Waking Gods is the sequel to Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.
It’s now ten years from the end of Sleeping Giants and not much has changed. Kara and Vincent still control Themis, the giant robot assembled by Dr. Rose Franklin and her team. It’s been a pretty quiet decade – all parades and photo-ops as mentioned by Kara at one point.
However, things don’t stay that way for very long as another giant robot, very much like Themis, appears (just appears like Doctor Who in a Tardis) in central London. Things happen. It would give away too much of the ‘what the fuck is happening’ factor if I revealed exactly what things happen. Then even more things happen and I’m all…
Omg! Waking Gods is so dark, man!
— sillypunk (@sillypunk) April 14, 2017
I basically raced through the entire second half of the book, following the ‘omgs!’ and ‘wtfs!’ to the very end. There was a lot happening, quite quickly. My warning to readers is…no one is safe.
Just like the last book, the narrative is captured by interviews with the mysterious man who brought everyone together, journal entries, letters, emails and transcripts of meetings at the UN. So in that sense, the plot can move incredibly quickly with multiple perspectives giving you insight into what is happening in the world and to the different characters.
I think this could be incredibly dry if not for the fact that the nuances of the characters still shine through. Dr. Franklin’s doubt and feelings of displacement (if you read the last book, you’ll know that she mysteriously reappears after being, well, killed), Kara’s brashness and even Eva’s childishness (she’s a ten year old child), all come through these different types of text-based mediums.
So, like the last book, I still think it works. I think my favourite aspect of this is with the mysterious bold interviewer. In most interviews he’s clear, collected, perhaps relentlessly busy but when he has to interact with the equally mysterious Mr. Burns, you can feel his irritation. He clearly doesn’t like being out of the loop or only being given hints and directions rather than the full story. I think even though you don’t even know his name, he’s kind of my favourite character. Delightfully (but mostly sadly), you find a little more about his past and how he comes to put together the people who find Themis.
Just like Sleeping Giants, after the main action is over we’re left with a cliffhanger that will hopefully lead us to the third part of the series. Sadly, as this one has just come out, that might be some time.
What is nice is that all the women are all different (and imperfect as well): Dr. Rose Franklin is struggling to deal with her death, Kara Resnik is still impulsive, Dr. Alyssa Papantonious is still a psychopath. None of them are the same, they all struggle with their imperfections in different ways. It still smashes the test with 4 main female characters who all have an important part to play (with about 4 main male voices). They are a great cast and they all feel like different characters, even without a normal structured narrative.
A great sequel. So if you enjoyed the first one, you’ll probably like this one as well. Though, prepare yourself for THE SAD.