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Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
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9723124,414 (3.98)4



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In this follow-up to Sleeping Giants, fast forward 10 years from the final scene of the last book. Suddenly more giant alien robots, similar to Themis, begin appearing around the world, and it seems more likely than not that they are hostile. But with obviously superior technology, what are the inferior earthly humans supposed to do?

This second book follows a similar format as the first, written as a series of interviews, broadcasts, diary entries, etc. While this format is not always transitionally fluid, it works well enough. There seems to be more action in this book, as well as the addition of new characters and the removal of others, sometimes rather suddenly and without warning. It's a bit unrealistic at times, but it is science fiction after all.

While I wouldn't say I absolutely loved it as some readers do, I did enjoy it and it's a fast-paced, action-filled story, lending itself easily to a forthcoming book #3. My biggest regret is that I did not read either of these books on audio, as according to many listeners, that medium appears to really add to this story. ( )
  indygo88 | May 12, 2017 |
This is a very entertaining book of the NOW. It is written in the form of short bursts of information--interviews, journal entries, mission logs, report excerpts, etc.--that mimic the brevity of Internet content. Most of the leading characters, the heroes who save the planet, are female. There are elements of Star Trek and Star Wars. Yet the novel is unique and quite satisfying, for it combines being a thriller with profound questions of life and death, homo sapiens on Earth, the nature of motherhood, and genetic history, among other topics. There is a vast amount of scientific and technical information presented in a tale of huge, deadly, alien robots--200 feet tall--invading our planet. There is nothing to stop them--or is there. One of the heroines became celebrated for finding pieces of yet another alien robot hidden all over our planet; she then has the talent to assemble what becomes Earth's chief defender. Naturally, there must be a battle between good and evil, between Themis (the good robot) and the invaders. In addition, there is the alien civilization that has launched the invasion; could they be restrained by their version of the Prime Directive? My two issues with the novel are firstly, that a key discussion of genetic probability needs to be better articulated so it can be more readily understood; it needs to be explained better and simplified. Secondly, the terse prose style of the novel, with its short bursts, gives the book a flatness; it deserves a more fully rounded emotional core. That said, Waking Gods is definitely worth reading and quite a spectacular achievement of the imagination. ( )
  neddludd | May 10, 2017 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED: https://bibliomantics.com/2017/05/08/my-year-in-reading-cassie-las-april-2017-wrap-up/

The follow up to last year’s Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods is even more exciting and action packed than its predecessor. At least until every interesting POV character dies, then things kind of stall in a not-so-spectacular manner. Set ten years after the events of the first novel, Waking Gods answers some lingering questions and explores the unthinkable: a global alien attack. ( )
  yrchmonger | May 8, 2017 |
Stylistic experiment doesn't work

Writers not uncommonly set themselves to compose in the style of another writer. I have known situations (more often in the UK) where this can actually be a mildly competitive sport.

Sylvain Neuvel has undertaken to write this series as dispatches, files, and interviews, rather than in normal prose. I find the result less than impressive. The style lacks the immediacy of prose, reports are by necessity written after an event so the reader receives cues about the timeline that detract from suspense, and interviews, however informative, are not dialogue.

This is an interesting exercise but the resulting books do not work as novels.

I received a review copy of "Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files" by Sylvain Neuvel (Random House – Ballantine) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | May 5, 2017 |
I wasn't falling over myself in love with the first book in this trilogy, Sleeping Giants, but without anticipating an oh-my-god read with this one, I enjoyed it more than the first book.

The mysteries from the first book are explored in this one -- the meaning of the alien technology and the purpose for the abandoned machine now named Themis.

Whereas the first book felt more intimate, in a way, being focused on the four or five characters involved in researching this alien technology and what that research does to them, this book pulls back and starts looking at the global implications.

There are still four main characters we see things through, who give the story some heart, but much of the story is focused externally -- and with good reason. An alien robot lands in London at the start of the novel, similar to Themis but not the same, and our heroes have to scramble to figure out what the meaning of this visit is -- and if they can use Themis to protect Earth.

Man, this is a lukewarm review and I really don't mean it to be! I just don't want to give away anything from the first book or this one, so I'm being super vague. Basically, it's more of what was great about the first book: the "epistolary" style of found documents through which the story unfolds, cinematic catastrophe, and a wonderfully provocative kind of "what if" sense woven throughout. I can't wait for the final book to see how things shake out. ( )
  unabridgedchick | May 4, 2017 |
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