When it comes to publishers telling me their books are good, I tend to not trust them. I firmly believe that a company would never tell me their product was bad, so why should I trust them when they say its good? With this in mind, I was very skeptical of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I received an ARC copy of the book, which comes out of April next year, and was told it was “the next big thing”. Needless to say, it came as a huge surprise to me that I think the publisher is right, this book is going to do well because it is fantastic.
Sleeping Giants is the story of a literal giant, and a team of scientists who discover and study it. The giant is a scientific marvel, and is in pieces strewn all across the world. The job of the team is to recover all the pieces no matter where they lay, reassemble the titan, and bring it back to life so to speak. This is a problem for a variety of reasons, such as the giants presence is as subtle as a building demolition, parts of it are in hostile countries, and the team does not have a clue as to what it is or what it does. Thus begins a novel full of political drama, boundless curiosity, and scientific wonder.
The story is told in an offbeat manner, with the entire book written almost exclusively in dialogue from interviews about the project, reminding me fondly of World War Z. However, Sylvain Neuvel still manages to pack in tons of descriptions and storytelling through clever use of the interviews, occasional journals, and a few real time narrations of discoveries. The cast of characters in the story are varied and interesting, but none of them are particularly deep. The focus is much more on the constant discoveries the team makes, and the slow unraveling of the mystery of the giant. In fact. the deepest character is likely the interviewer himself who builds a lot of character as he talks to everyone else. The book is actually quite short, but is still very gripping and exciting. There are many minor twists that keep you on the edge of your seat and the novel does a great job exploring the cost of progress in mankind.
However, my one complaint with Sleeping Giants is that there didn’t really feel like there was a climax at the end of the book. The novel maintains an intense steady burn that kept me hooked page after page, but at the end of the novel I felt a bit like I had read the first half of a book and wished it had come to a more definitive end. However, it also felt like I read the first half of a really good book, so I was not that upset.
A lesson I learned with Sleeping Giants is not to review a book 6 months before it comes out, because now the wait for book 2 is even longer. The book is short, sweet, and thrilling and I definitely recommend it for all readers. Look for the fantastic Sleeping Giants in April of next year.