Thursday, January 18, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

A very solid 4 star read.

I really did not know very much about this book before I started Sleeping Giants except for what one learns in the blurb.

It turns out Sleeping Giants is about the discovery of a giant metallic hand (which unsurprisingly leads to the discovery of a giant robot).

The key conceit of the book is that the story is told exclusively in third person documents: transcripts of interviews between the main characters, news reports and other non-prose texts.

It's actually quite surprising how well this works. I have seen this done in smaller ways in other books (the famous epigraphs at the beginning of the chapters in Frank Herbert's Dune series immediately come to mind) but never really thought about how it would work as the entire text of a book.

That being said although the writing device is successful, the plot is less so. Honestly, it is somewhat simplistic, since in some ways not much actually happens, although in other views once can consider that quite a lot happens, since one of the main characters gets killed about halfway through the book. Interestingly, even though we never get any internal dialogue of any character we still get to know them well enough that one definitely cares about what happens to them in the story.

Another fun aspect of Sleeping Giants is that it features a seemingly omniscient narrator (he conducts the vast majority of the interviews for which there are transcripts) who has several conversations with many increasingly important people at the White House. It's a very unusual book when we really never get actual dialogue between characters, instead we get characters talking about conversations that they have had with other characters during interviews with the narrator.

Overall, Sleeping Giants is a fun, quick read that one can enjoy for its intriguing premise and clever execution; I am definitely looking forward to reading what happens next in the sequel(s).

Title: Sleeping Giants.
Sylvain Neuvel.
Paperback: 320 pages.
 Del Rey.
Date Published: April 26, 2016.
Date Read: January 6, 2018.

GOODREADS RATING: ★★☆  (4.0/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A-/B+ (3.5/4.0).


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