The CBR hivemind has been quite divided over Sleeping Giants, the first book in Sylvain Neuvel’s proposed trilogy (The Themis Files) about gigantic alien robots discovered on earth after being buried for thousands of years. I really enjoyed the interview/journal aspect of the storytelling and found the plot to be intriguing and fast-paced. I liked the confusion that the scientists were facing, and that there were people in Washington who had information, but weren’t all that willing to share it…unless Kung Pao chicken was involved.
And I was down for book two when it came up in my library queue. And whoa.
Although Waking Gods was told in the same format — interviews, journal entries, broadcast tape transcripts from radio and tv — this book had a very different feel. This story mostly scared the crap out of me.
One morning, a second robot, nearly identical to Themis from Sleeping Giants, shows up in a London park. The world doesn’t quite know what to make of it. And leaders are confused and cannot agree on how best to approach the new robot. Dr. Rose Franklin (suddenly NOT DEAD, but not really Rose Franklin) thinks the world should just leave the new robot alone…but armies and governments disagree.
And suddenly half of London is gone. Hundred of thousands are dead. But why?
Meanwhile, a dozen more robots show up in large cities all over the world. The military tries everything — attacking with Themis, nuclear bombs, airstrikes — but nothing works.
And then the gas comes, killing 99% of any life form that breathes it.
Rose and her team — basically Kara and Vincent — work non-stop to determine what the robots want and why 1% of humans are immune to the gas.
I couldn’t put this book down.
Until the last quarter or so, when I didn’t quite buy what Sylvain Neuvel was selling. But still, I enjoyed it. I was shocked that he so cavalierly dared to kill off millions of innocent people for no reason, including some of our main characters that we had grown attached to. I look forward to book 3. I can’t imagine what might happen next.