Review: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) – Sylvain Neuvel

waking godsAs 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, materializes 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.

Rating: 4.5/5

I was so excited for this book that I was reduced to getting hold of an e-copy, since it was taking too long for a physical edition to reach my shores. After the cliffhanger at the end of Sleeping Giants, I think I speak for all of us when I say we were eager to find out what, exactly, happened to Rose, as well as the rest of her motley crew.

I may believe in God, but I’m at war with Him. I’m a scientist, I try to answer questions, one at a time, so there’s a little less room for Him as the answer. I plant my flag, and inch by inch, I take away His kingdom. It’s odd, but none of this has ever occurred to me before. I never even saw a real contradiction between science and religion. I see it now, I see it clear as day.

While the novel spends some time getting us re-situated, it’s soon a wild race to the finish. With some casualties along the way, I might add. I am rather sorry to see them go.

If Sleeping Giants was focused on scientific discovery and the political ramifications of piecing together a giant mysterious robot, Waking Gods is centered on the disastrous consequences when new beings come to play.  Spoiler alert: they do not play nice, but our characters are in the uncomfortable position of not knowing why. The author fairly brutal in wiping out his characters, and indeed, large swaths of humanity. Prepare thyselves.

Once you’re used to the epistolary format of the novel, it’s quite easy to get into. Of course, the drawbacks of this style of narration is that you can feel somewhat removed from the characters, but I think Neuvel still does a great job here in familiarising us with his cast.

As I mentioned in my review for the previous book, I absolutely love the dry sense of humour. There seemed to be less of it here, but this is understandable, as the stakes are somewhat higher in this installment. And there’s also an equal amount of some ruminations on the nature of humankind, the universe, and all those profound topics.

We still have so many unanswered questions with regards to the alien visitors – it feels like the author has truly set the scene now, and whet our collective appetites for novels to come. I’m not sure where he’s going to take us, but my oh my, am I looking forward to the ride.

I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while.

4 thoughts on “Review: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) – Sylvain Neuvel

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