Review Detail

No One Likes Humans, by Clare Solomon: Release Day Review
Books EW Elaine White April 21, 2020 825
A Great Mystery
POV: 3rd person, dual POV

No One Likes Humans is an interesting take on a space-opera sci-fi novel, with a predominant mystery and a secondary romance plot. I enjoyed the overall story, the way the characters interacted, and how it all unfolded, but I did find some issues with the editing that meant I couldn't give it the best rating.

The book surrounds the two main characters – Nick and Reese – one who was a space detective investigating a murder on the planet, Ocean; and one who was an undercover operative, investigating the murder of a member of the detective agency. The two stories didn't begin to overlap until around 14%, which is Chapter 8, where Reese's POV begins to reveal his true part in the story.

As a major fan of criminal and investigative books, mysteries, puzzles, and TV shows, I'm well versed in being able to solve the mystery quickly. This book kept me riveted to the ongoing saga of the Ocean families, and dramas. I was never entirely certain who was the culprit, who had the right motive or opportunity, and who could be trusted. As someone who has become easily bored by mysteries in the past, this book was a clever and unique read. Intriguing, enjoyable, and with constant excitement that kept me turning every page.

The reason the story divides at this late point is vital. Until this point, it's only Nick's POV and he's in a life-or-death situation from almost Chapter 1. His attempt to investigate the murder has gone awry immediately, and he's left running for his life, trying to escape slavers and the police, after discovering he was investigating a murder without the appropriate warrants and permits to allow him access. Because of this, you *must* wait within Nick's POV to see him through that disaster. Only then, once he's bonded to Reese, been dependent on him for survival, do we learn the truth of Reese's actions and motivations, which I really liked. It was good to feel connected to him before revealing his true motivations, or I might not have warmed to him so quickly, or believed in his connection to Nick.

The chemistry was really nicely explored all throughout, however I was warned in advance that this wasn't a typical romance and the warning was right. Nick and Reese do NOT become a couple at any point in this novel. The chemistry is there, the will to be together is there, but there are outside forces keeping them apart. Those outside forces have Reese beginning a relationship with someone else – completely necessary and complicating his feelings for Nick, and Nick's feelings for Reese – but in no way is it ever cheating, because there was no relationship between Reese and Nick to start with. The chemistry is the slow burn that was promised, but it's also an instant attraction, so there is plenty of exploration of their chemistry together. It's not as if there is NO romance, it's just slow building and gradual.

Let me repeat that, for anyone worried about it – there is NO cheating! There is no relationship with Nick, to make Reese's actions in any way resemble cheating. The only cheating that is going on within the story is by a secondary character, sleeping with two mostly-off-page characters throughout the book, while married to a wife who was mostly-off-page.

When it comes to secondary characters, I really liked how stupid, hopeless and completely irritating Prince was. He was a great villain who wasn't really evil, which are the best kind. The complicated kind. I hated Poppy with a passion, form almost the first, which considering what was revealed of her was fine with me, because I never felt bad about it or that she'd redeemed herself.

However...I said earlier there were things that stopped me from giving it a better rating. That can be boiled down to one thing : Editing. This book is quite badly in need of an editor. I have a good two-dozen notes on instances where there are missing words, clunky terms and sentence structure, and run-on sentences that make the flow and reading more clunky than it needs to be.

There are also inconsistencies like an accent being labelled as British, while another is labelled as “Earth” German. I feel like this confuses the world-building, that would benefit from some expansion and exploration. I felt like some aspects of the world-building left things unexplained and unexplored. Another issue was that, twice, Nick uses words “woulda” and “coulda” once each, buried way deep in the 32% mark. Yet, he never uses those words/phrases before, and it's not isolated to Poppy, implying it's a natural contraction he uses with people from his homeworld, or with people he's comfortable with.

For me, if the editing issues with the book were resolved before publication, I would give it a solid 5 stars. No One Likes Humans is original, clever, with a riveting mystery and a warm, constant pulse of chemistry between the main characters. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.


Favourite Quotes

“Nick closed his eyes and allowed himself the luxury of trusting that Reese would help him get through this, that he could let go and Reese wouldn't let him fall too far.”

“Reese handed him the damaged pieces of his heart and helped Nick put them back together.”
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