Giant Robots from space!
Now that I have your attention let me tell you about an amazing book that will give you all your giant robot needs. Well, first I should direct you to a review of its predecessor, the unforgettable premiere novel by Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants. If you have not read that book- what the hell have you been doing?- you probably shouldn’t be reading this review, as It may spoil. Quick recap of Sleeping Giants, book one of the Themis Files: it was one of the best books I read last year, Neuvel has become an instant celebrity in my eyes, and I desperately needed more. Again, if you haven’t read Sleeping Giants, you have your homework. If you have, than walk with me…
Back in April-May last year I was drawn to Sleeping Giants because a) it was a debut Canadian author, b) the eye catching, beautiful cover. I am pleased to say that Neuvel is still Canadian, and the Waking Gods cover is just as alluring. The yellow stands out on my bookshelf, and there is no missing the Themis Files when you glance over. I beg the author, and publication company to make the third book red, as it would look so dang good.
Anyways, aesthetics aside, there’s words in this book-
Sleeping Giants left us off on the major cliff-hanger that main character, Rose Franklin- who died halfway through- was in fact alive. So, when Waking Gods was on its way this was top priority of questions that needed to be answered. Surprisingly, instead of a book half filled with that side mystery, you get your answers early on, and its nothing you could have guessed. In fact this book is jam packed with the un-guessable. But, why I bring this up, is to show you that this book moves quick. So many things are happening at the beginning that before you can gather your bearings you’re half way through the novel.
One of the other major appeals of the first novel were the shocking moments of death and mutilations. Waking Gods raises that bar to another dimension. There is so much death, I don’t even want to spoil it by giving you a sense of scope. I will say, the very last person that you would expect to pass away- like there is no way he could kill this character off and still have a story- kicks the bucket, and the story only gets better from there. That was probably my favourite moment of the story thus far.
And as for the giant robots- it’s hard to believe that there is any book that could focus on giant robots from space and not come off as contrived or corny. Kudos to Neuvel, this story has felt nothing but natural and captivating the whole way through. To give you a bit of perspective on that my partner, Jenn, is not a big SciFi fan, like getting her to watch Star Wars is a battle. She reads non-fiction books on existentialism, and meditation. Somehow, I convinced her to read Sleeping Giants and it was one of her favourite books from last year. She has been harping on me to finish Waking Gods so that she can read it directly after me. So, thank you Sylvain Neuvel, you got my girlfriend interested in giant robots, hahaha.
The one thing I really appreciated about this book was the deep scientific theories and history. When I say that, it sounds off-putting, like either it is going to go over the readers head, or it’ll be broken down to the point where you feel stupid for not knowing this scientific mumbo-jumbo. To the contrary, it is written in such a fascinating manner that it got me interested enough to stop the book so that I could look up some of these ideas on a good ol’ Google search. Instead of feeling like I was not intelligent enough to read this book, I feel smarter, and learned many new things.
There you have it, giant robots is the hook, but this book is much more than that. It’s a beautiful artistic cover, an emotional thrill ride, a girlfriend tricker, a science lesson, and most importantly, solid entertainment. I gave Sleeping Giants 4/5 last year, because I had some trouble with the way the book read. Well Neuvel has comeback in his sophomore novel like he has written a hundred books. Therefore, I have to give Waking Gods a perfect score of 5/5, it had all the entertaining elements of the first book, and so much more. Curses on another cliff-hanger conclusion though, the wait is on for the third book.
Thanks booknerds, may your robots be gigantic and powerful.