Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel
3.5 Stars ↤
A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton,World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.
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?
Published on: 26th of April, 2016
Publishing Company: Del Rey
Pages: 322 pages (Kindle edition)
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Sleeping Giants’ blurb, cover, and reviews made me really excited to read it, but this book turned out to be more of a flop for me.
The book was often compared to “The Martian” (it’s also compared to World War Z, but I’ve never read that book so I can’t say if that comparison is accurate or not), which is a book I love, so I expected Sleeping Giants to be a little similar… but it was not. BUT, it means that this book is superbly unique.
The format was the biggest reason why I didn’t enjoy Sleeping Giants as much as I thought I would. Instead of being a long, continuous narrative (which I personally prefer), this book had prose that was split into many files. Some of the files were interviews, reports, transcribed video journals… which did make the format quite interesting. However, this type of format produced an undiminishable distance between me and the narrative. To put it simply: I couldn’t immerse myself in Sleeping Giants. Since most of the files were interviews, there was also abundant telling and marginal showing.
There was an impressive aspect about the format though. Considerable time passes between each file, but Sylvain Neuvel is still able to make the reader understood what has happened during that period. Thus, there are no significant knowledge gaps that will hinder the reader’s interpretation of the events.
Sleeping Giants has an amazing idea- one that will make you wonder about the universe and all the possibilities it brings. Unfortunately, the idea is never delineated until the nameless interrogator (you will become very familiar with him if you read this book since he is the interviewer for all of the interview files) meets a special person a long time after the start of the story. In fact, I was really only able to continue this book because the idea is so interesting.
After reading Sleeping Giants, I will make sure to research books before I dive into them haha.
I highly recommend this for fans of science fiction and the file format type of writing!