11 May 2016

Review #426: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

----T.S. Eliot

Sylvain Neuvel, a Canadian author, pens his debut sci-fi thriller, Sleeping Giants that is the first book in his new series, Themis Files, that narrates the story in one of the most unique way ever possible in the world of telling stories, i.e., through interviews, transcripts, journal entries, conversations, newspaper articles, etc and the readers are bound to carve their way out through this challenging and intelligent story of a girl stumbling upon a giant robotic hand when she was little and later when she grew up, she helped her country's government to help find the other pieces of this giant alien robot, but what purpose does this alien robot serve, and who kept it scattered across this planet?


An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian


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-shaped 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 - the object's origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

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 relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history's most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Twenty years ago, Dr. Rose Franklin, fell in a giant pit on the day of her 11th birthday and the next day, she was found lying in the palms of a giant metallic hand inside a hole, the walls of which are carved with strange, alien and illuminating symbols. But today, she works with a secret team with the government of her country to search for the other suspected pieces and to finally out them together and make it work if possible, only to put their curious minds at ease. What this powerful team of A-class and highly trained pilots did not predict is the political turbulence that they would cause due to collection of those giant alien robot body parts without any permission from the governments of those countries. But the more the countries are bickering with their issues, the more the case of this robot is confusing them, and so did the readers felt dubious about it.

At the end of the story, it will raise a lot of unanswered questions and I only hope that the next book comes out bit early, so I could put my curious mind at ease. Firstly, I must confess that words will fall short to express my feelings about the author's ingenious way of portraying this story, that not only challenged me and enlightened me but also compelled me to stay glued till the very end. Secondly, just look at that cover image, it will immediately arrest you with it's alluring and intriguing features.

Let's just give this author a big round of applause for presenting and introducing a whole new level of story telling with interviews, short journal entries, personal thoughts, selected articles from news papers and transcripts. The author's writing style is articulate and that can be easy to comprehend with even with this unconventional method of writing. The narrative is engaging and smart and will keep the sharp-witted minds arrested along with the fast-paced and swift flow of the story line.

The author has penned about all the logical and scientific explanations and reasons meticulously for his readers ease, thus letting the readers contemplate with those explanations. Moreover, the author's excellent imaginative skills come into play as he laces new inventive means with human knees. The mystery in this book will keep the readers anticipating about it till the very end. The author unravels his questions and missing links through the layers page-by-page, and as the readers get near the core of the story, they can easily picture what is actually happening with the story line.

The characters are, to be honest, bit hard to connect with at the start of this book, but eventually, along with the story's flow, the characters evolve out of their skin and get inside the minds of the readers. There is no such thing called primary characters in this story, as the story revolves around this team on a mission to find and join the body parts of the giant robot, namely, there are, Dr. Franklin, who is a dedicated and determined scientist who is on her path to search for truth, Kara, a brave and fiery pilot who stumbles into a bit of love triangle with her co-pilot, Ryan, who is quite a looker, and with a linguistic expert, Victor, who was on his path to find the underlying meanings beneath those strange symbols, then there is, Alyssa, a gene expert and is vying for the post of Dr. Franklin and the mysterious operator of this team, whose identity is not revealed, yet he too evolves through the narrative among other characters. His demeanor is something who is devoid of emotions and would go at any length to put this giant robot together. As a whole, the characters are well-developed.

Overall, the mystery surrounding this strange artifact arises a lot of questions regarding humanity as a whole and that will keep the readers questioning themselves so as to understand the depth and logic of such questions. The author did a great job to make his readers wonder about the existence of other artificial or natural intelligent beings.

In a nutshell, this book is a must read and this page-turner can be enjoyed by any genre of readers as the book covers a lot of social and moral grounds.

Verdict: The book is and will create a lot of noise in the literary world, so do not miss it!

Courtesy : Thanks to the author, Sylvain Neuvel, for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book.

Author Info:
Sylvain Neuvel dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and peddled furniture across Canada. He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He taught linguistics in India, and worked as a software engineer in Montreal. He is also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut. He likes to tinker, dabbles in robotics and is somewhat obsessed with Halloween. He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).
Visit him here

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1 comment:

  1. I saw this when it turned up from the publisher at work and it didn't really appeal to me at the time but now reading this I fancy it .... However that copy has gone walkies :-(


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