Trips to the bookstore involve a few steps. Checking in on favorite authors for new books or covers, hunting down those to be reads that have been waiting for me or I read a great review on, and the browsing when the window shopping begins and dreams of an endless book budget happen. Back in May I had a different kind of experience, when I walked in to see the new releases greeting me and met one of the most unique covers to grace a bookstore. Sleeping Giants the debut novel of Sylvain Neuvel published in April of this year features a starry black cover with images of a bluish-green, robotic/technological influenced hand and head on opposing sides. Instantly drawn into the wonderful design, a quick read of the synopsis and my book store adventure was wrapped up before I visited my favorite little corners.
Sleeping Giants is told through a series of fictional interviews hosted by an enigmatic male figure. Documenting the investigation and research of giant pieces of a humanoid robot that have mysteriously appeared on Earth. The story touches on many genre elements from science fiction, mystery to political thriller and suspense. As the bigger picture of the discovery is slowly unravelled, stakes and investments are raised, as the characters and the world cope with what this machine might mean for humanity.
Consistently changing settings and characters, Sleeping Giants is full of turns and surprises. Anything but predictable, Mr. Neuvel has put together a creative, intriguing storyline, keeping up interest through out its abundant revelations and reversals. As the story progresses the importance of the scientific discoveries and the world grow larger, showing us how small each character is in the scheme of things. A strong theme and reminder of the whole book, that all of us are human and just how insignificant we can be.
Shining through the powerful themes, there are a few strong individual character stories. A warning not to become too attached to anyone, no one is safe and major sacrifices are made. Unpredictable in actions and developments, the characters carry much depth, because of these layers and unexpected revelations there is a realism to each personality. Realized in the fact, that no one could predict this villain until the final third of the book.
The nature of the books construction get this book compared to The Martian or World War Z, other than style there is no connection. It is difficult to compare this unique story to anything, and equally tough to narrow down a single genre of the book. Science Fiction is the general theme, yet there are only a few chapters that featured a science fiction style. Sylvain Neuvel has put out something very fresh for his debut novel, I am excited for the planned sequel and any other projects that are put out. I am giving Sleeping Giants a 4/5, only because I think it could be tighter, which adds to my excitement for the second installment. This book is picking up steam as I am starting to see it everywhere. The hype is well deserved and I highly recommend this book, especially to the booknerds who need to experience something fresh and a little different. Sleeping Giants is a thought provoking surprise, full of elements for every reader.
Thanks booknerds, sometimes you need to pick up that first book to catch your eye.