makes those kind of books gripping ones. I specially liked the descriptions but to be honest, I did feel that the book is kind of preachy and if you read Haig’s other books, you know it has the same central ideas (With a fixation on mental illness, physical appearances, moles and hair and what it means to be human, also lists because Haig loves these).
The characters are likable and I found myself rooting for the professor’s family. Before reading the book I thought the protagonist is the professor’s son but it turned out to be the dad who is 43 and this makes it more of an adult book -the themes and cursing cemented that thought-
There is a focus on the characters but also a focus on humanity overall because it is literally about an alien discovering humans and their lives.
“The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.”
The plot is very predictable and I think it has been done many times before, whether in books, movies, or anime. I did not mind that because it was more about the journey and not the destination. Now I think there are a few things that did not make sense which objectively makes the book less better, for example, if the aliens were this smart, why didn’t they do some research about the humans and send someone competent to finish the job (I think because that means there will be no story then). Also why was the Riemann hypothesis such a big deal, we are told and told and told about this and never shown anything about it and once again, that’s just because it makes the story convenient and moves the plot forward, and I can’t help but to compare it to Project Hail Mary which I recently read where everything is well researched and explained to the point it becomes overwhelming for the reader. These are just two examples and there were more of those inaccuracies!
It takes place on Earth so there is not much world-building to do but I wish we had more about the Alien’s home.
“Make sure, as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.”
Summary: Despite its shortcomings, and the story that is not so original, I found myself enjoying the Humans for its fast pacing, short chapters and its central message. I think I am gonna be a bit picky when it comes to my next Haig’s book though because I want something less predictable!