Waking Gods

The Themis Files, book 2
by Silvain Neuvel
Reviewed by SA
I absolutely devoured Sleeping Giants last year: a brilliant scifi novel that really gave me everything I wanted. Mystery, giant alien robots, and amazing characters… I was hooked instantly. I have been so looking forward to this sequel, and avoided all spoilers. It did not disappoint!


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.


Nine years after the events of Sleeping Giants, the Themis team doesn’t have much to do except show up and look pretty. Kara and Vincent have talked about marriage, but it really hasn’t happened yet.  Dr. Rose is terrified of what she is, wondering if she is even human anymore. But it’s all UN ambassador missions, nothing life or death anymore. That is, of course, until the day another giant robot appears in London, and sets off a chain of events that could have humanity at its knees.

It’s quite possibly the end of the world, and the stakes have never been higher. Gigantic, alien robots with firepower and toxic gases the likes we’re never seen before. People doing whatever they can just to survive. Our nameless friend is dashing from one country to another, trying to keep everyone together. Can can he keep himself together?

Just as in Sleeping Giants, Neuvel manages to create an incredibly gripping narrative and relatable characters even through his unusual format. As a matter of fact, his format seems to optimise the reading process, making the story flow quickly and impossible to put down.

The one thing I was not expecting was for so many of our beloved characters to die. I’m not going to spoil them, but they were incredibly unexpected and heartbreaking – and unexpectedly heartbreaking. But new characters are introduced that will get you excited about the future… if there’s going to be a future.

Old enemies. New threats. And finally, some gosh darn answers. It’s the end of the world, and the only people who can save it are severely outmatched.

I won’t even mention the ending yet! Only to say that I desperately need the next book NOW!

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