Book review: Waking Gods

Waking Gods
Themis Files #2

Waking Gods

Sylvain Neuvel
Del Rey Books/Random House

US Release date:
April 4, 2017
also available as ebook




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And here to my second scifi novel of the month! After the classic reviewed yesterday, here is a brand new one. I really enjoyed Sleeping Giants last year, the first book in the Themis series, so I eagerly seized the opportunity to read Waking Gods, the 2nd volume.

Waking Gods adopts the same unusual and attractive format and structure as Sleeping Giants, each chapter being presented like a document, whether an interview, or a log, or a diary. Note also the cool titles and covers! I enjoy how the titles evolve with the plot, and I’m really curious to know what the next title will be!

There are again interesting international dynamics. These can be essential in a time of crises.

One important difference between both volumes: the shift at one point for the mysterious interviewer, but I won’t give spoilers.
The book opens up with Eva, a young girl having strange dreams or rather visions. What’s her connection? How important is she to the story? I liked her character and the reason she’s there.

The book takes place about ten years after the previous one: we now know what this giant metallic hand was: a body part of a huge robot, that humans finally put together and learned to operate. But why was it on earth?
Now even more mysterious, more huge robots show up in London and then in all major cities of the world. Are they related to Themis? Were they made and sent by the same people? Why for?

The plot raises interesting questions about origin, destiny and mission of life.

But with all that’s going on in our world today, I realize this was actually not the best timing for me to read a book where millions are killed all over the world.

Even one sentence that sounds hopeful does not turn out to be that so:

I do have hope. I believe there is a solution out there, waiting. There’s always a solution, at least that’s what I think. If we don’t survive this, it’s because we’ll have been too stupid, too selfish, too greedy to find it.
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Also I thought the genetic element at the center of the story was a bit convoluted and it didn’t really work well for me. Plus, I thought there were too many technical details about genetics.

The very last line of the book promises interesting premises for book three, but depending on the mood, I may or may not try it.

VERDICT: How similar or different are we from aliens? This novel proposes an answer with dreadful consequences.


As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.


Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel
dropped out of high school at age 15.
Along the way, he has been a journalist,
worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California,
and peddled furniture across Canada.
He received a Ph.D. in linguistics
from the University of Chicago.
He taught linguistics in India,
and worked as a software engineer in Montreal.
He is also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut.
He likes to tinker, dabbles in robotics and is somewhat obsessed with Halloween.
He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many,
so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

8 thoughts on “Book review: Waking Gods

  1. I wonder if the author chose Rose Franklin for her character’s name because of biochemist Rosalind (Rosie) Franklin, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA. Since you say the book tells a lot about genetics, I’m guessing this is a connection. I’m always fascinated by the possible reasons for character naming!


      • I’m actually not sure which I liked better. In a way it was more of the same, which sounds like an insult, but they were consistently good. The second one got to expand on the characters and let them change a bit, which was nice, and I really enjoyed Rose’s struggle.


        • you are right, it was good character development. As for the things I mentioned in my review, as I hinted at the end, I may have enjoyed it better in a different world situation as we have now


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