[672]: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

25733990 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files, #1
Del Ray | April 26th, 2016
Source: Bought
Science Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


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?


A Disembodied Hand

The novel starts off with an 11-year-old Rose taking her brand new bike for a test run but soon found herself exploring on foot off the beaten path. Then she fell in a hole to a giant metal hand thousands of years old where her father and the firemen found her. The story speeds up 17 years later when Rose grew up to be a physicist at the University of Chicago. As if the fate of hand (pun intended) was playing a cosmic joke, she’s then tasked to head up the group that will uncover all its secrets.

Parts of a Whole

Narrated in forms of interviews, Sleeping Giants tells the story about the discovery of a robot created for reasons yet to be determined. Rose Franklin believes it to be of alien origin because it’s constructed from a rare metal that can’t be found on Earth in abundance.  She knew other parts of the giant robot’s body were buried somewhere. But finding the pieces isn’t going to be a walk in the park. They’d have to extend their search outside the United States which means they’d have to conduct their searches covertly and without triggering a war against other nations.

How Do You Work This Thing?

Once assembled, mobilizing it wasn’t easy either as it takes a lot of skills and the correct anatomy. Its legs can only be moved if the person in control can somehow break their kneecaps so they’re facing backward. The language barrier was also a problem. They needed someone with enough intelligence to decipher the codes. Then the helmets. The helmets are made specifically for people with the right genetics code so operating the thing is not as easy as training someone.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

The robot absorbs energy and vaporizes everything around it once engaged. It’s technologically advanced, years and years far ahead. Man’s infinite curiosity for the unknown will prove to be disastrous in this instance. Our uncanny ability to use, abuse, and misuse new technology has been predominantly on the side of catastrophe. So of course, they’d bungled this one, too.

There was a lot of ethical dilemmas that Neuvel tackled here. The unknown interviewer, who also happens to be the master puppeteer of this endeavor holds great power and influence which he exerted in every way possible. In a way, he reminded me of Nick Fury (sorry, been watching way too many Avengers movies lately). Anyway, Nick Fury straddles the line of good and evil. But he’s the perfect example of someone who’s a true believer in the adage, “the end justifies the means”. He will do everything in his power to preserve any weaponry discovered under SHIELDS – even manipulation. So Neuvel presents an interesting conundrum for the readers. In one way, such a technical and weaponry advancement could bring about stability. Its presence alone is a threat in itself that nations would think twice about antagonizing another. On the other hand, such unstudied, volatile power could potentially be catastrophic if misused.

The Short Of It All

I used to have this thing against Sci-Fi. Lately, though, I’ve been finding myself drawn to this genre for some odd reason. I suppose it helps that Sleeping Giants was far from dry, and the ingenious narrative sped up the story considerably. It’s Science-heavy at times but it doesn’t bog the readers down with textbook jargon. The characters are not lacking in personality even though we don’t get to see them outside of the roles that they play – which to me, was brilliant.

Learning about the giant was a curious thing. Neuvel’s writing has the uncanny ability to convinced his readers that they’ve got a vested interest in learning everything they could about the giant – its origin, mechanics, and its abilities. I was enthralled. I got excited every time a new found knowledge came about.

Sleeping Giants opens up the Themis Files series brilliantly. It’s a Sci-Fi for the masses; addictive and entertaining. Neuvel simplified a lot of the Science related aspect of the novel which aided to the smooth as silk reading experience. And with an ending like that, you know I’ll be out there picking up the installment on release day.

 

 

 

 

  • Pingback: Sleeping Giants Review: The Effect of Giant Robots on Mankind - Happy Indulgence()

  • karina

    Fantastic review, J.! Glad we are finally pulled you over to the dark side 🙂 I think I might read it after all…

  • This sounds like such a fascinating book, I mean sci-fi giants? I like how it covers different interviews about alien species as well. I might have to get this one out from the library!

  • I’ve also been getting into sci-fi lately! I love physics and I want to study astrophysics when I graduate high school so I love that the main character is a physicist. I’ve heard such good things about this and I really want to read it! Have you read The Chronicles of the Invaders series by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard? It’s a fantastic sci-fi trilogy – I highly recommend it!

  • Ohh, so glad you loved this book sweetie 😀 I am pretty curious. Not really for me, but sounds so interesting too. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous thoughts about it. <3 I hope you will love book two just as much 😀

  • I’m really excited about the sequel for this! (because that cliffhanger) Though to be honest I was a little weirded out about the whole kneecaps things. Like how does that even work though? I can’t even imagine someone walking that way.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I love unique formats for books, and I tend to really love interviews in books. This sounds quite intriguing!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • Wow… I haven’t read a sci-fi book in a while, but this sounds interesting! I can see why you enjoyed this one… a robot that absorbs energy and a giant!!

  • Wow! This just sounds PERFECT and right up my alley. I love a good science fiction and even though it does include a lot of the science things I’m glad it never gets too heavy with it. It sounds pretty unique told in the way of interviews and all. I have this one and haven’t read it, but I am SO pushing this one up on my TBR 😀

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’ve never actually struggled with sci-fi. It can be tedious, sure, but it can also be incredibly rich when done right. This seems to be one of those and I can’t wait to discover all the details myself.

  • The thought of a little girl falling into a giants (alien/ robot’s) hand is chilling and captivating! I’m really curious now 🙂

  • I wasn’t interested in this book at all…AT ALL! But now I’m rethinking this. It actually sounds interesting! I like Sci-Fi but sometimes I’m iffy about the genre. But this…this I may just have to read. I’m really intrigued by the robot, which is what will probably make me want to read it haha Great review!
    Genesis | Latte Nights Reviews

  • Natalie

    Huh. I’ve not heard of this and usually shy away from sci-fi, too, but this sounds intriguing!

  • I have yet to warm up to sci-fi, I can see this as a movie though and I will most likely enjoy it. The science parts overwhelms me, I need visual aids! lol

  • This is the type of book that I wouldn’t have given a second glance if you hadn’t reviewed it. It sounds like a mix of sci-fi and thriller, neither of which are my favorite genres. But your thoughts have definitely sparked my curiosity and I think I should give this a chance!

  • I liked this one too but not quite as much you seemed to. I have shifted my reading to more and more Science Fiction books lately as well. I am looking forward to the next book in this series as well. Great review!

  • The whole sleeping giant thing is so intriguing! I would love to know where it came from and why

  • This sounds brilliant and something I would totally enjoy! I’m always fascinated on an author’s take of fear as a weapon of deterrence. Is this explored more or is it just a side issue? Yep, you can safely say you have me curious! Brilly review!

  • I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this. I know you’ve had issues with sci-fi in the past, so I’m happy you found one that really stuck with you. That ending was great. I had a feeling it was something like that that happened, so I’m excited for the next book.

  • I’ve never been one to read a lot of science fiction. I loved shows like Fringe but would stay away from the sci-fi books. Now, I’m starting to wonder why I’m staying away because this book sounds really good and you gave it a 5?? I need to get this book. Thanks for the review!

  • kindlemom1

    I struggle with this genre too but if you find the right read and the right author, then anything is possible right? So happy this was such a hit for you, I think I might need to try it as well. 😉

  • I can just see Hollywood making a movie of this like The Day The Earth Stood Still! Of course they would ruin it! I do like the premise of this one. I just wish it wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction! Nice review!

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Such a gorgeously simplistic cover, I LOVE it! I’m glad that while this is science-heavy at times, it’s not overwhelming and it doesn’t detract from the strength of the story and its characters:) Gorgeous review Joy!