Review: Only Human

9780399180118Title: Only Human (2018)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Pages: 336
Series: The Themis Files #3 (Series Tracker)

Having loved the first two books of the Themis Files trilogy, I was expecting a similarly excellent third entry. Unfortunately, Only Human strays from what made the first two books so great and left me disappointed by a much weaker conclusion to the story.

I had been hooked by the shadowy government agents and alien tech mysteries that filled the pages of the first two volumes, but most of that has been left by the wayside and this book deals mostly with the aftermath of previous events.

Although I struggled to stay invested in the overall story, I did continue to enjoy author Sylvain Neuvel’s sharp wit and breezy writing style that he’s honed over the course of the three books. I look forward to seeing what he works on next, as he clearly has a big imagination and a distinct voice.

★★★ out of 5

Review: Waking Gods

30134847Title: Waking Gods (2017)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Pages: 320
Series: The Themis Files #2 (Series Tracker)

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Last year, Sleeping Giants made my Best of 2016 list and I’m fairly confident Waking Gods has secured a spot on the 2017 list. While Sleeping Giants dealt with the discovery, assembly, and control of Themis, the buried robot relic of unknown origin — book #2 shows how a newly emboldened Earth deals with a threat far beyond what they are prepared to handle. Author Sylvain Neuvel takes the overall story in a bold direction that sees our returning protagonists confronted with a dozen new giant alien robots with unclear aims. Waking Gods is larger in scale, yet more personal in nature.

I love the continued use of interviews with shadowy characters who know much more than they are letting on. By slowly feeding crumbs of intel to the protagonists (and to us, by extension), they’re able to guide them into finding solutions for seemingly unsolvable problems; this serves to drive the narrative forward in a compelling way.

The epistolary format combines with Neuvel’s sharp writing to make for an infinitely readable sci-fi adventure that twists and turns its way to a big cliffhanger ending. I’m excited to see where the series goes from here.

★★★★¼ out of 5