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Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files Hardcover – April 4, 2017
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Advance praise for Waking Gods
“Kick-ass, one-on-one robot action combines with mind-bending scientific and philosophical speculation. Series science-fiction fans will enjoy this follow-up filled with unexpected revelations and a surprise finale.”—Booklist
“Pure, unadulterated literary escapism featuring giant killer robots and the looming end of mankind. In a word: unputdownable.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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)
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.
Top customer reviews
Although the mystery of the robot is certainly one of the key aspects of the story, it is Neuvel’s exceptional characters though that truly made Sleeping Giants the masterpiece that it was. From the absolute genius of Rose Franklin, to the aggressive wit of Kara Resnick, to the gifted linguist Vincent Couture, the very disturbed Ryan Mitchell, and linking them all, the Unknown Man who talks to them all, gathering their stories, providing resources, and most importantly, subtle advice when most needed.
Waking Gods continues the documentary structure of Sleeping Giants, each chapter being another recording, interview or mission file etc, between the various main characters, unveiling more of the puzzle with each record. In this fashion, it allows the reader to try and piece together what is going on, and although for some, it might seem disjointed, Neuvel moves from one file to the next with such consummate ease, that the story flows naturally and you find yourself completely engaged.
Waking Gods picks up nearly a decade after the events of Sleeping Giants, the EDC has been formed, Vincent and Kara are happily being paraded around with Themis, and the newly resurrected Rose has been made the head of science of the project. I do not want to give away spoilers for this book, it needs to be read and enjoyed in its entirety, so I will let you discover what has occurred to Rose. Needless to say that Sleeping Giants did end on a rather amazing cliff hanger.
Without giving too much away, I will say that the story does pick up when a new giant appears in the middle of London.
It just appears, out of nowhere, no noise, no ship, no announcement. It is bigger, different, but it is obviously from the same place as Themis.
Neuvel then gives us a brilliant story that is easily an equal of Sleeping Giants, with plenty of action, enough emotion to leave you spent for days, and yet another book that will be a highlight of the year of Sci-Fi.
His characters have returned, all the favourites, and a couple of new ones (the Brigadier General in charge of the EDC is easily my favourite in this entire book!), but one of the things that I really found interesting was the technology and science. Neuvel has done a remarkable amount of research for his story, so that when his characters are talking, they use accurate terminology, so it is believable and realistic. It gave so much extra depth to the story, especially when his characters are already so exceptionally good.
This is an outstanding sequel to a book that was going to be difficult to beat. If you read the first, you absolutely must read Waking Gods, and if you haven't read either, do yourself a favour, go find somewhere quite for several hours, and read two of the best Sci-Fi books you will read in the past couple of years.
Needless to say, my expectations for Wakings Gods were set very very. . .very high. How high? I expected Waking Gods to be my Book Of The Year for 2017 and the final, yet to be named, Book 3 to be my Book Of The Year for 2018. I know, really high expectations. But based on the storyline and the style of writing with Sleeping Giants, that did not seem unrealistic of me.
One of the things that really caught my eye with Sleeping Giants was the cover. There was the square cutout on the dust jacket with art printed on the actual hardback book. I am so happy they did that again with Waking Gods, but instead of a square cutout they did a triangle one. The color scheme is different, Waking Gods having a yellow theme to it while Sleeping Giants was turquoise. The artwork below the dust jacket is beautiful. I do wish they would have put more artwork on the back of the actual book, just like in Sleeping Giants, but they did not. There are stars there, but no robot artwork.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that Waking Gods will be my Book Of The Year for 2017. Don’t get me wrong: it is a very good story. But it didn’t wow me like Sleeping Giants did.
Waking Gods does not pick up right where Sleeping Giants ended. It actually starts nine years after the events of Sleeping Giants, but most of the book takes place ten years after Sleeping Giants.
Waking Gods suffers from what I am going to call the Ernest Cline syndrome. Ernest Cline made a huge splash with Ready Player One and the bar he set with that book was very high. Many people, including myself, expected another book of that caliber. Some will argue he succeeded and others will say he failed with his next book Armada. Sleeping Giants was Sylvain Neuvel’s debut and he made a huge splash with it. The movie rights were actually bought before the story rights were picked up. But how do you follow up a story like that? How can you meet the expectations you set with book one? It is a monumental and scary task.
Waking Gods is told in the same format as Sleeping Giants, mainly interviews and transcripts. One thing Neuvel did more this time was having more than the two people speaking in a chapter, but he does a great job of making it easy to following along with who is speaking.
This format is what really makes this series stand out among all the other stories out there. Before Sleeping Giants, I had never read anything like this. I know there are other books out there that might be written in the same format, but I had not read them and this style was new to me. It was exciting. Fun. I could not stop reading. For about thirty-six hours I ate, slept, and drank Sleeping Giants.
The audiobook for Waking Gods is amazing. I’d venture to say that it is actually better than the audiobook of Sleeping Giants. There are parts of the story when characters are talking to each other through a walkie-talkie (do people still say that or do they just say radio?). During these parts in the audio version, there is an added effect so the person sounds like they are talking through a walkie-talkie.
As I read and listened to the story, I realized that I prefered to listen to Waking Gods. It is a good story, it just isn’t great. I didn’t always feel like I needed to read what was coming next. I didn’t always feel like I needed to find reasons to read or to take reading breaks at work while other people took smoke breaks. There were times when I actually decided that playing a game on the Playstation sounded more fun. Now there were times I needed to know what happened next, but more times than not, I was ok if I could only read one chapter during the day.
There are some moments that did make me drop my jaw and want to throw the book. Not because it was bad, but because Neuvel did something that I didn’t think he would do. I wish I could mention them but they would be major spoilers.
That is one thing that I have enjoyed with this series so far: it is not predictable. Neuvel has always done a great job with the twists in his stories. There are two major instances during Waking Gods where this happened, and I actually emailed him about them. One of them was explained a little later in the book, but they were major enough that I needed to let him know what I thought.
Waking Gods at times felt too long. I don’t know why, but it kind of felt like it could have been a novella instead of a novel.
Overall, if you enjoyed Sleeping Giants and want to know where the story is going next, pick up Waking Gods. Don’t do what I did, don’t set the bar so high that no matter what Neuvel wrote, it wouldn’t be good enough. The story is good and I believe it is setting up an explosive end to the series. I have no idea where he is going to go with the story. Book 3 will definitely be a surprise to me and I can’t wait to read it when it comes out in 2018.
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