So, I am usually a fantasy girl. I’d say about 70% of what I read has an element of fantasy or magic in it. But I do also love me some science fiction; I blame watching hundreds of hours of Stargate with my dad. Needless to say, I was in a scifi mood the other day, so I went through my TBR list to see what I had put aside for a snowy day.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is a documentary/interview style science fiction novel about the race to find and put together an alien artifact. Seventeen years ago a little girl named Rose is found at the bottom of a deep hole, lying in the palm of a giant hand. Years of research and testing uncovers little about this ancient artifact and eventually it is given up as a mystery.
Now, in the present day, Dr. Rose Franklin is reunited with the hand and begins studying it for herself when a secretive man puts together a team of eccentric experts to finally uncover the truth. Together they must solve a puzzle and unravel the history of this massive artifact.
Who built this mass of metal and light? What is its purpose? What does it do? And is it just a coincidence this thing was found now or could it be a precursor of things to come?
I usually hate comparing a book to the same ones the publisher do but in this case, Sleeping Giants really is World War Z meets The Martian. Written as a series of briefings, interviews and action logs/reports, we glimpse the action both as it is occurring and retrospectively.
This was a really interesting read; parts of it I could clearly see in my mind and parts of it felt like I was actually listening in on an interview in progress. It was almost kind of trippy in a way. In The Martian and World War Z there is a sense of urgency–a sense of a story in progress, quickly coming to ahead. In Sleeping Giants we get a big picture view; we see all aspects of this world changing discovery. We witness political and social repercussions, we see the red tape and the lengths gone to cut it, and yet we still get some personal relationships, all-but through the lens of duty and report.
As cliche as it may sound, the interviewer was my favorite character. Our nameless interviewer, aka orchestrater of all things big and small, is the only character we see in every report, log and interview and yet he is the biggest question mark of all. Not only is the reader trying to uncover the mystery of the giant hand but they are also, probably subconsciously, trying to uncover the mystery of our powerfully connected nameless “sir.”
There are so many twists and turns to this story. Every time you think you’ve got a handle on it, every time you start to root for someone, BAM another kink in the line. I think this is one of the reasons the interview narration works, because we are often surprised and we are kept wondering.
This is one of those stories that you just have to read to really get what I’m talking about. Because of the report/interview style writing, I would recommend reading this during the day and not in bed… I fell asleep a few times, not because I was bored but more because this isn’t a writing style suited to comfy beds and warm blankets. Overall, I give this one 4 stars and I am excited for the sequel in April.
That’s all for now!