Review! Sleeping Giants (The Themis Files #1)

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

336 Pages

Published by: Del Rey on April 26, 2016

Summary (from amazon.com):

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:

Someone recommended this book to me and because I respect his opinion very much I decided to give it a go. Well, that and I was also curious as to what types of books he likes. Honestly, this genre doesn’t sound like anything I’m even remotely interested in. The only sci-fi book I can recall actually trying was Bounders by Monica Tesler, and this book sounds completely different.

The author, Sylvain Neuvel.

Throughout this book I’m getting the feeling of The Iron Giant. It almost feels like the book is picking up right where the movie left off. The book starts with a young girl who accidently falls into a giant mechanical hand when playing outside. The book then picks up with the same little girl, now a Dr. in physics, starting a project to research this phenomenon. She concludes that the rest of the piece of a robot are somewhere on Earth so she embarks to find them all. When the pieces are together they seem to sense each other and they snap together (remember from The Iron Giant?). Eventually the robot is complete and the team begins to try to figure out how to control it. The whole time I’m just picturing them putting The Iron Giant back together. Even when the author describes the anatomy of this robot and it’s not even humanoid and the robot is clearly female.

To be clear, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. But, it did feel like an extended introduction as, when you boil it down, not much really happened. They put together the robot, had an accident resulting in multiple “deaths,” sunk the robot into the sea, retrieved the robot, then restarted the project. I am actually very excited to read the next book in the series. After reading the summary for that one, it seems it will be a lot more plot heavy.

Some highlights of the book for me were the non-tradition narrative and the Greek/Roman mythology tie-in. The narrative of the book is done as interviews, journal entries, and reports. This made the chapters pretty short and easy to read. Although, the supposed “action-heavy” scenes didn’t translate well. For example when Ryan was disarming all those guards at the end. In addition, the mythology tie-in to the story was rather interesting and something that didn’t even cross my mind until brought up. I thought it was a clever way to ground the story to reality.

An alternate cover.

When my friend lent me that book he told me there was a surprise ending, which ended up being that the scientist once thought of as dead is alive. However, she appears to be younger than she should be by the linear time. This idea was alluded to earlier in the book when that mysterious man says thy may “send people back to the stone age to mature a little more.” Meaning that this outwardly presence doesn’t view time in the linear sense as the humans on Earth do. An interesting surprise, though when someone tells you there will be a surprise that, in and of itself, ruins the surprise. So I can’t say the ending caught me off guard, but it has kept me hooked for the second book.

As mentioned above, I will certainly read the second book and likely the third as well. I’m relieved this book series is only a trilogy and all the books have already been released. I don’t do well with cliffhangers, and this book ends on quite the cliffhanger. Luck for me, I can just drive right into the second book.

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