The Last Human

Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2019. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419736919.
Gr 3-7–In this future world, humans have been eliminated by robots, leaving a supposedly better society devoid of the evils caused by humans—wars, pollution, crime, and waste. The robots have been brainwashed by their leader, the Hive President, into believing that humans caused nothing but trouble, and the robots have no reason to doubt him. Besides, their programming would not allow them to. Robot XR_935 is 12 years old and has spent his whole “life” with his FamilyUnit—Parent_1 and Parent_2—fulfilling his purpose of installing solar panels for energy. His life is shattered by a paradox: he encounters a 12-year-old girl named Emma, which is impossible because humans are supposed to be extinct. From Emma, XR_935 and his robot “friends,” SkD_988 (who communicates through emojis) and massively strong Ceeron_902, learn that there is a secret underground bunker of humans who weren’t exterminated. However, the inhabitants of the bunker, including Emma’s family, succumbed to a mysterious illness, leaving Emma alone in the world and desperate to reach a mysterious spot on a map her parents left her. Despite their programming, the robots decide to help Emma on her dangerous journey, facing killer HunterBots, drones, and the risk of not finding charging stations before it’s too late. Along the way, an unlikely friendship is forged, with humor, misunderstandings (robots don’t understand human jokes or expressions), and plenty of rule breaking. Bacon’s story is full of twists and adventure, leaving readers guessing throughout.
VERDICT With the ever-increasing presence of technology, readers may be torn between rooting for Emma or the robots. Recommended for fans of thrilling sci-fi with a strong ethical motif.

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