Book Review: The Last Gifts of the Universe by Rory August

Pub Day: April 07, 2022

Length: 203 pages

Description:

A dying universe.

When the Home worlds finally achieved the technology to venture out into the stars, they found a graveyard of dead civilizations, a sea of lifeless gray planets and their ruins. What befell them is unknown. All Home knows is that they are the last civilization left in the universe, and whatever came for the others will come for them next.

A search for answers.

Scout is an Archivist tasked with scouring the dead worlds of the cosmos for their last gifts: interesting technology, cultural rituals—anything left behind that might be useful to the Home worlds and their survival. During an excavation on a lifeless planet, Scout unearths something unbelievable: a surviving message from an alien who witnessed the world-ending entity thousands of years ago.

A past unraveled.

Blyreena was once a friend, a soul mate, and a respected leader of her people, the Stelhari. At the end of her world, she was the last one left. She survived to give one last message, one final hope to the future: instructions on how to save the universe.

An adventure at the end of a trillion lifetimes.

With the fate of everything at stake, Scout must overcome the dangers of the Stelhari’s ruined civilization while following Blyreena’s leads to collect its artifacts. If Scout can’t deliver these groundbreaking discoveries back to the Archivists, Home might not only be the last civilization to exist, but the last to finally fall.

Review:

I picked this book up on a whim because I saw the author post about its pub day, I really liked the cover, and it’s short enough to where I could squeeze it in before my next read. And I’m so glad I did. I loved this book and read almost the entire thing in one day. I actually fell asleep reading it because I stayed up so late and didn’t want to stop. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

I love the narrator and how she muses about things in her life, how we get to see her emotional reactions, the way she handles stress, and her passion for what she does. I also absolutely adore Pumpkin. Oh my god. Who would’ve thought that a space-adventuring cat could be so lovable and fascinating to follow? I think that August did a great job at showcasing each character and their reactions in these scenes. Despite the limited amount of time we get to spend with each of them they don’t seem one-dimensional at all.

I don’t know if there will be more books set in this universe but I sure hope so. I know for a fact that I’ll pick up August’s future books without hesitation next time!

I don’t do comparisons like this often but I think if you liked Project Hail Mary, you’ll really like this one as well.

About the Author:

Rory August is a speculative fiction writer, animal lover, nature walker, and all around nerd. When they aren’t writing stories about lonely voyages through space, you can find them playing video games, the guitar, or a myriad of TTRPGs. They live in woodsy New England with their cat and husband. The Last Gifts of the Universe is their debut novel.

You can find out more about Rory and their upcoming works by visiting http://www.roryaugust.com

Author illustration by Camila del Aguilla. You can find more of her work by visiting http://www.camiladelaguilla.com

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