After having read Sylvain Neuvel’s debut novel, Sleeping Giants, last year, I had been eagerly anticipating the second book in The Themis Files series. And it’s finally here! (Well, almost.) I must say: it was totally worth the wait!
(As always, this review is spoiler-free! There may be minor spoilers for the first book in the synopsis because this is a sequel.)
(From Goodreads) When an alien vessel materialises in London, does it mean peace or war? Waking Gods is the gripping sequel to the ground-breaking thriller Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. What’s going on? Turn on the television. What channel? Any channel. An unknown vessel, not of this world, materializes in London. A colossal figure towering over the city, it makes no move. Is this a peaceful first contact or the prelude to an invasion? Every child has nightmares. But the only thing scarier than little Eva Reyes’ dreams – apocalyptic visions of death and destruction – is the habit they have of coming true… Scientist Dr Rose Franklin has no memory of the last few years. The strangers she works with say she died, and was brought back to life. The question is not just how … but why? Kara Resnik and Vincent Couture fell in love during war, and have found peace since. They are the thin line of defence against what is coming. But they do not know they have been living a lie. And a man who claims to have the answers has his own agenda. There are things he cannot say – and others he won’t. All pieces of an epic puzzle. One we have been trying to solve since the dawn of time…
This book destroyed me. Even more than the first one, which I think is because I’ve now gone though two books and ten (fictional) years with these characters. I’ve gotten attached. And Nevuel puts them through so much in this book. We really get to know each of the characters a bit more in this book, and they have grown a lot, since ten years have passed since Sleeping Giants. (And yes, we do learn a bit about a certain nameless someone.) I liked seeing how far each of the characters – Themis included – has come. And when one of them gets ripped away, it’s that much more heartbreaking. I think I actually gasped out loud and had to put the book down for a minute.
The story itself is just as good as that of the first book. There are a lot more giant alien robots and some epic battle scenes. The science is still prevalent, and is really very interesting. (I may not have a brain designed for science and math, but I actually do enjoy reading about it in books. And don’t worry, it’s all explained for those of us who don’t know exactly how DNA works.) I loved the mystery surrounding the new robots (and the aliens who pilot them). It’s almost like a war novel, and was really a lot of fun to read. However, I do think some of the novelty of this concept has worn off now that we’re on the second book, so most of the surprises came from the characters rather than the technology. And I was missing a lot of the mythology that I loved so much about the first book. There were a few mentions here and there, but my favorite part about Sleeping Giants wasn’t mentioned at all in this book, which disappointed me a tiny bit.
However, I will say, that if you liked the first book, you’ll like this one. And if you haven’t yet read Sleeping Giants, definitely give it a shot. I actually enjoyed it so much that it’s one of the books that strongly influenced my graduate thesis. And that’s saying something.
P.S. Waking Gods ends on an EPIC cliffhanger. Be prepared to want the third book immediately.
I am having so much fun reading this series, and Waking Gods was a brilliant addition to it. There were a few things I wanted to see and didn’t get, but overall, I really enjoyed it. I like the alternative format, the way the alien robots operate is fascinating, and the characters are really intriguing.
Definitely a must-read for any science fiction fans! I’d highly recommend it if you like Red Rising or The Martian. Also, if you enjoy The Illuminae Files, I think you will definitely like The Themis Files – Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods is a bit like a more scientific, grown-up version. With aliens.
Waking Gods will be available in bookstores starting April 4th. You can order your copy on Amazon now! (And, if you haven’t read it yet, Sleeping Giants is available in hardcover and paperback.) Be sure to check out my review of Sleeping Giants, too!
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Waking Gods as one of your two free books (which you get to keep even if you cancel).
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.