Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

sleeping giantsSynopsis:

(via Goodreads)

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?

My thoughts:

Sleeping Giants is so weird… and I loved it.

The entire story is told through transcripts, a series of interviews and journal entries that, once pieced together, tell the story of a world-changing discovery and the lengths one man in particular will go to see the project through to completion.

While there are a handful of recurring central characters — Kara, the gutsy helicopter pilot, Vincent, a linguist, Dr. Franklin, the project leader — the main character is really the unnamed person conducting the interviews. He (I’m pretty sure it’s a he) sets the wheels in motion for the entire project, and has a cold, logical approach that seems brutal at first, although over time we can also see his brilliance and his absolute mastery of manipulation, even on a global scale.

The hand initially discovered is only one piece of an artifact that will, over the ensuing years, be pursued and retrieved all across the world — even if that involves entering foreign air space and initiating near-catastrophic political and military actions. The reasons for the seemingly blind pursuit of the objects become clearer over time, as the true implications of the discovery and what it means for humanity as a whole are revealed bit by bit. Meanwhile, there’s non-stop action as the tension builds and builds.

Sleeping Giants is really a geeky delight. For people into science stories, this is a good one. It involves decoding never-before-seen language and technology and recreating a device without knowing what its purpose is. For those who enjoy action and thrills, there are plenty, including military expeditions and mad escapes. For those into medical thrillers, there are biological experiments and humans being subjected to all sorts of studies, willing or not.

On top of all that, the characters are just plain fun. Kara is especially terrific — and maybe it’s the combination of her name and being a pilot, but I couldn’t help picturing her as a modern-day version of Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica.

Sleeping Giants is already being developed as a movie, and I can easily imagine it being great. Meanwhile, the second book in the series, Waking Gods, is scheduled for publication in 2017 (and believe me, I can’t wait to see what happens next.)

You know when you read a library book, finish it, and then realize you need your own personal copy? That.

Sleeping Giants is a terrific read. Check it out!


The details:

Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication date: April 26, 2016
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Science fiction
Source: Library

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

  1. You said the magic word – Starbuck! If only all heroines were that cool! I love the sound of this one – the way it’s told, in transcripts, the planning involved, the scifi elements. I’m sorry you have to wait until 2017 for the sequel…

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