Review│Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

sleeping-giantsAuthor: Sylvain Neuvel // First published:  April 2016 // Genre: Science Fiction
This edition: 304 pages, published in April 2016 by Del Rey // Get it @TheBookDepository

Read in September 2016

Synopsis (from 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

Back when this book was announced, I read the first paragraph of the synopsis, and I was sold! Then I learned that the book would not have a traditional narration but  would be told through mission reports, interview transcripts, etc.. Illuminae style. I think (haven’t read it). And that made me a little nervous, because I wouldn’t know how I would be able to really get the full story from it. Well fear not my young padawans, you can enjoy the full story just fine!

The fact that the story is told mainly through dialogue means you get into the thick of it pretty quickly. For those of you who like to spend a lot of time with the characters, their internal struggles, how the events slowly develop, etc., this won’t be for you. Although in my opinion we do spend a sufficient amount of time with each character to understand who they are, what their motivations are, etc. And we do get a lot of points of view. I mean that their is a recurring character that is conducting the interviews, and he meats with plenty of people in all the cogs of the machine to give us plenty of breadth and amplitude when it comes to what is going on and how people are reacting to the events.

The book is relatively short, and I would have liked to spend a little more time with certain characters or to get a little bit more details about some situations; but that’s the part of me that’s used to traditional narration talking. And in that regard, it seems that this books starts and ends too quickly. In that sense, you really feel that this is the first book in a series, and that you need to read more to get the full scope of the story.

I think that Sleeping Giants is a great entry-point novel for people who don’t read that much science fiction but are interested in the genre.

My rating:

I really liked it. However, I understand how it could have gotten some pretty average reviews on Goodreads, because sometimes it can feel like something is lacking; but overall, I thought the story was compelling enough, the characters were relatable enough for the reader to get sucked into it. And I have to say, I can’t wait for the sequel (I don’t know, as of now, if this is supposed to be a duology or a more significant series, but I’ll take what I can get at this point).

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