Waking Gods by Slyvain Neuvel
Published by Del Rey
Publication Date : April 4th, 2017
Available as eBook & hardback – 320 Pages
Source : NetGalley (Thank You!)
Note! If you’d rather listen, a video review will be up on my YouTube channel! Link available in the sidebar!
Last year I did a review of Sleeping Giants, the first book in the Themis Files series and really, really enjoyed it. It was a hell of a lot of fun and the giant robot book I’d always wanted to see. There were mixed reviews on it, but for me it was a solid yes. The second book picks up some time after the ending of Waking Gods (and what an ending that was), introducing us back into our logs, interviews, and journal entries.
The format of the book, something I know some people didn’t jive with (which is totally understandable) is a modern day epistolary novel. We get pieces of documents and recordings to tell us the story, no real traditional ‘he said, she said’. I totally dig that, it works for me. Of course I’m a lover of epistolary novels to begin with. It can give you a distance from the characters that, for me, works in it’s favor. I see the flaws they have as well as their merits. So for me the characters in the Themis Files are very three dimensional. We get the same cast to begin with that we had with book one. We get one very big addition later and a smaller one early, but we get those same big four we ended with. And they continue to grow in very big ways, so development is not an issue.
The pacing is the perfect example of that overused phrase “That escalated quickly”. The book starts at a run, with more giant robots showing up. That’s the only spoiler you’re going to get here since it does happen within the first few segments, but yeah, we get more giant robots. Quite a few. A bit complaint I heard from the first book was that it was slow or nothing really happened. For that I say, keep reading guys. The death toll on this one is higher. Way, way higher. Days after finishing it, I was thinking, Waking Gods felt like the first half of a ‘get the gang together’ movie. Waking Gods is the explosion, fight filled second half. And boy did we get those explosions.
Finally, does the sequel live up too and improve on the first? I think it does. The story starts to accelerate and we get more of what we want to see. Giant robots, action, and maybe more alien information! We get our same characters, but begin to see a wider view of the world and see the ramifications of what happened in book one. It also leaves us with questions that aren’t answered but are satisfied with what we have. The only thing I can fault the book for is entirely spoilery related. But an event happens that jarred my reading of our narrator just a touch. A change occurred, but with time I’m confident that will smooth out. Overall this is one I really, really recommend you try. Even if Waking Gods was a bit slow or off for you this one is worth getting into! Borrow it from a friend, or a library because this is a series you can’t drop out of early.
P.S. Holy Giant Robots. That ending. THAT ENDING, WHY?