Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Series Review of The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

This series came to my attention earlier this year when I started watching Book-Tube more often. It is a much beloved series of many of the fantasy/sci-fi channels I watch on there.  They often indicated that it was an easy read even if you weren't into science fiction much, so I thought I would give it a try.  I did listen to the audio books of these along side reading the print versions, which I highly recommend!

 Synopsis: "A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 - the object's origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

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 relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history's most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"

My Review: I hear everyone raving about this book and it came highly recommended by several readers I trust so I figured I would give it a shot. It was much different than I was expecting and it continued to be different from expectations throughout the book. First off the narrative format is interviews and personal journal entries, which really does make the story move pretty quickly. It started out being a bit technical and keeping to strict scientific and discovery facts but it did take a more personal and relationship turn, which really kind of threw me for a loop but at the same time hooked me in further. The premise behind it is pretty intriguing and I am definitely now invested in the series and plan to continue.

My Rating: This first book definitely hooked me! I enjoy the audio narration with the full cast of voices and it is really approachable for non-sci-fi readers.  I was surprised with the format and the genre how attached I became to the characters, definitely a Three Paws and a Stump Wag book!


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." 

My Review: So I finally started this series earlier this year, and enjoyed and was intrigued by the first book but wasn't sure how the rest of the series would go. I don't usually enjoy a lot of sci-fi books but have heard too many good things about this series to pass it up. I am so glad that I continued the series. I have been listening to it on audio book while reading the print version and I think that has really helped raise the enjoyment level, I love the full cast audio but also reading it in it's unusual format of logs, interviews and broadcasts. I honestly did not realize how invested I had become in the characters until we started getting into the conflict of this book, I have been utterly destroyed by this book! I can't remember the last time a second book in a series build up the story and move things along without loosing momentum and actually gaining it exponentially. I definitely do not want to wait before picking up the third and final book! 

My Rating: This book definitely took me on a whirl wind journey and I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed the action in this one as well as the character development.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other."

My Review: I have eagerly been awaiting this final book in the Themis Files series, though not as long as some (it did have holds in the double digits at the library though so it took a while to get to me). This book starts off quite a bit after the ending of the second book, which was a bit of a disappointment. We do get some flash backs to what happened during those 10 years but I would have liked a bit more. It did feel a little bit anti-climatic and I did find myself a little let down with this book (maybe because 2 of my favorite characters from the previous books were missing from this one). I also found the lack of communication between the characters to be very irritating but many of the conflicts were based on the issues that arose from that problem. I did like the more political look at what happens to the world after the appearance, attack and disappearance of the alien robots. It was a rather interesting look at how we react and interact with one another. All in all, for being my first non - Star Wars sci-fi series, I found it very enjoyable and approachable, definitely a must read for those who are looking to get into the genre!

My Rating: This being the final book was a bit of a let down for me, I missed the excitement and danger of the second book and my favorite characters as well. I still enjoyed it but it didn't quite hold me like the previous two books did, I give it a rating of Three Paws.


Synopsis: An early interview by the Unnamed friend that started the ball rolling and has been missing until now.

My Review: I didn't read this until I had completed the rest of the series, but it was still just as enjoyable. I feel like I need to go back to the first book and see if there is a missing file number. I enjoyed this quick peek at how it all got started, and I liked revisiting the unnamed interviewer/meddling man. I don't think it is necessary to the story but it is a nice little tidbit for fans of the series.

My Rating: I really loved this extra little tidbit, it was nice to go back and find the beginning of the story and revisit the Interviewer.  I give this a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Review: For being one who avoids science fiction (except Star Wars) and who has really struggled with it in the past, I really went out on a limb with this series and trusted other readers.  I am so glad I gave it a chance! I really enjoyed the unique format, the eclectic cast of characters and unusual circumstances that brought it all together.  This series was very approachable with only limited amounts of science and math chatter. I did feel a bit of a let down with the final book in the series and the conclusion felt a bit too easy, but I honestly couldn't have come up with a different way to resolve the issues presented in the series.  I did love the characters and the way the developed, I was surprised how quickly I became attached to them! I will say that while I am devastated with where some of them ended up, I am still appreciative of Neuvel going the distance and not shying away from hard results.  I definitely would recommend this series, even if you are not a sci-fi fan, it is even a great crossover for YA readers. I give this series an overall rating of  Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

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