Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel
Why I read: Giant robots….. that’s all that was needed to convince me that I had to read this book. Enjoying the first book in the series and the UK setting also helped sway me to pull this one to the top of the pile.
NB: This is a sequel – I recommend reading Sleeping Giants first.
Book quote: ” Scientists are like children: They always want to know everything, they all ask too many questions, and they never follow orders to the letter.
That, people, is the EDC. A big robot, one soldier, a linguist, and a whole bunch of disobedient children.”
Book blurb: “As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materialises and lashes out with deadly force.
Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.“
An exhilarating ride filled with robots and aliens, escapism at its best. There is plenty of action and a dystopian end-of the world bleakness as the plot unravels. Some questions from the first book are answered but this book intriguingly creates many more. A healthy dose of science, genetics and conspiracy theories are mixed in as well.
The story is told through a variety of documents. I especially loved the interviews. There is a great sense of humour running through them:
“-And if we felt the aliens were superior? What was the plan?
-Pray that they do not see us as food.”
Waking Gods also features the mystical interviewer from the first book. I could not help but imagine him as the chain smoking FBI agent straight out of the X-files and even though we learn more about him in this book I could not get that image out of my head. The news like presentation does lead to a bit of distance from the characters and events. However a few personal letters and transcripts are scatted throughout the book which gives the characters more personality and feeling.
I would have loved more descriptions of the robots and settings. Perhaps articles from blogs or entertainment news that gave a imaginative viewpoint alongside the other reports. Occasionally it was hard to follow who was talking to who – I sometimes had to go back and check the start of the section to see who was being interviewed. I was racing through the story quickly as I could not wait to read what happened next.
The book shines a light on society, its values in war and the tendency towards violence to counteract situations but also shows us that there are alternative actions and solutions.
I’m looking forward to the 3rd book in the series.
Who should read: Anyone who enjoys sci-fi, aliens and robots.
I was provided an ARC via Netgallery in return for an honest review.
If you want to get a taste of the series there is a “lost file” on the publishers website: and you can read the first section of the book there for free.
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by Penguin (UK) (first published April 4th 2017)