Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sleeping Giants

I've never been a sci-fi kind of gal, whether books or movies. Don't hold it against me, but I’ve never found great appeal in aliens, space travel, or robots. Star Wars, I'll pass. Star Trek, no thanks. For the most part, I’d rather keep my feet and head firmly planted in reality. Yet Sleeping Giants, the amazing debut novel by Sylvain Neuvel just made me a freaking convert. Holy moly, I absolutely loved it. An original and gripping thriller in the truest sense of the word for it thrills, excites and inspires with an unforgettable story.

From the publisher: “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?”

Sleeping Giants is easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year (or really any year). The plot is fully fleshed out with vivid characters, suspenseful drama, and a page-turning story that is relentlessly captivating. The story is told through interviews, journal entries, transcripts and news articles. You’d think this narrative format would somehow diminish the quality of character development, but instead we’re gifted with three-dimensional characters that capture both your heart and imagination; strengths, flaws, endearing idiosyncrasies and even acerbic wit is laid out like a feast for the readers enjoyment. A physicist, an army helicopter pilot, a linguist and a mysterious interrogator; the unlikeliest bunch of heroes you’ll ever meet.

Now for the good stuff, the robot. Oh yeah, there’s a robot. A giant robot. The hand from wrist to fingertip is nearly 23 feet and the torso is the height of a six-story building. Cool, huh? Here’s a little tidbit to leave you lightsaber fans salivating – our robot has weapons, our heroes haven’t discovered all of them yet, but one is a sword and shield; a focused-energy weapon, like a lightsaber, only wider, double-edged more like a medieval sword, kinda like Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings. Some of you are already running to Barnes & Noble or Amazon to buy your copy right? Believe me, there’s so much more.

What makes this new author’s achievement even more compelling is the fact that the book wasn’t published in the typical manner. Much like Andy Weir did with The Martian, Neuvel self-published and thankfully when the book garnered praise (well deserved), Hollywood and the publishing world came knocking.

Packed with twists and turns like any good thriller, giant robot or not, and capped off with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that leaves fans panting for the next book in the series – yes, it’s a series (I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait until next year), Sleeping Giants is a tour de force from a brilliant new author.