Waking Gods (Themis Files Series #2)

Waking Gods (Themis Files Series #2)

by Sylvain Neuvel


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In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.
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 now 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.
Praise for Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants
“As high-concept as it is, Sleeping Giants is a thriller through and through. . . . One of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory.”—NPR
“Neuvel weaves a complex tapestry with ancient machinery buried in the Earth, shadow governments, and geopolitical conflicts. But the most surprising thing about the book may just be how compelling the central characters are in the midst of these larger-than-life concepts.”Chicago Review of Books
“This stellar debut novel . . . masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. . . . A page-turner of the highest order.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, Sleeping Giants is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars.”—Pierce Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Rising trilogy
“First-time novelist Sylvain Neuvel does a bold, splashy cannonball off the high dive with Sleeping Giants. It bursts at the seams with big ideas. This book is a sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages.”—Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy
“A remarkable debut.”Library Journal (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101886724
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Series: Themis Files Series , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 798,299
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sylvain Neuvel is the author of Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods. He is a linguist and translator based in Montreal. He is at work on an R2-D2 replica and his next novel.

Read an Excerpt



File No. 1398

News Report—Jacob Lawson, BBC London

Location: Regent’s Park, London, England

A twenty-story-tall metallic figure appeared in the middle of Regent’s Park this morning. Caretakers at the London Zoo were the first to notice it at around 4 a.m. Standing on one of the Hub’s football pitches at the north end of the park, the figure, or robot, bears a resemblance, in both size and shape, to the UN robot we now know as Themis. This new giant, however, appears to be a man, or shall I say is made in the image of a man. It is much more muscular than the slender feminine titan that visited London less than a year ago, perhaps taller as well. Its colour is also different, a lighter grey than the UN robot, and it is striated with yellow light, in contrast to the turquoise-veined Themis.

According to early witnesses, the robot appeared out of thin air in the middle of the park. “It wasn’t there, then it was,” said one of the zookeepers. Fortunately, the football pitches at the Hub were deserted at this hour, and not a single casualty has been reported. It is unknown, of course, whether this early appearance was deliberate, as we do not know where this robot came from or who sent it. If this is indeed a robot like Themis, and if it is controlled in the same manner as she is, there could be pilots aboard. If pilots there are, are they Russian, Japanese, or Chinese? Or are they from somewhere else entirely? We can only speculate at this juncture. There might be no one at all in this giant structure. In the four hours it has been standing here, it has not moved an inch.

The Earth Defense Corps (EDC) has yet to issue an official statement. Dr. Rose Franklin, head of the scientific division, was reached in Geneva, where she was to give a speech later this morning. She would not speculate as to the origin of this second robot but has assured us that it is not part of the UN planetary defence. If true, this would suggest that either a second alien robot has been discovered on Earth and kept from us or that this one does not come from our planet. In New York, the EDC has scheduled a press conference for three o’clock London time.

The Earth Defense Corps, which was founded nine years ago by the United Nations following the American discovery of the Themis robot, is tasked with extracting new technologies from the alien artifact for the benefit of mankind and to protect this planet against extraterrestrial threats. Only time will tell if we are facing such a threat today.

No word yet from His Majesty’s Government, but sources say the Prime Minister will address the nation within the hour. The British people will not have to wait to hear from the other side of the aisle. The official opposition was quick to issue a statement earlier today, immediately calling for the Prime Minister to offer some reassurances. Opposition leader Amanda Webb took to the air about an hour ago, saying: “There is an alien device with potentially devastating power standing in the middle of London and all the Prime Minister has seen fit to do is to restrict access to one city park. Can he tell the thirteen million people who live in the Greater London Area that they are safe? If he can, he owes the British people an explanation, and if he can’t, I for one would like to know why we aren’t talking about evacuation.” The former Foreign Secretary went on to suggest that Central London be evacuated first, something that, by her calculation, could be accomplished in an orderly manner in less than forty-eight hours.

Londoners, for their part, appear in no hurry to go anywhere. Perhaps as surprising as the robot’s appearance is the utter nonchalance the population has displayed since. The towering figure is visible from most of London, and while one might expect civic unrest, or a massive exodus from the city, Londoners, for the most part, have gone about their business; many have even made their way towards Regent’s Park to see this new titan up close. The police have closed off the area south of Prince Albert and north of A501 between A41 and Albany Street, but some have managed to escape their attention and found their way into the park. The police even had to evacuate a family that was preparing for a picnic, a mere few steps from the giant metallic feet of the intruder.

It’s hard to blame Londoners for seeing a creature similar to Themis as a friendly figure. They have been told that a race of aliens left her on Earth for our protection. Her metal face and backwards legs are on the telly almost every day and have made the front page of every red top for nearly a decade. There are Themis tee shirts for sale on every corner, and young Londoners have grown up playing with Themis action figures. Themis is a star. Her visit to another one of London’s Royal Parks a year ago felt more like a rock concert than first contact with something from an alien world.

This is a defining moment in the short history of the EDC. The fruit of a very fragile coalition, the organization has been called a public-relations stunt by its detractors. Many have argued that a single robot, no matter how powerful, could not defend a planet against an invader. By adding a second robot to its arsenal, or forging a formal alliance with another race, the EDC would come a long way in silencing its critics.

File No. 1399

Personal Journal Entry—Dr. Rose Franklin, Head of Science Division, Earth Defense Corps

I had a cat. For some reason, no one remembers my having a cat. I’ve been picturing her curled into a ball on the kitchen floor, slowly starving to death while waiting for me to come home. I keep forgetting that Rose Franklin came home that night, that she—the other me—never left. I’m glad my cat didn’t starve, but part of me wishes she’d waited for me by the door. I miss her. My apartment feels incredibly empty without her small presence.

Maybe she died. She wasn’t that old, though. Maybe I got rid of her when my job became too demanding. Maybe she didn’t recognize the person who came home that night pretending to be me and ran away. I wish. She’d probably be afraid of me if she were still around. If there’s a “real” Rose Franklin, chances are I’m not it.

Thirteen years ago, I got into a traffic accident on my way to work. Strangers pulled me out of my car and I woke up on the side of the road, in Ireland, four years later. I hadn’t aged a day.

How is that possible? Did I travel to the future? Was I . . . ​frozen, cryogenized for four years? I’ll probably never know. I can live with that. What I’m having a hard time dealing with is that I wasn’t really gone for those four years. I—someone like me, anyway—was here. Rose Franklin went to work the next day. She did a whole bunch of things during those years. Somehow, she ended up studying the giant metal hand I had fallen onto as a child. She became convinced that there were more giant body parts lying around and devised a method for unearthing them. She pieced together a giant alien robot called Themis. Then she died.

It was a busy four years.

I don’t remember any of it, of course. I wasn’t there. Whoever did all those things died. I know for a fact it wasn’t me me. Rose Franklin was twenty-eight when she was put in charge of the research team studying the hand. She died at thirty. A year later, they found me. I was twenty-seven.

Themis ended up with the United Nations. They created a planetary defense branch, called the EDC, with the robot as its main asset. I wasn’t there for that either. One of me had died. The other hadn’t been found yet. They put me in charge of the EDC research team about a month after I reappeared. The other Rose must have made quite an impression because I was probably the least qualified person for the job. I had never even seen Themis. As far as I was concerned, the last time I had seen any part of her was on my eleventh birthday. They didn’t seem to care. Neither did I. I really wanted the job. I’ve been at it for nine years. Nine years. One would think that would be enough time to get over what happened to me. It’s not. I had four years of catching up to do, and that kept my mind busy for a while. But as I settled into some sort of routine, got more comfortable with my new job, my new life, I became more and more obsessed with who and what I am.

I realize that if I did travel through time, I probably don’t have the knowledge to fully understand it, but there shouldn’t have been two of us. Move an object from point A to point B, logic dictates you won’t find it at point A anymore. Am I a clone? A copy? I can live without knowing what happened to me, but I have to know if I’m . . . ​me. That’s an awful thing to doubt.

I know I don’t belong here, now. I’m . . . ​out of sync. It’s a familiar feeling, now that I think about it. Every so often—maybe two or three times a year—I would get this anxiety rush. I’d usually be really tired, maybe had too much coffee, and I’d start feeling . . . ​I never knew how to describe it. Every second that goes by feels like nails on a chalkboard. It usually lasts a minute or two but it feels like you’re just a tiny bit—half a second or so—out of sync with the universe. I was never able to really explain it, so I don’t know if I’m the only one who ever felt this. I suppose not, but that’s how I feel every minute of every day now, only that half second is getting longer and longer.

I have no real friends, no real relationships. The ones I have are based on experiences I didn’t share, and the ones I lost have been damaged by events I didn’t live through. My mother still calls me every other night. She doesn’t understand that we hadn’t spoken in over a year when I came back. How could she? She’s calling that other person, the one who isn’t still dealing with her father’s loss, the one who everyone liked. The one who died. I haven’t talked to any of my old friends from school, from home. They were at my funeral. That’s such a perfect ending to a relationship, I wouldn’t want to spoil that.

Kara and Vincent are the closest thing I have to friends now, but even after nine years, I’m somewhat . . . ​ashamed of our friendship. I’m an impostor. Their affection for me is based on a lie. They’ve told me what we supposedly went through together and we all pretend that we would have shared the same experiences had the circumstances been different. We keep pretending I’m that other person, and they like me for it.

I don’t know what I am, but I know I’m not . . . ​her. I’m trying to be. Desperately trying. I know that if I could just be her, everything would be all right. But I don’t know her. I have gone over every page of her notes a thousand times, and I still can’t see the world as she did. I see glimpses of myself in some of her journal entries, but those fleeting moments aren’t enough to bring us any closer. She was clever, though; I’m not certain I could do what she did if we were looking for giant body parts today. She must have found some research I don’t know about, probably something that was published while I was “away.” Maybe I’m an imperfect copy. Maybe she was just smarter.

She certainly was more optimistic. She believed—was utterly convinced—that Themis was left here as a gift for us to find in due time, a coming-of-age present left to an adolescent race by a benevolent father figure. Yet they buried all the pieces in the far corners of the Earth, in the most remote of places, even under the ice. I can see why I might get excited by a treasure hunt, but I can’t find a good reason for the added hurdles. My gut tells me these things were hidden . . . ​well, just that. Hidden, as if not to be found.

More than anything, I can’t imagine why anyone, however advanced, would leave behind a robot that, in all likelihood, we wouldn’t be able to use. Anyone with the technology to build one of these things, and to travel light-years to bring it here, would have had the power to adapt the controls to our anatomy. They would have had a mechanic aboard, someone who could fix the robot, or at least MacGyver their way out of small problems. All it would really take is their version of a screwdriver to turn the knee braces around so we could use them. They couldn’t have expected us to mutilate ourselves in order to pilot this thing.

I’m a scientist, and I have no proof for any of this, but neither did the other Rose when she assumed the opposite. Without evidence, even Occam’s razor should never have led me in that direction.

The irony is that they built this entire program based on my findings. If I had told them how scared I am of what will come, they never would have given me the freedom to do what I’m doing now. The lab is the only place I find comfort in and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for Themis, to be in her company every day. I feel drawn to her. She isn’t of this world either. She doesn’t belong here any more than I do. We’re both out of place and out of time, and the more I learn about her, the closer I feel to understanding what really happened to me.

I know everyone is worried about me. My mother told me she would pray for me. You don’t do that for someone who’s doing great. I didn’t want to upset her, so I said thank you. My faith has never been really strong, but even if it were, I know there’s no God coming to help me. There’s no redemption for what I’ve done. I should be dead. I died. I was brought back by what I assume is advanced technology, but you might as well call it witchcraft. Not too long ago, the Church would have burned someone like me.

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Waking Gods (Themis Files Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for an advanced copy of Waking Gods! It's been a few hours since I finished this book and I am still reeling from the experience of reading Waking Gods! Like Sleeping Giants, the sequel is told from interviews, personal logs, news stories, transcriptions, etc. I have to say that I really enjoyed this format as you never knew what the next page was going to bring or how. The story begins with a second giant robot appearing in London ten years after the events of Sleeping Giants ends. The nameless interviewer (my favorite character), Dr. Rose Franklin, and pilots Kara and Vincent, are all back to try to save the world from a possible alien invasion. I read most of this book in one day because I could hardly put it down and when I did, it was usually because of a huge twist or a gut punch that made me want to throw my ereader. My heart was pounding through the entire book as the intensity never slowed... Not for even a few minutes. Constant action coupled with twists and turns and reveals made for a mind blowing experience! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and found myself holding my breath over and over again. We do get all the answers we hoped for and then some. And once again... Neuvel gave us another ending that better have another book waiting in the wings. Incredible read! Waking Gods will most definitely will be in my top favorites for 2017.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and different kind of read. Extremely well done! Can't wait for next installment!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling, interesting, never boring, fantastic! An amazing follow up book that kept me hooked the entire time! Love it!
Anonymous 12 months ago
Good stuff, giant robots from outer space !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
Freaking awesome! Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel is the second book in the series and I didn't think it possible for the author to make a better book than book one but he did! What an epic story!!! I loved the first book and this doesn't let the fans down. The giant robot is back but now there are more but they don't friendly. There is so much action, twists, surprises, and suspense I had to stay up at night to finish the book. I couldn't sleep not knowing what was happening! This is definitely in my favorites! The same characters are back and the we get to know them more and deeper than ever. The plot is so complex and twisted, it just keeps you guessing. I loved it! So many surprises! Especially the ending! Oh my! This series is a must read! Do yourself a favor and start with book one, you don't want to miss out on anything! Fantastic! Thanks you NetGalley and Sylvain Neuvel for letting me read this awesome book! This is a 10 Star book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was just an excellent followup novel to sleeping giants. I enjoyed the extended mythology and where the story is going. I'm excited the next book is coming next year, time to preorder.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I had so much fun reading this book! I recently listened to the first book in this series so I was pretty eager to fit this book into my reading schedule. It turned out to be one of those books that are almost impossible to put down. Every time I would tell myself that I was just going to read one more chapter something would happen in the story and one more chapter just wouldn't be enough. I ended up reading the whole book in a single day and enjoyed every minute of it. This book picks up ten years the events of the first book. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since it really is a continuation of the same larger story. Due to the nature of the series, there may be some spoilers for the first book in this review. If you haven't read the first book yet and plan to, I would recommend trying not to read anything about the later books in the series in order to avoid spoilers. Things have been pretty calm for the Themis team since the events of the previous book. That changes quickly when a second giant robot shows up in the middle of London. It doesn't really do anything at first but its presence alone seems threatening enough. The world is at a loss as to what they should do about it and fear what the robot is planning. Events get exciting really quickly and there may be more danger than they ever imagined. All of the characters from the first book are back for this installment. Since I recently listened to the audio of the first book, I had their voices in my head as I read through the journal entries, interviews, and reports. I think that this really added to the enjoyment of the story for me. Rose, Kara, and Vincent all have personal issues to deal with in this book in addition to the world events. There are some new characters that make an appearance and add to the story as well. I would recommend this series to others. It is a really great mix of characters cast in an incredibly exciting story. The book is told in such an interesting manner through journal entries, interviews, and documents. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this exciting series! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
Waking Gods is the second book in the Themis Files series. Like the first book it’s told completely in interview and journal format. I listened to the audio again, and the full cast was really good, only there was a new Kara. I was kind of bummed. She was my favorite character and the original narrator did an amazing job. Anyway…about the book. There is decent advancement of the plot in this book. We learn a lot more about the aliens and the Earthen characters. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the first book. Again, I think second books are hard. The first book blew my mind, but there wasn’t any of that in this book since I kind of already knew what was going on. There is a new character in this book who is kind of annoying, but also pretty wonderful. I don’t want to say too much in case you haven’t read the first book yet, but I enjoyed this book as well. I know I’ll go back and re-listen to both books before the third one comes out. I’m so glad I bought both books on Audible. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-waking-gods-by-sylvain-neuvel/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite a page turner!
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
VERDICT: How similar or different are we from aliens? This novel proposes an answer with dreadful consequences. I really enjoyed Sleeping Giants last year, the first book in the Themis series, so I eagerly seized the opportunity to read Waking Gods, the 2nd volume. Waking Gods adopts the same unusual and attractive format and structure as Sleeping Giants, each chapter being presented like a document, whether an interview, or a log, or a diary. Note also the cool titles and covers! I enjoy how the titles evolve with the plot, and I’m really curious to know what the next title will be! There are again interesting international dynamics. These can be essential in a time of crises. One important difference between both volumes: the shift at one point for the mysterious interviewer, but I won’t give spoilers. The book opens up with Eva, a young girl having strange dreams or rather visions. What’s her connection? How important is she to the story? I liked her character and the reason she’s there. The book takes place about ten years after the previous one: we now know what this giant metallic hand was: a body part of a huge robot, that humans finally put together and learned to operate. But why was it on earth? Now even more mysterious, more huge robots show up in London and then in all major cities of the world. Are they related to Themis? Were they made and sent by the same people? Why for? The plot raises interesting questions about origin, destiny and mission of life. But with all that’s going on in our world today, I realize this was actually not the best timing for me to read a book where millions are killed all over the world. Also I thought the genetic element at the center of the story was a bit convoluted and it didn’t really work well for me. Plus, I thought there were too many technical details about genetics. The very last line of the book promises interesting premises for book three, but depending on the mood, I may or may not try it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waking Gods is the second book of the Themis Files Trilogy. I thought the first book, Sleeping Giants was a solid read with a compelling story. I did end the first book intrigued and wanting more. Waking Gods surpassed my expectations in every way. I feel that this book had more twists, excitement and better pacing than the first book. I highly recommend this book. I am all in and hooked! I very much look forward to the third book in the trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get writing . ..
tpolen More than 1 year ago
If you're a sci-fi fan and haven't read this highly imaginative series yet - it's your loss. Although this book didn't captivate me quite as much as the first, it's still an engaging read and a worthy followup. This book takes place nine years after Sleeping Giants and reacquaints the reader with returning characters and their activities during this time, and introduces a couple of new integral characters. Where the first book is all about discoveries and learning what Themis is capable of, Waking Gods is more action-oriented, with the opportunity to use Themis for her intended purpose. That being said, don't assume that's all this book is about - there are some shocking twists and surprises that left my mouth gaping. I didn't settle in with this book until about 25% mark - it moved at a slower pace, but quickly picked up after that. Like the first book, Waking Gods is told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles - a format that is done very well. With the ending, I'm assuming there will be at least one more book in this series - and I'll be eagerly anticipating its release. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
ShesGoingBookCrazy More than 1 year ago
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Another massive robot has arrived in London. They call it Chronos. It's bigger than Themis, and no one knows what it wants... ----------------------------------------------- Wow, I enjoyed Waking Gods a lot more than Sleeping Giants. Not that its predecessor was bad, I just didn't find the story as engaging. This series is very technical, and has a lot of background scientific information which needs to be waded through in Sleeping Giants in order to make way for the action. The continuation of the story takes place ten years after the first book. Almost immediately, a new giant makes its appearance, and begins wreaking havoc on London. Unfortunately, he's only one of the first. The team constructed by the unnamed interviewer scrambles to try and figure out how to stop the genocide of mankind, literally standing at their doorsteps. "This is why I wish we...I...had never found Themis. They're here. Her family's here, now." The characters we met in Sleeping Giants take overwhelming steps toward complexity. I wasn't expecting some of them to go as deep into their emotions as they did. Unfortunately, there are a lot of casualties in this book, including some of the more interesting characters (in my opinion), and we only get to know so much about them. I would suggest not to get too attached to anyone... "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." I've discovered that there are a few drawbacks to this writing style---using a dossier to tell the story---It tends to leave a lot out. There is a lot of undisclosed information that I'm dying to know more about. Also, some of the live action parts aren't explained in full. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action, but at times I felt lost to the setting, and what exactly was happening around me. Lastly, the time frame would sometimes jump drastically from one entry to the next. I felt like my body was shifting along with the story, but my mind was left back in time. Overall, this was a great story. There are several facets, angles, agendas, and wars of all shapes and sizes interfering with one another. Despite everyone's differences, they are working towards one goal: keeping mankind alive. Vulgarity: Quite a bit. Sexual content: Minimal. Violence: Minimal. 4 stars.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Sleeping Giants was one of my favorite books 2016 so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Waking Gods. I flew through the first half of the novel and absolutely loved it. Then I hit the second half. Most of what I loved from the first book shifted to the background, leaving behind a faster-paced, more action oriented novel. What had set this series apart for me originally was that it was very character based. All of these incredible science fiction events would occur, but the focus was on how the events affected the characters. Additionally, I loved seeing how the characters developed over the course of the book. That being said, Waking Gods is not bad, it was just different. While it was an unexpected surprise, I did really enjoy the book. More so than the previous ones, this was first contact science fiction. I thought that the reactions of the various characters and government agencies were well-developed (and scarily accurate). The plot did jump around a bit toward the end, which made for a slightly disjointed reading experience. There was one subplot that really intrigued me and I can’t wait to see what the author does with it in the next book. Overall, this book was good. Had it been a little longer and developed the plot and the characters a bit more, it would have been great. I still adore the storytelling style and the overall story though. I have grown very attached to all of the characters, which is a testament to the quality of the writing. Did I like Waking Gods as much as Sleeping Giants? No. Did I still like it? Yes, very much so. And, after the set-up in this one, I think I’ll like the third installment even more. *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel is the highly recommended second book in the Themis Files Series which began with Sleeping Giants. It is important to read these books in the order in which they were written. In the prologue we hear from a new character named Eva Reyes: "They keep telling me it’s normal to have bad dreams. But I know they’re not dreams. I have them when I’m awake now. I saw it again today at school, and I started screaming. It’s the same one I’ve been having for months. Everyone’s dead. There are thousands of them, dead on the streets, a whole city filled with corpses. I see my parents lying in blood inside our house. I haven’t told them that part. Today there was something new. I saw a robot, like Themis, a big metal woman falling into the clouds." The Earth Defense Corps members, including physicist Rose Franklin, are still studying the advanced technology found in the giant robot named Themis, while Army pilot Kara Resnik and Quebecois linguist Vincent Couture are becoming more adroit at moving/controlling the robot. It was thought that Themis was left on Earth to protect humankind from future invasion. This theory is tested when a giant robot suddenly appears in London and subsequently wipes out a wide swath of the city. While they were somewhat successful in the aftermath of the attack, how will they handle the many robots landing in large cities worldwide? These new robots have arrived with a new way to exterminate millions of people. The narrative is again told through an epistolary compilation of interviews, news items, and official journal entries. The mysterious interrogator/examiner is back, discussing events and actions with the characters. The development of the characters is though these interviews and journal entries and is surprisingly effective for the most part. Some more surprising information is revealed in these almost matter-of-fact entries. The complex plot moves quickly forward and the action is very fast-paced due to the way the novel is written, which allows the facts to be succinctly presented. While new questions arise, some previous questions from Sleeping Giants are answered. Waking Gods is the second in the series and does suffer a bit from second-in-a-series syndrome with some plot points cleared up but many new ones left opened and unanswered. Still, there are giant robots arriving in cities and being piloted by aliens with some nefarious plans. And there are new scientific facts learned as well as many startling personal revelations. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House Publishing.
AlabamaGal More than 1 year ago
Again, any book read in one sitting gets an automatic 5 looks. I was a little hesitant to read this one without refamiliarizing myself with the first in the series, "Sleeping Giants", but no fear. While it would have been a bit richer to build on the characterizations of the main players, it was not necessary to dive right into the story. Enough background was provided to jog my memory. However, I do recommend reading these in sequence. I remembered the first book being quite the exciting rollercoaster ride, and this was the same. Written in epistolary form, the science fiction-heavy story is made personal and easy to follow. I am not a huge fan of science fiction because I get bogged down in the science, unfamiliar words, and implausibility of the scenarios. Neuvel makes this science fiction feel very real and possible, and brings the genre home to readers like me. A few of my fave lines: Scientists are like children: They always want to know everything, they all ask too many questions, and they never follow orders to the letter. Believing you're the only person with their head on straight is usually not a sign of good mental health.
Jill-Elizabeth_dot_com More than 1 year ago
This is such a marvelous series! I read the first book when it came out, and have been eagerly waiting for the sequel – there was a rather huge cliffhanger (handled very well), and if that wasn’t enough, I was just plain curious to see where the exceedingly talented Mr. Neuvel would take his story… Well, he took it in a startling direction – startling, but not entirely unanticipated. That isn’t to say that it was at ALL stereotypical or predictable. Rather, that if one gave thought to the assumptions generated by the first book (sorry to be vague, but spoilers are the death of great books, and I won’t risk them), the direction of this one would be one of a number of likely options. But the fact of that direction/the major plot line here is not the point – the point is entirely in the execution and the details, and that is where this series is so exceptional… If you are not familiar with the series, check out the book blurb for Sleeping Giants, the first in the series. Given how things ended, I was not sure what on earth (that’s a rather silly pun, if you’re familiar with the series at all) to expect – but it wasn’t this. Things have heated up rather significantly between books one and two – years have passed, seemingly in the blink of an eye. That’s rather how time passes in these books all the time – there are no benchmarks for time, no sense of whether Themis was found in the past, present, or future, no sense of how much time elapses between the various “files” that comprise the story. This is one of the things I like – and also find frustrating. I do think it’s smart, especially in a series and in science fiction, to avoid dating your story (hello, 2001: A Space Odyssey…) since that can create expectations (and disappointments) when the “future” comes and goes. It is challenging, however, to keep things straight without any explicit internal timeline in a complex and ever-developing story like this one. The text of each file does always explain the time-lapse, but the jumps are often uneven in duration and the timeline can be difficult to maintain if you read speedily like I do (I flip back and forth a bit in these books). Still, it’s not at all a distraction – it contributes to the feeling of authenticity in the “series of files” format. Interestingly enough, this format has never been an issue for me. Generally speaking, I do NOT like epistolary or non-traditional narratives – I usually find them jumpy and difficult, and rarely am I able to really lose my self in the story when it is presented that way. Not so at ALL here. Despite the unusual format and varying styles of each “chapter”/”file”, somehow the whole thing comes perfectly together into a coherent narrative that tells a most compelling story about a brilliant and extraordinarily well-developed cast of characters facing a set of wild circumstances utterly beyond their control. This is an excellent series – beautifully crafted, insightful in its exploration of the dark side of humanity (and its responses to dark events), and utterly original. I’ve read alien stories before. I’ve read discovery stories before. I’ve read end of the world stories before. I’ve read “let’s learn who we are through strife and conflict” stories before. But I’ve never read a story that comprises all of those concepts into one unified tale full of science and miracles, despair and possibility. And wait until you get a load of the cliffhanger THIS TIME… If you haven’t read Sleeping Giants yet, st
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
In THE SLEEPING GIANTS (Book 1), Rose Franklin discovered a giant hand that turned out to be a piece of a giant and very futuristic robot. This prompted her to devote her adult life to learning about this giant and its purpose in her world. In WAKING GODS, Rose is now an adult. Her world has become even more dangerous, as giant robots, even larger than the one she had discovered, start materializing in all the major cities of the world. When the threat of these giants is discovered and millions are killed, Rose finds she must be the one to save the human race. But how? Once again, Sylvain Neuvel has created an intriguing and suspenseful novel that the reader cannot put down. Using only journal entries, recorded minutes from Parliament, interviews, surveillance logs, and other official records as the sole means of providing the narration of this story, the author lends a sense of both reality and urgency to this tale. This method of narration really puts the reader into the middle of the drama, creating a sense of stress and anxiety. This novel, peopled with realistic, life-like characters, provides the reader with pure escapism. This amazingly-creative tome is what readers look for in reading! I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rosemary-Standeven More than 1 year ago
I loved “Sleeping Giants” and had very high expectations of “Waking Gods”. I was not disappointed. This sequel is every bit as good and thought provoking as the first book. Many of the characters from “Sleeping Giants” reappear – including some you thought you had seen the last of. Rose Franklin is back from the dead, missing four years of her life and bewildered. Gradually, she – and we – find out how and why (sort of) she is alive. The mysterious interviewer is still interviewing and directing operations, though he is no longer so all-powerful. He remains nameless, but eventually we get to know something about him as a person. Kara and Vincent are successfully operating the metallic giant robot, Themis, under the auspices of the international UN run Earth Defence Corps (EDC). The most important of the new characters is Eve, who starts the book. Eve is 10 years old and sees dead people – everywhere. The significance and reality of Eve’s visions becomes horrifyingly clear as the story progresses. The tone of part one of “Waking Gods” is quite different to that of either “Sleeping Giants” or the remainder of this book. It is quite light-hearted and at times downright hilarious, despite the unfolding tragedy. Another giant metallic figure has appeared in Regent’s Park, London. The author has the locals’ reaction to a tee: “Londoners, for their part, appear in no hurry to go anywhere. Perhaps as surprising as the robot’s appearance is the utter nonchalance the population has displayed since”. I doubt that any Brit could better portray these scenes than the author has done. I had to read his biography to check that he was not British. Unfortunately for London, and the rest of the world, from part 2 onwards, the humour stopped and things got deadly serious. The pace increased – as did the numbers of giants. The race was on to work out why they were here, what they wanted, and how to get rid of them – before the entire human race was annihilated. In “Sleeping Giants” the ‘lesson’ was on arithmetic base 8, here it is an introduction to genetics and genealogy, presented by the psychopathic Alyssa. Genetically targeted pathogens have been occasionally mooted as potential biological weapons. This book points out why, apart from the obvious moral proscriptions against their use (regarding ethnic cleansing), they would be unwieldy and uncontrollable. The book also looks at the futility of torture as a means to obtaining information, and ponders how far governments should (could) go to ‘protect’ their people. What are ‘acceptable’ losses? Is overt ‘friendly fire’ ever justified? And even more importantly, what makes us human? As with “Sleeping Giants” there are many philosophical and moral quandaries to ponder. You could ignore the ponderables, and just read this book as an exciting scifi alien vs human war, but that would leave out much that makes this book truly great. The book ends on another cliff-hanger, and I can hardly wait for the next thrilling instalment. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sylvan takes us to where humanity is struggling to survive against impossible odds while backing what it means to be human or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has action, drama, funny! Recommend