Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Sleeping Giants
As a scientist, all I can say is that humans of today do not have the resources, the knowledge, or the technology to build something like this.

Although I have had this book to review for a while, I was never in the mood to read it until recently when I craved something light, fast, and fun. Sleeping Giants definitely delivered on all three fronts even if I had a few issues with it.

A little girl, Rose Franklin, was riding her bicycle one night when she fell down what appeared to be a deep ditch. Before she fell, however, she noticed a strange green light coming from the ditch. It wasn't until after she was rescued that she learned that the object she had fallen into was actually a large metallic hand. Seventeen years later, Rose is now a physicist who is tasked with understanding what happened that night and what that object is because yet another such site had recently revealed itself, this time with a metallic forearm.

Thus starts a search for more such metallic objects. A team has been quickly put together by our mysterious narrator - two pilots, a geneticist, and a linguist race to assemble the parts together and understand who buried them and why they are revealing themselves now.

Right from page one, Sleeping Giants hooked me. The idea that someone several millennia ago may have planted these devices was surprising but the team had no proofs - they were proceeding on guesswork. I initially figured this book was more alien fiction but it turned out to be more military science fiction halfway through.

This book is written in epistolary format - each chapter is either an interview with the narrator or a journal entry or a news item. It made for fun reading. But for all the intrigue it built initially, the book started falling flat halfway through. One of the main pilots, Kara, has a brash temperament and several failed past relationships. Both the male protagonists, however, felt very compelled to protect her or woo her. I guess I have a tough time with characters like that, who feel women need protecting. To me, the whole love triangle felt too distracting and I would have enjoyed the book more with less of that romance. I did like that there were several women in power but all of them had authority issues. I was tired of how often Rose Franklin was cited as being "motherly" and caring for her employees. Nothing wrong in being motherly but middle aged women surely would like to be known for their professional characteristics, especially among their own colleagues.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the book for its twists and turns but didn't care much for its characters or their relationships. Still, I am curious enough to follow the series (yeah, this is book 1 in the series) - the ending was dramatic enough to hold my attention.


I received this egalley from the publisher for free for review.

No comments: