Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey
Length: 304 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
“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?”
If you’re interested in new SF releases, I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard about this book. Sleeping Giants was one of the most hyped SF books of 2016. And I mean what is not to love about the premise of this book ? It has been compared to The Martian by a ton of people and it’s about a giant alien robot buried in the ground and a team of scientists and military guys trying to found out how to make it work. Of course I wanted to read it.
Sleeping Giants wasn’t a bad book but it was underwhelming to say the least. I know I probably set my expectations way too high but still, I was disappointed with it. The beginning of the book was strong, I really enjoyed following the discovery and early research of the robot and it was my favorite part in the story. However, I quickly realized that the format of this book didn’t really work with me. It is told in interview transcripts, journal entries and recordings and even if it was interesting at first, after a hundred pages, I was bored with it. Indeed, everything felt very info-dumpy since almost all the interviews are lead by a mysterious dude who seems to know everything that is going on even before the actual protagonists. He’s mysterious, pretty rude, and overall, as much as Neuvel tries to make him so, not that interesting. I have to admit that I was intrigued by this character at first but then, he just annoyed me and I found myself skimming what he was saying.
Another issue that I had with is that, it’s very much a setup book, not a lot of thing actually happen here except at the end of course since this book has a pretty big cliffhanger. It’s much more focused on the politics of what the discovery of an alien artefact could make on the world and I really enjoyed this aspect, however, because of that, it didn’t have the amount of actions I wanted. While reading, I had the feeling that Sylvain Neuvel planned this series to be pretty long (it is at least going to be a trilogy but it could be longer) and because of that he didn’t wanted to put to much actions into this book. Because of that, I found that it has a lot of “filler” elements, for me some of the plotlines could have been cut out to have something far more interesting. For example, the love-triangle and the whole crazy scientist trope were not really essential to the story. I liked the bit on politics and if it had played a bigger part in the story, I would probably liked the book more.
Overall, Sleeping Giants is a fun popcorn read and if you’re on holidays and want something quick to read and not to demanding, it’s probably a nice pick. However, if you are expecting it to be “the next Martian” don’t, it’s really not and I canno’t understand the comparision, it’s not hard science at all, it’s not funny, none of the characters acted a bit like Mark Watney, it’s really nothing alike actually except science-fiction.It doesn’t make it bad but it’s not what I had in mind when I started reading. However, the premise was good and the ending did intrigue me and because of that, I’ll probably give the sequel a try. Hopefully, now that the setup is done, we’ll have more action and badass alien robots fighting scenes (I love me some of those !:P).