March 31st, 2022 by Jane Turner
My review of The Last Gifts of the Universe comes courtesy of a blog tour organised by Escapist Tours. The Last Gifts of the Universe is self-published and released on 7 April 2022. I received a free copy of the ebook.
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.
I love the very idea of this one. A group of people searching the universe for clues to a great mystery: why are humans all that’s here?
Scout shares her small ship with her brother, Kieran, and their adventurous (and space-suited) cat, Pumpkin. They travel the universe searching out messages from civilisations that once were – information that could be important to humanity. A noble goal indeed. (And Pumpkin is awesome! Though I’d not want to be the one to connect the plumbing in his space suit…)
But the Archivists have competition from a ubiquitous corporation, Verity Co. Verity’s operatives have all the best tech, newest gadgets, and the goal of creating profit from the information they find. And they’re willing to kill for it.
Blyreena’s tale, told by recorded hologram, is heart-wrenching and poignant. And proves that, no matter the differences between peoples and nations, there are far more similarities than we think.
The great evil of the story is never quite revealed, and the mystery never quite solved – which is a little frustrating, but does leave the door open to continue the story. And I have hope that we hear more from Scout.
Rory August has created a lovely flowing tale, full of rich characters (even Pumpkin!) and worlds of imaginative detail. Above all else, though, this is a tale of life, loss, hope, persistence, and the worthiness of humanity.
The Last Gifts of the Universe is a wee gem that’ll make you giggle, make you think and make you wish…
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.
Prize: An eBook or Paperback Copy of The Last Gifts of the Universe
Starts: 28 March 2022 at 12:00am EST
Ends: 3 April 2022 at 11:59pm EST
And don’t forget, dear reader (sorry – been binging Bridgerton!), that I’m available to help with your book! I offer Copyediting, Proofreading, Manuscript Critiques and Beta Reads, all aimed to help make your work stand out like Rory’s does. And I’m happy to review for you, too. Check out my site or just get in touch to find out how I can help.
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