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Sleeping Giants (The Themis Files) Paperback – January 24, 2017
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“Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, Sleeping Giants is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars.”—Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising
“As high-concept as it is, Sleeping Giants is a thriller through and through. . . . Not only is Sleeping Giants one of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory, it’s a smart demonstration of how science fiction can honor its traditions and reverse-engineer them at the same time.”—NPR
“[Sylvain] Neuvel weaves a complex tapestry with ancient machinery buried in the Earth, shadow governments, and geopolitical conflicts. But the most surprising thing about the book may just be how compelling the central characters are in the midst of these larger-than-life concepts. . . . I can’t stop thinking about it.”—Chicago Review of Books
“First-time novelist Sylvain Neuvel does a bold, splashy cannonball off the high dive with Sleeping Giants. It bursts at the seams with big ideas and the questions they spawn—How much human life is worth sacrificing in the pursuit of scientific progress? Can humanity be trusted with weapons of ultimate destruction? And the biggest: Are we alone? But all that really matters is that this book is a sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages.”—Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy
“A remarkable debut . . . Reminiscent of Max Brooks’s World War Z, the story’s format effectively builds suspense.”—Library Journal (debut of the month)
“This stellar debut novel . . . masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. . . . A page-turner of the highest order.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] fascinating first novel . . . This intriguing tale is entirely worthy of an adult audience.”—Publishers Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Sylvain Neuvel is a linguist and translator based in Montreal. He is at work on an R2-D2 replica and his next novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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The basic premise is the accidental discovery by a little girl of a gigantic sculpted hand made of unknown metals and housed in panels inscribed with strange symbols. No one knows what it is, except that it's thousands of years old and defies anything discovered in human history to date. The little girl grows up to become the scientist who studies it and discovers it's only a piece of a whole--representing a giant metal statue or robot, with its various components scattered throughout the world. So begins a secret hunt to find the pieces, assemble them, and figure out what the heck this thing is, how it got here, and what it's meant for.
If you like sci-fi and action, this should be at the top of your list. If you dislike "documented interview" or "journal entry" narratives, this may not be for you. I know a lot of people express frustration with this style of writing as being distracting or confusing, and if not well done, it certainly can be. However, I think Sleeping Giants does a great job of keeping the characters straight (mostly by telling you at the top of each chapter who the interview is with), and I think the voices of the characters and the dialogue do a great job of filling in the details of the story. I prefer lots of dialogue in an action story, anyway...reading pages and pages of detail on a supposed action sequence will lose my interest quickly.
Overall, this is a fun read with an interesting plot, so I'm giving 5 stars for its entertainment value and how much I enjoyed it. And I'll definitely be reading the sequel.
I decided to look into this book when I heard that it had already been picked up to be made into a movie. I was intrigued. I am not a fan of this narrative style where the story is told as a series of interviews or documents, like it was with World War Z, but still, I was curious about this book. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. However, let me qualify this statement; I purchased both the eBook as well as the audible version. The audible version is read by an actual cast of several narrators, and is what made the book come to life for me. The few times I read the eBook, I found myself wishing I was able to switch back to the audiobook. That's not too say that the story is bad, but to me this kind of book came to life more easily when performed than on a page. Personal opinion, obviously.
The theme was interesting to me. A new take on the "alien artifact" story, but one that was well executed, in my opinion. And it was also enhanced by the fact that they took into account current geopolitical conditions, and did not recur to tropes such as creating a one-world defense force like the United Federation of Planets so the whole world could benefit and everyone lived happily ever after. At least they haven't done so in this first book. Having the US traipse all over the world with their special teams tracking down pieces of this giant machine put them in a huge heap of trouble, because we do not live in a perfect world. That made it more real to me.
The books ends in a way that wraps the current story neatly, but clearly leaves the door open for any of us who want to know more, and to find out what happens next. I have already preordered the next book in this series.
But, to be fair, the book was not all bad. The development of some of the characters was good (including the nameless interviewer). It raised some interesting issues about how we make decisions. Perhaps the author's next book will be better.