Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel | Book Review

Waking Gods book cover

Waking Gods is the sequel to book one in the Themis Files, Sleeping Giants, which I read, loved and reviewed last year. Second books have a reputation for being not quite as good as the first; they can come off as fillers or as setups for book three, which can leave them a bit slow and dry and disappointing. Waking Gods was not that. I adored it. It was even better than the first.

In book one, a giant alien robot, named Themis, was discovered in pieces all over the world. A research team was pulled together to try to figure out how to control the massive machine and find clues as to who had left it on Earth. Book two is set 10 years on from where the previous tale left off. A massive new alien robot has appeared in the centre of London – all in one piece and looking incredibly threatening. The world panics. Themis’ dated technology is no match for the new enormous robot, and it looks like huge swathes of the planet’s population is set to die, unless scientist Dr Rose Franklin can get to the bottom of the alien visit.

Waking Gods is fast-paced and chockfull of drama. Like Sleeping Giants, it’s told via a series of voice logs, interviews, reports and articles, which allows the plot to move along at a roaring pace. It’s a bit less dry than the first book, however; there’s more humour and the main characters seem to really open up. The personalities of the protagonists come alive and I found myself really growing attached to them, which is almost a shame because some of them met some brutal plot twists…

The concept of the Themis Files is so unique and captivating, but I loved how much was at stake in Waking Gods – the entire world is at risk and comes incredibly close to near-complete destruction. What I also loved is that the plotline was fully completed. Sure, there’s a cheeky cliffhanger at the end which gives us a tiny hint as to what may be to come in the next book, but the main plot was concluded soundly. This book could easily be read as a standalone without you needing to know what came before and what comes next. But naturally, I have to know what comes next because I’m absolutely hooked.

It’s a big, massive, giant robot thumbs-up from me.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. She has published two short story collections - 'Merry Bloody Christmas' and 'Come What May Day'. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition. She can often be found loitering on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott).

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