Book Reviews

Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over these Neuvel books. Every one I read I feel like I love more – whether it be cooler themes or better character development. Each one seems to surpass the next. I am so excited for the next one this year.


As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.


book review Waking gods by sylvain neuvelI truly meant what I said – I am impressed anew each sequel to this imaginative and inventive series. Part of what I love about this series is this dynamic combination between this mode of story telling, the fantastic character development, and the thrilling plot.

Neuvel’s writing allows for this simultaneous suspension of disbelieve while at the same time calling everything we  appear to know into question. The story is told through interviews, pieces of surveillance, and even the news. So while there’s an added assumption of veracity, at the same time, we still fall prey to the same unreliable appearances and the ways we edit our answers.

The plot advances in leaps and bounds – imperfect and tinged with memory. At the same time there are gaps of time and knowledge. We put together what happens and sometimes we are indeed wrong.

Thematically, something that is asked in Waking Gods is if we were faced with the first alien contact, how would we go about it? I feel like we’ve seen more and more takes on this in recent culture and what always seems to occur in these showdowns is a conflict between military and science perspective – often even including the cultural point of view as well.

On a character level, there’s really great development on all fronts. This book not only grapples with the question of how we can preserve or save the human species, but also individual’s lives. What are Kara’s fears? Something that is discussed in the book, in a subtle way, is the discussion of adopted versus biological parents – which is particularly interesting to me.


Waking Gods has some magnificent realizations of epic proportions that call everything into questions. It changes the fabric of society as we know it – in the best way. Check out Waking Gods on Goodreads. (Come read my review of Sleeping Giants)


What series do you know which gets better each new sequel?

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6 thoughts on “Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

  1. I’m intrigued by the way this story is told–I love finding different methods authors use. This one sounds amazing and definitely a book I’d have to make sure I was paying attention. I enjoy that this book makes the reader question the world as he/she knows it. This sounds like a talented writer.

  2. I don’t often read series but Larsson’s ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ really stands out for me. If Girl With The Dragon Tattoo took my breath away, Played with Fire left me gasping! Such a shame he never lived to see the effect it had on readers.

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