After rereading “Sleeping Giants” and loving it as much as after the first time, I was excited but at the same time surprisingly reluctant to start “Waking Gods“. I had become so accustomed to not knowing what would happen after that cliffhanger, I was somehow afraid to find out.

I’ve got to be honest: Follow-Ups that skip vast spaces of time bother me a little. It does make sense here to start nine years after we left off in book one, because essentially, nothing happened then. I’m just generally doubtful that ‘nothing’ would occur in that time period but okay, I accept it, moving on with the tedious “catching up” of the events. What made that process significantly easier in “Waking Gods” was the fact that it was combined with new action.

A giant alien robot appears in London. And even more: It does nothing.

This might not sound very exciting at first, but when you think about it, there is an incredible suspense in this inactivity. Why are they not doing anything? Are they peaceful? Getting ready for attack? Is there even anybody in there? I loved building the story that way.

And of course, while our team of heroes tries to find the answers, humanity is unable to resist the wait. And then, the fun begins. Or rather, the dying. Just saying.

Without spoiling to much, I found the events and revelations that unfolded from there absolutely believable. In an event of a possible alien invasion, this could very well be how it goes down.

The character development of Vincent, Kara, our nameless friend, Rose and everyone else is complex and interesting too. The cloning and time traveling aspect is still confusing to me, but I do like how it was dealt with, and what an impact it had on the mental health of that person. The characters don’t always develop the way I would have wanted or expected, but of course that’s not the point. You dislike characters you loved before and vice versa, some just get what they deserve, new ones are introduced and old ones actually die.

The file format just made it a little harder to empathise with these deaths. In another form I definitely would have cried, but here, I still can’t really believe they’re gone. It’s strange. But I miss them a lot. *sigh*

Also, there were more SCI of the FI elements in this book, which was necessary but slightly complicated if you’re not that good at genetics (like me). That didn’t bother me much though, I’m probably just not very capable of understanding, and that’s okay! You get the gist of it and are able to move on with the story.

And boy oh boy, that story. The action picks up quickly and ends so dramatically, it was like watching a movie. We are left again with a mean, mean cliffhanger and a mouth hanging open.

Because of the minor issues I had it’s half a point off in comparison to its predecessor, but still. I can wholeheartedly recommend this series to anyone who loves or wants to try Sci-Fi and books in file form or is just looking for a great story. The Themis Files are waiting for you!

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

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