Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Science Fiction
As a child, Rose Franklin accidentally fell into a hole — and into a giant, glowing metal hand. No one can figure out what it is or where it came from or even when, until Rose grows up to become a scientist and lead a team of researchers to find answers. Rose and her team must assemble all the pieces to this puzzle to determine what this artifact is and what it can do.
This book is a tough one for me to rate, so I’ll wait until the end to get to that part. First, it’s important to note that this book is told through a series of interviews with an unnamed (probably) government agent, who interviews all the characters for his files (I assume it is a “he” based on a comment one of the characters made). If that just isn’t your style of book, skip this. There are very, very few chapters that aren’t told in interview form. The good news is that this format makes it a very quick read.
The next thing is that this is science fiction. Not sci-fi mixed with some other more approachable element, but real sci-fi, with significant bits talking about science. That’s not exactly my thing, but I thought it was easy to skim those parts. But again, if pure science fiction isn’t your thing, you probably won’t like this.
Now, all of that said, this was a really fascinating story, and I think very creative. I like the idea that there are aliens (or, there is an implication of them, anyway) without it getting too crazy. I also like that there seem to be real-world ramifications to this science and research. These people aren’t operating in a vacuum and there are international responses to what’s going on. I really liked that, and I thought it made it seem more real.
As far as the characters go, they were decent, but we didn’t get to learn a whole lot about them because of the format. This book was really about telling a story as it happened, through the lens of the people involved. We skip some bits that are likely less interesting and see instead the highlights of this otherworldly experiment. And that’s okay, because those parts are really interesting.
It makes you wonder whether the government is doing some of these things (not the alien part, necessarily, but some of the other things mentioned). I don’t know whether I hope they are or hope they aren’t, but either way, this was a fast-paced story about a pretty cool subject. There’s also a character that’s definitely hatable, which I think is pretty important. Also, the ending was pretty awesome. Not going to say why, but it’s worth getting to, I think.
So, why so much trouble deciding on a rating? Well, it was quick and had an interesting story, but I didn’t love the format and there were some parts that got bogged down in science. I’ve been going back and forth between three and four stars, but because of the ending, which I really liked, I’ll go with four. That said, I’d only recommend this if you’re okay with this format!