Today, I’m doing something a little different. I requested a copy of the new sci-fi novel Sleeping Giants on NetGalley, and they graciously agreed to provide me a copy in exchange for a review. My husband found the book and read it in one sitting. Considering that he’s a better writer than I, I’m happy to feature his review today.
My first impressions of Sylvain Neuvel’s debut novel were actually not that great. I had the day off, coffee at the ready, Christmas slippers donned. The dog had been walked, the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast, and the living room perfectly tidy. I settled in for a lengthy foray into what I was anticipating would be a solid sci-fi thriller. My wife sold it to me as “the style of World War Z meets the science of The Martian”. Being a total nerd, I was thoroughly looking forward to Sleeping Giants.
Two chapters into the book, I literally thought to myself, “this writing is just so-so”. I kept telling myself that I would put the book down any minute. Five chapters in, I was still waiting for some action to happen. Sure, there was intrigue aplenty–who doesn’t want to read more about a little girl found lying unconscious in the palm of a giant, ancient and certainly metal alloy hand? However, I found it difficult to adjust to a writing style which relies completely on dialogue to move the story along.
Five hours and roughly 75% of the book later, I was utterly enthralled. The slippers were off, my feet too sweaty from excitement. I leaned forward, elbows on my knees, a positional change which combines maximum focus with maximum stress relief. My dog, the cutest puppy on this earth, began to chew on the rug–I didn’t care. I am still not sure how he did it, but Neuvel got this freight train of a story moving at the speed of sound. Told entirely in an interview format, Sleeping Giants manages to appeal to the hard sci-fi lover as well as the cloak-and-dagger enthusiast. Are you fascinated by languages and anthropology? Sleeping Giants has something for you. Do you enjoy the way space operas create an epic galactic history? You’ll be pleasantly surprised about half way in. Do you get weak in the knees for physics and scientific inquiry? Neuvel hath provided.
I could go on. Being a fan of all stories military, Sleeping Giants was right up my alley. Did I mention that this guy gives considerable attention to the geopolitical sphere of things? It reminded me of Orson Scott Card’s series about Bean, the genius friend of the genius Ender Wiggin. I also tend to get really attached to characters and am consequently frustrated when a writer’s character development is just so-so. If you end picking up the book, and you should, it will be worth your time to give the main characters a chance. Around 40% in, you’ll start to feel the feels for these people and the cosmic drama they find themselves in.
Emotional Involvement: ★★★1/2
Get the book. Read the book. Share the book. It’s refreshing to come across an original story and an out-of-the-box style.