Writing a good novel? Really hard.
Writing a good sequel to your good novel? Really, really, really (really, really) hard.
And that is just what Sylvain Neuvel did with "Waking Gods". The opening story of the Themis Files, "Sleeping Giants" was just so good. It finished with a cliff hanger and I had to wonder if the second book would deliver the payoff plot I so desperately hoped for. Yep, it did.
*If you haven't read "Sleeping Giants" (Themis Files #1) and plan too, don't keep reading this review. There are no spoilers for "Waking Gods", but I may give away plot items from "Giants". Moving right along...
The style of this series, with the story being told through mission files, interviews and journals, continued to be totally enjoyable. It keeps the pace of the books so fast. There is absolutely no information that you don't need. It all feels important, even vital to the mystery that is unfolding. What a rare treat that is!
And the characters...I really appreciate how Neuvel treats characters. He is, at once, respectful of the ones that we love (like Rose, who is BACK!) and brutal (like...oh no way, I'm not saying who he treats brutally). He doesn't shy away from death, but with the sci-fi rules in play, you kind of never know who is truly gone. I like knowing that at any moment a main character may be taken out while trying to save the world. I like an author who is fearless enough to say goodbye to one person, especially when they are good enough at their craft to introduce new characters to love along the way.
The last thing I will say is that -and I'm being careful here- I had read Neuvel was planning a third book and I was skeptical. What in the world is left to cover in this story? And then...the last scene of "Gods"...and BOOM! Okay, yes, I'll be back for #3. No question.
Read this book if: You love sci-fi, or even if you're skeptical but love a good adventure. It's worth giving the genre a try.
Don't read this book if: You just plain hate sci-fi. There is also some strong language, and some of it is spoken by or in front of a younger character, which I didn't love. Don't be talking like that in front of the kiddos, people! : )