Sylvain Neuvel’s WAKING GODS is a terrific sequel to SLEEPING GIANTS, his amazing novel about first alien-human contact. Here’s my review, though note it contains spoilers if you haven’t read the first book.
In SLEEPING GIANTS, the story unfolds as a series of interviews and journal entries compiled by a mysterious government agent who believes a giant metal hand discovered in an underground cavern is of alien origin. More, that it is part of a larger artifact. Recruiting various people, he builds a team that collects the parts of a giant robot, discovering the robot can be piloted–and is invincible.
In the sequel, the robot Themis is now under UN control. Then another robot suddenly materializes in London, followed by more. The earth is under threat.
Like SLEEPING GIANTS, WAKING GODS is extremely clever. While presented as an epistolary novel–a series of documents–it’s engaging, with great characters who really stand out and that you root for. There are tons of twists and turns, and only half of these are action and plot turns, while the rest are simple but smart reveals that rapidly propel the story in new directions. That’s the great joy of this series, that Neuevel put so much damn thought into every single thing that happens in these books. All is revealed, and the unraveling of the truth is a big part of the fun.
Recommended if you like smart science fiction.