Showing posts with label robot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robot. Show all posts

Thursday, May 25, 2017

[Review] Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) - Sylvain Neuvel: Aliens and Giant Robots

In WAKING GODS, another space robot has randomly landed on Earth and Rose has mysteriously returned from the dead.

What intrigued me: Really loved the first book, SLEEPING GIANTS.

No Protagonists?

I was so excited for WAKING GODS after really being obsessed with SLEEPING GIANTS. Unfortunately, the sequel couldn't even come to get me even remotely as excited. It uses the exact same premise and format, interview snippets, random POVs from throwaway characters and all of that. Ultimately, I think that's the reason why I disliked this so much. For a fast-paced standalone, it definitely can work to have everything focus on the plot more than the characters, but for a series? How am I supposed to care for anything that's happening when there's not even remotely a connection to the characters? 

There are virtually no protagonists in this series, if there were any, they'd be Rose, Kara, and Vincent, whose story lines don't play much of a role until a good 60% into the novel (by which I was already asleep and didn't care for anything anymore). This is definitely the biggest weakness of the series - as fantastically plotted and inventive as it is, I just won't give a damn if there's no way to connect to the characters. This is a me thing though and highly subjective, so you might feel completely differently.

So, I Guess this is the Apocalypse...?

Another huge problem I had is that I never felt the urgency or the seriousness of the situation. In SLEEPING GIANTS, a lot of the plot is spent in a secluded area and in WAKING GODS, suddenly it's 10 years later and everybody knows about the giant robot Themis and I was just completely lost. Maybe it's because it's been about 6+ months since I read the first book, but I just couldn't get into this. I couldn't bring myself to care - WAKING GODS is supposed to be exactly like SLEEPING GIANTS but with more action, danger, and urgency, cause the aliens are arriving! I just didn't feel it. The format also contributes to making me feel completely disconnected from the story, the whole world, actually, and I just longed to simply stick with the characters that we've already gotten to know in the first book. I really did my best to give this a couple shots, but ultimately ended up skimming a chunk of this. I just didn't care. Sigh. 

I feel like WAKING GODS had to do a lot differently than SLEEPING GIANTS in order to be a success, but because it didn't, I'm through with this series and I have zero interest in continuing it. Unfortunately.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

WAKING GODS is a huge disappointment that failed for me because I was hoping for it to be set up differently and to focus more on the characters than doing this whole ├╝ber conspiracy thing again and working way too much with diary entries and interview snippets. I also physically couldn't care less that this is supposed to tell the story of an epic battle between humanity and aliens - I was busy zoning out.



Additional Info

Published: June 13th 2017
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Adult / Sci-Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453534803

Synopsis:
"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."
(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite book about aliens?



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Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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