Review: Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**A large thank you to Ballantine within the Random House Publishing Group for providing me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley for the purposes of review**

If it weren’t for an intriguing mystery and a great character in Kara, I’m not entirely sure I would have been able to finish this novel.

Pitched as World War Z meets The Martian — two books I enjoyed very much — this first book in the Themis Files series starts off very well: a girl falls through the ground to land on the palm of a giant metal hand. What is this contraption? How did it come to be there? These questions form the foundation of the ultimate mystery of Sleeping Giants.

Told entirely through transcripts of interviews with various characters, there is one other mystery that crops up throughout the novel: who, exactly, in the interviewer? It’s such a great question, and one to which I so desperately wanted to know the answer, that I fought through all of the interviews that form the basis of this novel all the while mixing up characters and forgetting most of them.

Except Kara.

Kara is dynamite. She’s blunt to the point of being caustic, incredibly confrontational and argumentative, and has a clear issue with authority. She provides a delightful breath of fresh air to the rest of the characters, whom all (for me, at least) blended together into a sea of similar-sounding voices. But not Kara — Kara I could recognize from one sentence. I, therefore, find it rather disappointing that all of the rest of the characters ended up sounding so similar to each other. Perhaps it is just the nature of the novel’s construction, having it told through interviews, or some trick to make Kara stand out all the more, but I did find it frustrating as I read through.

The questions of: What are these massive metal body parts?; Where did they come from?; and Who is this mysterious interviewer? are left open at the end of the novel. Given this is the first book in a series, this makes sense, and it’s meant to whet the reader’s appetite for more. Well, consider mine whetted. I want to meet this interviewer by name. I want to know about these massive metal female body parts. I want to know who put them there. All I ask is that Kara still be along for this ride with me.

Fun fact: Themis was one of the Ancient Greek titans and was the personification of divine law, which is what her name can sort of roughly translate to. I don’t see such naming as coincidental, so I can’t help but wonder how this will all play out within the series.

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