“Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel


asteriaiconI generally leave the science fiction reading to Artemis, as it is more up her alley, but this seemed really intriguing, and I just had to pick it up. I tend to shy away from sci-fi, I find it hard to believe, and harder to really wrap my head around, but this was just a perfect way to really get introduced to the genre. I kept hearing about this novel all over the place, seeing it in various articles around the internet, and hearing about it in a podcast, and I just found it too intriguing to not pick up.

The story starts out with Rose, a then eleven-year-old girl who gets a bike for her birthday. She sneaks out of the house to take her new ride for a spin, when she falls through a hole in the earth unexpectedly. She loses consciousness, and when she comes to it is now dark and there are firemen looking down on her with confused and terrified faces. The thing is, Rose awakens cradled in a giant metal hand, and the hole she fell in is really a square, held up by large metal walls that have glowing symbols carved in them. Flash forward seventeen years, and Rose is now head of the project to determine what this giant metal hand is and what its purpose is.

Through the progression of their research they determine that wherever the hand and walls came from, they are certainly not from Earth. The walls and hand are made of metallic material that does not exist on Earth in such large quantities. The giant hand is followed by the discovery of an arm, and a leg, and a torso, and other various body parts that have been scattered throughout the globe, and are joined together to make one giant female robot. Finding these body pieces have come at a price, with people from the general public dying during the process of discovery and excavation, not to mention the many laws and treaties broken internationally.

This is the first novel in the Themis Files series. The story is told almost entirely through interviews between an unknown, unnamed man, and various scientists, military personnel, and pilots. It is very reminiscent of World War Z in that respect. While this way of writing provides us with little in the way of action, we get to see the story progress in each characters own words, and even without action there is still quite a bit of suspense around what is happening. It also made for a quick read. I plowed through this book in a few days.

The interesting thing with this book is it looked at the concepts of morality vs mission, and the usage of technology as a whole. What are we as a society willing to pay as a price for technology? Is it okay to lose the lives of a few people? One hundred? What about one thousand? Are we using technology for the right reasons? What would happen if we did find alien technology? Would we use it for good? For evil? Who decides the use of such technology? Who even owns it; the specific country that started the search or the whole world?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and cannot wait to read the second one. This is also a book I think would make a very good transition to the big screen!

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