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Waking Gods

Sylvain Neuvel
In Print
Del Rey (2017)

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This entry created 30 December 2020. Last revised on 30 December 2020.

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Waking Gods

Book Two of the Themis Files

327 pages. Acknowledgements, capsule author bio.

Without giving too much away for those who haven't read the previous book in this series… Themis is the name that has been given to the giant mech assembled from prehistoric components, and it is now in the hands of the U.N.-controlled Earth Defense Corps.

A few years have peacefully passed, when suddenly, an alien mech appears in London. How will the United Kingdom respond to the enigmatic intrusion? Should Themis be sent to London?

The crew of Themis – former Army helicopter pilot Kara and Canadian linguist Vincent – still have only a limited understanding of how to operate Themis. They are under the leadership of Rose, the scientist who died and then was replaced… who is now unsure of herself and often suicidal. In the background lurks the Nameless Man, who still seems to know everyone's secrets. A new character is General Govender, a South African who is now the commander of the Earth Defense Corps.

Also in the background are the mysterious 'aliens among us', who seem limited to providing clues to what is going on – but are they telling the truth?

Not to mention the evil geneticist secretly trying to create Kara and Vincent's baby. Speaking of which… will Kara and Vincent ever be more than just friends?

In epic science-fiction style, this novel provides a clash between Earth and invading aliens. Millions die. Several major characters die. Alien motives are difficult to decipher. Some mysteries are resolved, and the novel ends with a cliffhanger.

The format remains the same: The novel mostly takes the form of journal entries and interview notes. If anything, the tone is more humorous than the original novel, although there are certainly moments of drama and heroism as well.

If you are looking for a traditional mechs-fighting-mechs novel, this is not BattleTech. The alien mechs have devastating powers, and Kara and Vincent only have a limited grasp on how Themis operates.

Can you wargame it? Perhaps as an RPG, not as a tabletop battle or scenario. However, it may give you a few ideas to throw into your sci-fi gaming scenarios.

A sci-fi series which continues to defy expectations in this genre. Recommended.

Reviewed by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian.