“I can’t make the forest grow faster because I want it to. I can’t will it to grow. It takes time.” // Review of “Only Human” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Only Human (Themis Files #3)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 11/09/18 – 29/09/18
Rating:
★★

Review:

I’ve got to be honest: this book wasn’t as good as the first two in the series. For quite a while, I thought I was going to give it only two stars but it picked up enough in the final third for me to bump that up to three. But only just.

This book is set another 9 years after Waking Gods. Earth is in disarray, as Rose, Vincent and Eva discover upon return from the alien planet, Esat Ekt.

The problem with this book, from my POV, is that it seemed that Neuvel had been leading up to a situation where the world was in disarray just so he could use it as a metaphor for the disarray present in the world today, and give us some good old lectures on it. And I got So BORED.

There was little tension in the flashbacks because we knew from the start that they had done something morally questionable on Esat Ekt, it was just a question of what. And so much of the present day stuff was just them talking obliquely about their time on Esat Ekt. Or lecturing the reader. As I said earlier, it does pick up in the last quarter. There is a bit more action, and some more interesting character development. But in some ways, that was too little too late. It’s always a shame when a series ending doesn’t live up to the previous instalments.


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“You were made for a particular purpose, but you can be anything you want.” // Review of “Waking Gods” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 15/08/18 – 29/08/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

I’m pleased to say that this book was just as good as the first in the series. It pulls no punches and takes you by surprise, all the while still creating a balance between the global and the personal consequences.

This book is set 9 years after Sleeping Giants, but it doesn’t take long to fill us in on what has happened in the meantme. And the action starts on page 1. I was listening to the audio book while I was driving and there were times when I was gripping the steering wheel too hard because the action was intense. But there are also parts that made me smile or laugh or “aww” over my favourite characters. Then there were the parts that made me teary! I had all the emotions.

I did sometimes feel the conversations went around in circles a little bit, particularly when Mr Burns (Byrnes? I don’t know, I’m listening to it!) was involved. He likes to ramble. And sometimes the scientific explanations were quite long-winded, which is fine when you’re reading and can skim, but a bit more annoying when you’re listening.

I do feel the need to warn that there is a torture scene at one point during the book, and if you’re listening to the audio version, it is very realistic. I ended up having to switch it off for the remainder of my drive.

Those were my only qualms, this series goes from strength to strength and the third and final instalment promises to be just as good from the little bit I’ve  listened to so far.


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“It’s easier to be just one more soldier in a giant army than being the whole army by yourself.” // Review of “Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 11/08/18 – 14/08/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

This book makes a great audio book, for many of the same reasons that World War Z did. Mostly because it is written in the form of transcripts of interviews and other recordings, all of which translates very well to audio. The full cast is amazing and they give a great sense of this cast of varied characters. It wasn’t perfect, there are some things that could have been done better, and there were a few little inconsistencies in the story itself, but this was definitely a book that made me not mind having.

I really loved the exploration of the political side of discovering alien artefacts on Earth. Who gets to claim them? How will other nations react to learning that the US  has been invading their turf on the down-low and taking back pieces  of alien tech? What will the President say? This was an overarching theme, but the impact of this discovery on the individual characters directly involved was also engaging. I loved Kara’s prickliness and Rose’s passion. I liked seeing how Vincent was an outsider but the others still cared for him. I even grew fond of the unnamed interviewer. Kara is correct when she tells him at the end that he is full of mush inside. He totally is.

I compared this book to World War Z above, and there are ways i think it improves on that audio book. In that one, Max Brooks played the interviewer, but he also read out the parts that weren’t the other characters speaking. Where I imagine the book had “[laughs]”, he would read that out. In Sleeping Giants, the actor actually laughs instead, which made it feel that bit more authentic. But there were still scenes where something was clearly going down in the background and all we could hear was the person narrating the events. I know this is an audio book and not a radio play, but that did lessen the effect a bit for me.

Still, I had the second one out from the library before I had even finished this one because  I knew I would want to continue. This is a series unlike anything I’ve come across before and I’m eager to continue.


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