by Sylvain Neuvel
Reviewed by SA
Those who know me know that I NEED good science fiction in my life. I need a story that pushes the limits of modern day thinking and make us dream about the possibilities the universe has to offer. When I saw that this novel was compared to The Martian, one of my all time favorite books, I jumped at it, and was no disappointed: Sleeping Giants is a fun, intriguing, fascinating novel that had me hooked from the very first page.
17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.
When a second body part is found almost twenty years later, a team is assembled to figure out exactly what these giant pieces are for, and what on earth it all could possibly mean. A team is assembled, comprised of a physicist, a pair of pilots, a linguist, and a biologist; pieced together by a mysterious, nameless figure who seems to have more power than we could ever possibly know…
Rather than using the usual novel format, the story is told through a collection of oral journal entires, and interviews with the nameless figure. This makes it somewhat complicated to connect with the characters, as everything we know about them is given through dialogue, so there is no direct connection with any of them.
However, this is definitely not a problem: the plot is so compelling, you’re hooked either way. It was a fascinating story from start to finish, with the characters throwing out hypothesis over what this giant could possibly be about as fast as you could. There were twists and turns, some awful moments that make you cringe, some exciting events that make you grip the novel so tight your hands will hurt.
It’s sciency, but not science heavy: perfect for geeks like me, and lovers of robots of all ages. The interview format gives it all a sense of realism, without going too deep into scientific explanations that would have scientist groaning. Instead, there is a lot of speculation, coupled with recent discoveries based on the scientific method.
And it’s rather beautiful, actually. Myths and legend play an important role towards the end, and it’s rather gorgeous how they intertwine with history. Somehow, a novel about a giant buried in pieces across earth manages to be delicate and profound. It’s possibly one of the best science fiction novels I have read in ages, and I’m adding it to my list of favorite books.
For fans of science fiction and myths, this book is gripping and beautiful. Too bad you have to wait until April 26th to read it! Published by Random House.
Also, isn’t that cover just gorgeous?