Friday, October 05, 2018

Fiction Review: Waking Gods

I finally read Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, book 2 in his series, The Themis Files, and I enjoyed it just as much as book 1. My husband and I both love this series and were bowled over by the first book, Sleeping Giants, last year. Now, we've both finished book 2, and I just gave him book 3, Only Human, for his birthday yesterday! We are both eager to continue this unique, riveting series. This review will be big on enthusiasm but short on details, since both of the first two books were filled with lots of surprising plot twists that are best discovered on your own.

Eleven-year old Rose is riding her bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls into a big hole in the ground. When rescuers find her, she is in the bottom of a big pit, lying in a giant metal robot hand. The sides of the rectangular pit are surrounded with huge panels, with strange symbols all over them, glowing in an eerie turquoise-colored light. The first novel, Sleeping Giants, opens 17 years later, when Rose is a grown-up scientist, Dr. Rose Franklin, who now studies the hand and its panels (listen to the audio sample below). It was immediately clear to scientists that these things had not come from Earth, and further study confirms that the metal and other materials are otherworldly. So much happens in book 1, but to give any of it away would be a spoiler. So, I can't say too much about book 2, except that many (but not all) of the characters from book 1 are back, and the alien presence on Earth is far more pronounced.

Much of the plot in this second book revolves around how to respond to an alien presence and the way that governments around the world (and the newly-formed Earth Defense Corps) react. They want to show they desire peace, but they don't want to appear weak, in case the aliens' intent is destructive. Any one nation - or person - acting out of fear could threaten the safety of the entire world. As with Sleeping Giants, the story is told in an epistolary style, through journals, news reports, and interviews, and it delves into some thought-provoking issues about our own world today, with all sorts of ethical questions popping up as leaders around the world scramble to deal with this new potential threat. More secrets are revealed, more plot twists occur that you will never see coming, more questions arise, and the novel ends with the best last line ever! I can't wait to read book 3 in this exciting, action-packed, and thoughtful series.

322 pages, Del Rey

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Listen to a sample of the audio book of Sleeping Giants (the Waking Gods sample gave away too much). I wondered if this style of novel would be confusing on audio, but it is a full-cast production and sounds wonderful! Just listen to the sample, and you'll be hooked...

You can purchase Sleeping Giants or  Waking Gods from an indie bookstore (locally or online):
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Or order Sleeping Giants or Waking Gods from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. It's so much fun when you love a series and how fun that you and your husband get to share it!

    1. Yes! I rarely read series, so it is fun to get into one. And my husband and I don't always read the same sorts of books, but we do enjoy swapping mysteries, thrillers, and sci fi!