Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Time taken to read: 4 days
Goodreads synopsis: 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 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—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected. 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 provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
I thought Sleeping Giants was going to be about actual living giants, perhaps giants that were asleep. I was not expecting a robot. (This probably has something to do with having seen the trailer for The BFG recently.) While I used to like Doctor Who very much, I have never considered myself a huge Sci-Fi fan, but oh my god, someone send me the sequel to this novel immediately. I’ve been staying up until like 2 AM reading this the past few nights. (Also, I can’t sleep anyway because I’m waiting to hear back about an interview I had at Random House. That’s right. I said Random House.) I haven’t stayed up late to read since I was in middle school, probably, besides the few times in college when I was feeling really emotional and stayed up to read Harry Potter and cry. I’m a grandma who likes to go to bed at 9 PM, okay?
Anyway, I was skeptical of the style of this book at first. It’s mostly set up like an interview between the people involved in the robot project and some unknown person whose role is a mystery. It’s funny, I automatically assumed the interviewer was female, until several chapters in when someone called him “sir”. It took a while to adjust to that. As for the style, though, I eventually realized that if each of these chapters had been written out in full description, this book would have been, like, a thousand pages long, and far fewer people read it. I wouldn’t have, for sure. But I did read it, and I was desperate to get to the end and find out if the robot was going to work and what it was for and what the symbols meant and so on and so on. And then we end on a major cliffhanger. I know this was only published a month ago, but seriously, where is my sequel? Oh, also, can we talk about Vincent’s knee surgery for a minute? That is the grossest and weirdest and most amazing thing ever. I would probably cry and throw up if I ever saw anything like that. But I guess when you’re putting together a giant alien robot, there’s not much left to be surprised by. I would have liked to have actually met some aliens, but maybe they’ll show up in the next book.
The only reason I ended up giving Sleeping Giants four out of five stars is because there were a lot of military things that made absolutely no sense to me, and I didn’t understand the politics of the project. I just wanted to hear about the robot. I don’t understand what Russia has to do with it, nor do I care. Also, I thought it was weird how they were like, “Hey, let’s dump the robot in the ocean just to go get it back a few months later.” What was the point of that? Maybe the point was explained in the politics part that I didn’t understand. I don’t know. Either way, y’all should read this book. It’s good. Also, wish me luck at Random House. I’ve been perpetually nauseous since my interview on Tuesday. Pray to all your gods and all the alien robots.