Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (a NetGalley Review)

I wasn't quite sure where to begin in my review on Sleeping Giants (to be published in April 2016 by Del Rey), so I'll start with the description from the publisher: 

World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

Regarding that first statement: other than the fact that this is told using scientific files and interviews, I don't believe it has anything in common with either The Martian or World War Z.  I just didn't feel any emotion towards the characters, or even just one character - there was no real hero to root for (like the FANTASTIC Mark Watney of The Martian) or a villain for that matter.  The 'mysterious and unnamed character' as interviewer does this novel a disservice.  Not knowing his angle made all the interviews seem lifeless and completely erased my suspension of disbelief.  How exactly is this 'nameless person' able to work with the President and our military without anyone knowing who he is??  As for the World War Z comparison, there was no real edge-of-my-seat tension.  Which was a real missed opportunity, because the story is pretty original and slick.  The idea that thousands of years ago, alien beings (perhaps?) left parts of a giant robot scattered around the globe for us to discover is kind of interesting.  It did read pretty quickly, and the plot went in some unexpected directions.  I just don't think it was executed as well as it could have been.


  1. Ugh, it's always such a letdown for me when I think a novel has so much potential and then falls flat; thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrea!