Thanks Goodreads for sending me a free copy of this book through First Reads...
I should know better than to read books that are the first in a seriesThanks Goodreads for sending me a free copy of this book through First Reads...
I should know better than to read books that are the first in a series when they've just come out. I hate having to wait for what happens next. But, hey, free copy, right? And also, it's probably a good sign that I'm excited for the next book. (By the way, is it a trilogy? Please tell me it's only a trilogy. I can't do this for seven books...)
In any event, Sleeping Giants is a well-plotted sci-fi thriller that is hard to step away from. It launches right into intrigue, telling us the story of a girl falling into a hole and thereby accidentally discovering a giant metal hand covered in strange symbols and inexplicably glowing. From there, fast forward to the girl being a grown-up scientist (who can apparently do just about any field of science thrown at her) working on figuring out what on Earth (or elsewhere?) this hand is all about. Add in a sassy helicopter pilot, an arrogant linguist, and a mysterious voice leading the project, and you have some fun plot ahead.
I emphasize plot here because character development is not a strong suit. The characters are a bit too one-dimensional. Also, we know the linguist is supposed to be arrogant because the author tells us, but his behavior throughout the book doesn't really support that characterization. We also meet a jerk scientist at some point who is always a jerk, and that's about all she has to offer. So, you want deeply fleshed out, complex characters, you've come to the wrong place. But that's not what we're here for, so forget about this, it's not an issue, just enjoy the ride of the plot line.
And the plot is fun. I'm not even going to try describing it without completely spoiling the joy of making discoveries and watching new events develop. While the characters are somewhat trite, the plot is clever and relatively unpredictable. And things keep happening. There's never a dull moment. The dull moments are probably covered by all of the file entries that have been omitted from the collection in the book. So, bully for getting to the good stuff.
That also brings up one of the more notable aspects of the book, which is that it is told in the form of documents taken from, apparently, the "Themis files." There are scattered diary entries and electronic logs, but most of the file excerpts we read are transcripts of interviews between the mysterious, nameless puppet master behind the research project and the various heroes and secondary characters of the story. I was worried when I started in on the book that this was too gimmicky a concept and that I was going to get bored with it. As it turned out, I got over that concern pretty quickly, and I think the gimmick actually makes the story move along that much faster. There are moments where plot points got shoehorned into the interview concept a bit awkwardly, but not many of them. My one real complaint here: I wish Neuvel had included dates of the various documents. The timeline is a bit hard to suss out, and there are moments where I was surprised to learn that months or a year had passed between particular events.
Ultimately, I'm very happy with this book. Again, if you want deep character development, look elsewhere. But if you want an enjoyable sci-fi ride that you will want to read in one sitting and that will leave you wishing you had part two on your shelf, then I'm glad to recommend this one.
Now come on, Mr. Neuvel. I need the next book!...more
This should be required reading for everyone living in the U.S. Bryan Stevenson is an inspiring lawyer, and he details here--using concrete examples oThis should be required reading for everyone living in the U.S. Bryan Stevenson is an inspiring lawyer, and he details here--using concrete examples of real individuals--so many of the problems pervasive in our criminal justice system, problems that result in incredibly unfair processes and punishments for so many people (and poor people of color, more often than not). This is more than just Stevenson's own story; this book should be read as a call to action....more