Book Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2)

Waking Gods - Sylvain Neuvel

After a successful buddy read of Sleeping Giants with Beth @ Bibliobeth, we decide to read the second book in the trilogy together, Waking Gods.


Who made Themis?

It’s been ten years since Themis – a giant alien metal robot – was revealed to the world by Dr Rose Franklin. It now stands at the heart of the Earth Defense Corps – in case the makers of Themis return to claim it.

Why did they leave it here?

Rose and her team are still seeking answers to Themis’s origins when a second and even bigger robot appears in London’s Regent’s Park. A military response backfires, reducing half the city to bare earth.

And what if they come back?

As more robots appear across the world, Rose knows it’s a race against time to discover where they’ve come from, what they want and – most importantly – how to stop them . . .


Let’s get the formalities out of the way – as with nearly all trilogies, the second novel is a continuation of the first, so to get the most of the second book you should have already read the first. Waking Gods picks up ten years after Sleeping Giants, but it may as well have been five minutes, because so much will be lost on you and lacking in sense, and emotion, if you haven’t read Sleeping Giants.

The easiest way to sum up this novel is, it was good, but everything was less than in the previous novel. The mystery, the intrigue, the excitement, it was all still there, just not as intense as it was in Sleeping Giants. I think that’s the case with a lot of sequels, maybe because the initial impact has already been made so you cannot experience that ‘first-time’ feeling again. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this novel, it just didn’t impact me as much. However, there’s always comfort in returning to characters you loved in the previous novel, such as sassy Kara, always ready with a witty retort.

This novel wasn’t without its surprises, there were several that threw me off balance; clever in that they were born out of the events that happened in Sleeping Giants. It was also interesting to see how these events were paving the way for the final instalment in this trilogy. My absolute favourite part of this novel was finding out the backstory of the unnamed narrator, it was genius, so simple it was brilliant.

Reading a sci-fi trilogy with themes of time travel and alien/robot invasion is a new experience for me, but one I’m really enjoying. The science doesn’t make me feel stupid, which is really important in making these novels accessible to the wider reading public. Again, I’m impressed with the strong cast of female characters in skilled professions, and the ongoing battle between good and evil/friend and enemy is playing out really well. The suspense around the robots is very well done, it’s so much fun to learn about the robots, their purpose and how exactly they function.

The formatting of this novel was the same as the previous novel, and true to the trilogy’s title, the story was told in a series of files. The transcript of how MP’s talk in parliament was tough going, but other than that, I think this format works really well. It’s a great way to keep to the point, as every file serves a purpose in building the bigger picture, whether it be the threat to mankind or the backstory of the characters.

As this is a trilogy, this novel ends on a cliff-hanger, one that pretty much guarantees you’ll be reading the final instalment, Only Human. I’ve got it scheduled for next month, due to the continuation of the plot, these novels will be better enjoyed if you pick up the next one while you still remember all that occurred in the previous instalment.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

Previous buddy reads with Beth

The Fireman by Joe Hill – My review / Beth’s review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – My review / Beth’s review

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – My review / Beth’s review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My review / Beth’s review

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel – My review / Beth’s review

The Girls by Emma Cline – My review / Beth’s review

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2)

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