The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: Science Fiction, Artificial Intelligence
Series: Singularity (Book 1)
Publication Date: February 19, 2015
Available Formats: Paperback, eBook
Rating: 5 Stars
Eli is an artist, creating paintings for his patron, Lenora. But their relationship is not the traditional Artist/Patron... because Lenora isn't human, and Eli is a Legacy trapped in a world where he must serve to live.
When the Singularity happened and most humans ascended to become something greater, a number of creative and religious types chose to remain human. Now, their descendants are forced to remain human, Legacies to keep the arts alive. But Legacies aren't just denied to chance to ascend; they are also denied technology and advanced medical care, forced to live on the bare minimum. When Eli's talent is brought to the attention of one of the Ascended, Lenora, she becomes his patron, buying him art supplies and encouraging him to expand his talent. With a dying mother to take care of, Eli wants more... he wants to ascend, knowing this is his only way to gain the technology to heal his mother.
The Legacy Human is a fun new take on a dystopian world, especially knowing that the Legacies are the way they are because their own ancestors had the chance to ascend - to become greater - and turned it down. While reading this story, a question ran through my mind: Are the ascended really greater, or are the humans with their creative spark the true elite? The ascended go through their daily lives bettering themselves without really caring about these humans who they are supposed to be nurturing, leaving them without the basic resources to survive. The Olympics—held on a yearly basis—give the humans the hope to ascend, knowing that four talented youngsters will be chosen and given a chance to be "better" than their peers.
This author has always been great at giving us well-developed characters who allow us to experience the story through their adventures. Eli and his friend Cyrus allow us to see the world through their eyes, and it's great to watch Eli grow past his upbringing and expectations, viewing the world as it really is rather than what he has been told his entire life. Kamali, Basha, and Delphina give an emotional connection for Eli and Cyrus beyond themselves and Eli's mother, and help further the story by sharing a different viewpoint as Legacies. Marcus and Lorena are two of the ascended, and are the extreme opposites of each other—one kind and generous, the other tricky and arrogant. While the plot of The Legacy Human seems to follow a well-established precedent—the disenfranchised people versus those with power and money, some sort of school or challenge to give the downtrodden hope, and a main character who breaks free of expectations—Susan Kaye Quinn manages to make the story seem fresh with the unexpected "flaws" of Eli and his challenge to move beyond them even when he knows that he is swimming through corruption.
If you enjoy alternate-future novels or dystopian storylines, I would highly recommend The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn.
Review previously posted on Shaykitteh’s World of Books.
An avid reader and reviewer, Shay VanZwoll has often bemoaned the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day to read, often staying up in the wee hours of the night curled up with a book or her Kindle. When she isn’t reading, she is a freelance editor and proofreader, providing services priced for Independent and Small Press authors. For more information, please visit http://evproofreading.com.