Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Published: April 26, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Description: A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.
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 relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
“I was smart enough to know it was wrong, but not brave enough to stop them.”
Sleeping Giants was the first book in Themis Files, a sci-fi series by Sylvain Neuvel. Through a chronicle of interviews and documents, the reader learned about the discovery of an ancient artifact and the tantalizing story that transpired.
I’ll leave the summary to one sentence because I believe this is one novel that is best to dive into blind.
Epistolary novels had been hit or misses for me in the past as it was difficult to make a connection to the characters when it felt like I was just reading stories about a story. Although I enjoyed uncovering gripping mysteries, I also wished to see characters grow under fraught circumstances.
Sleeping Giants ultimately impressed me with its ability to balance plot and character development with its alternative format.
Because the majority of the book consisted of a series of interviews between the narrative’s key subjects and a seemingly omniscient interviewer, it provided the author an opportunity to share dozens of perspectives and angles of the complex story.
Every document in the collection felt intentional. If an account wasn’t revealing the origins or science of the uncovered ancient technology, then it was complicating the findings with world politics and every characters’ personal—and usually emotion-driven—agendas. Eventually, even the most distant and indifferent of characters opened up with enough probing questions, including our not-so-detached-anymore interviewer, an instance that made appreciate the many layers to to the story.
Sleeping Giants was a satisfying blend of science fiction, politics, and drama. A strong beginning to the Themis Files, it set the series up for endless probabilities with its jaw-dropping cliffhanger. I’d recommend this book to those who are looking to start a page-turning story filled with scientific conspiracies and an unpredictable arms race.