Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel


A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

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 relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

I was thinking all night and day about Sleeping Giants (which means no matter what, this book made me think a lot), trying to decide whether I liked it or not. From one side, I was really excited to read a story about an ancient advanced civilization that had left a surprise ‘gift’ for humans on Earth. I always considered our history half buried under the layer of mysteries, half re-written, with lots of white spots and gaps in chronology, and wasn’t always on board with the official historical science. So, of course, Sleeping Giants seemed like a perfect book to practice my theory of doubt. Did I get what I was asking for? I for sure did, but not as I had imagined.

Sleeping Giants has an absolutely fantastic concept but quite boring execution. The interview format absolutely splendidly worked for me in Illuminae Files, but here it failed to impress, thus creating zero chemistry or sympathy with the characters from my side. I disliked all of them, except for the Mystery Man behind the story. That person was rich and mysterious, and absolutely overshadowed other characters. Typical American boys and girls scouts with boring personalities that somehow just felt flat to my taste. Maybe it was the point, so the Mystery Man would outshine all of them, but I think it’s just me and my antipathy for the characters. We just didn’t click I and didn’t care.

⭐ The other thing, I found this book highly politicized and narcissistic. For sure, it’s okay to express political views in a book that you have written, but, as a reader, I don’t have to agree with the author’s view on the globalized community. Well, I full heartedly disagree with lots of things, moreover, I find them highly cliched and onesided. I wish there was more neutrality to the story’s agenda, but unfortunately, it was not the case. This is why I try to avoid politics in books. From the other side, I saw that the author tried to be cynical and snide on purpose because it served the plot and the idea of omnipotence, which are important instruments of the plot. Understandably so. But I can assure you I can distinct cynical-on-purpose and cynical-because-you-don’t-know-better, so I will stick with my antipathy for now.

⭐ I don’t want to be all that criticizing. For sure I can appreciate excellent language; a huge amount of research and erudition that were invested in the story. Again, the Mystery Man is the star! And I am left curious as for what is going to happen next. But that is a kind of curiosity you do not feel happy and excited about; it’s more like an itch you want to scratch but afraid you’ll make it worse. I guess I will find out soon if my opinion is changeable or I’ll be stuck with the sour taste of disappointment in my mouth.

All in all, many people commented in their reviews that this book had left them feeling so small in the eyes of the universe and the unknown. Who are we? Where are we coming from? Are we safe from the outer? I wished with all my heart to feel those vibes as well because, usually, these questions make me feel so small in a big, big universe, but, alas, this time I couldn’t chase that wonderful and terrifying feeling.

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