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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Learning “Human” by N.J. de Natris is an engaging story with strong, post-apocalyptic themes. The setting is after a full-blown and devastating war between humans and aliens. The narrative follows an alien, Sigma, who finds himself among humans after the war in a dystopian world. Understanding humans is one of the most challenging trials he has had to face. But his connection with Rho brings about deep stirrings in his heart. Although Rho makes him feel different and valued inside, Xi sees him as a monster, and so do many humans. Can Sigma learn to love and to win a place in the hearts of humans?
The story is well-narrated with a fresh take on dystopian literature. I enjoyed how the author explores the point of view of the alien, setting him on a path to exploring human emotions, and in the course of doing so, he begins to understand something unique about his own nature. The story is original and the plot points are strong and skillfully written. The setting is well-written and the effects of war are vividly portrayed in the writing. De Natris’s prose is sparkling, rendered with vivid descriptions and a unique ability to capture emotions in detail. The author’s gift for character is exemplified in this story and readers will enjoy the company of characters like Phi and Mu and the effect they have on the protagonist. Themes of friendship, survival, and love are naturally written into the story. Learning "Human" offers a new voice in the dystopian genre and provides a portal for an enjoyable escape.