Thursday, March 30, 2017

Waking Gods

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Random House Publishing: 4/4/17
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101886724
Themis Files Series #2

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.

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