Imagine you are a young child who happens to fall down a hole in your backyard only to find a giant, metal, glowing hand. A decade or so later you are working on a project that is trying to find and piece together the remaining parts to a large metallic robot that may or may not have been left here by aliens more than 6,000 years ago. Except now, you no longer are looking in your own back yard. The pieces to the robot are scattered across the globe.
Sylvain Neuvel’s thrilling debut novel, Sleeping Giants, is the first book in the Themis Files series. I think the key word here is files. Each chapter is written as either a journal entry or as the transcription of an interview. The interviews are led by a mysterious, unnamed individual who is leading the charge to find and put together the mystery of the giant robot.
The story is told through the perspective of key characters and their reaction to the world changing events they are involved in.
Neuvel has a firm grasp on dialogue, giving each character a distinctive voice and tone. Hardly ever did I find myself feeling that the conversations were repetitive or expository. He mixes intrigue and suspense with wit and humor to create a truly enjoyable literary experience.
The plot is fun, exhilarating and quite enjoyable. It’s fast paced and, while not predictable, makes sense in a global kind of way.
My only complaint is toward the latter half of the novel, some characters are quickly introduced and some plot points happen so fast that they lead you to wonder if they could have been better planned or foreshadowed. The character’s personalities are revealed through their interviews. These latter events and characters have little time “on page” to leave that much of an imprint on us and seem not as developed as other. There really isn’t that much time for their (one in particular) motivations to be clear.
Although it’s the first in a series, Sleeping Giants stands alone. The author has written a riveting page-turner, leaving just enough speculation at the end to create a craving for the next novel in the series…which I hope comes soon. I received an advanced review copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Sleeping Giants is scheduled to be published in April 2016 but I read this back in December of 2015. Only now, at the request of the author, am I publishing this review. I hope the next novel in the series is quickly on the heels of this one.
Sleeping Giants looks to be the start of a very enjoyable science fiction series. I’m looking forward to seeing what Sylvain Neuvel will do next.
3 ½ stars out of 5