Written by Manar Nassef
“Sleeping Giants” is the first book in the “Themis Files” series released in April 2016. It easily gained attention, with its narration method and cool glowing robot. Sylvain Neuvel has created this Sci-Fi novel and succeeded at making us feel how truly small we are in the grand scheme of things.
On the birthday of eleven-year-old Rose Franklin, she goes riding her bike in the woods and lands in a perfect square hole that has turquoise glowing carvings on the inside walls. When Rose is saved the following day, it turns out she was lying in the palm of a giant hand. From then on, the area becomes secured by military and a research project begins.
Flash forward seventeen years, Rose Franklin pursues her love for science and is now a physicist. Rose is then recruited by an anonymous interrogator and chosen to lead a team to find out the origins, function, and architecture of the giant hand, or as they like to call it: artifact.
The book is told in a series of interviews between the anonymous interrogator and members of the team. I couldn’t help but feel like the characters all had the same voice, with the exception of Kara and the interrogator.
There’s this nagging question at the back of my mind throughout the book: who is the anonymous interrogator? He has the resources to finance a wide scale operation like this, manipulate, or threaten people into doing what he wants, even the former president himself. At one point, it doesn’t matter who he is as much as what he’s capable of doing. I don’t think, as a reader, you are able to realize how truly smart, manipulative, and vindictive he can be, until part five of the book. I’m extremely interested to find out where Sylvain will go with this character in the next book.
Fortunately for Sylvain, alien robots can make a story better. It’s interesting to read in a journal entry of Dr. Rose Franklin, how she feels about being the leader of a research project that might end up building the most destructive weapon man will come to know. Now, with the risk of WWIII on the horizon due to their endeavors in gathering robot parts and the possibility of being annihilated by alien beings out there, every action made decides where human beings shall go next.
What Sylvain really succeeded at was making sure that all the characters knew they were not as important as they, or we, thought them to be.
“Sleeping Giants” is a fun read that passes by lightly thanks to the glowing robots and Kara. The second book of the series, “Waking Gods“, is published with the introduction of more colossal machines.
What do you think?
If you read “Sleeping Giants”, tell us whether you think it would’ve been better if it had been narrated from a third point of view, or not, and how you feel about the characters. If you haven’t read it yet, give it a read and tell us what you think.