Wanting a fresh read with a unique structure and exciting twists and turns? Of course you do! This past week I’ve been reading Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, it’s a gripping science fiction and thriller read.
The basic outline of the plot (spoiler free!) is that parts of a giant entity have been discovered all around the world after being dormant for thousands of years. This opens up the questions of where did this thing come from? Why was it found separated all over the planet? And most importantly, is the human race ready for what is to come? To start to answer these questions a team is put together by a mysterious character who is the puppet master of the whole operation.
Sleeping giants is written in a structure unlike anything I’ve come across before. The whole book is templated off something that would quite easily resemble a top secret file. Almost all of the book is set out in an interview format between this mystery man and the characters he interacts with. This creates a refreshing and unique reading experience.
World building is kept to an absolute minimum as you learn everything through character dialogue. I can appreciate that those of you who like to read more complex world building may be slightly put off by the idea of this however, I’d really recommend you give this book a chance. You won’t be spoon fed anything and this creates the opportunity for your imagination to run wild.
The book itself is about 320 pages long, so it’s a decent sized read and is book one of the Themis files what is made up of three books. Although it is worth mentioning there are some bonus texts that fit into the series. These aren’t novels, they are more works of flash fiction.
Things I loved
One thing I didn’t expect to be a fan of was the length of the files. The files are effectively your chapters however, there are a lot of them and they’re all pretty short. Personally, I love a chapter I can get really stuck into and this usually come in the form of big, chunky chapters. Sleeping giants doesn’t do big chapters but I found myself enjoying this. I could dip in and out of the book so easily because you weren’t stuck in this big chapter where there wasn’t a neat place to put the book down. I could simply pause when I reached the end of the chapter that I knew wasn’t all that far away. This oddly meant I was picking up the book far more than any of the other books I’m currently reading. If I only had ten minuets before I needed to do something I always reached for this book over the others because I knew I would be reaching a nice place to stop by the time ten minuets came around.
The characterisation in the book is on a whole other level, hats off to the author for this. Seeing as there is the limitation of only discovering information through dialogue, I felt like I really knew the characters. Every single one of them had some human flaw, they were rough around the edges, and this created this deep feeling of humanity off every single one of them.
Things that I struggled with
I’ve been saying loads that I love the file layout this book has, and I stand by that, but there were a few teething issues that are worth noting. As great as the layout is, it did take me a little while to get used to it and that’s because I mistook the file introduction as an image rather than an import bit of information.
In the majority of books your chapters will start with the chapter heading, and sometimes name, followed by the text that is the story. On the kindle (I can’t comment for the paper book, although I will be buying the paper copy) the chapter title had it’s own designated page. This page looks like a file, it’s in a big font and gives you the file number, the location and the name of the person who is being interviewed as well as their rank/ role. I mistook this as a design choice and didn’t pay any real attention to the text… this was a mistake.
The information on this page is very important as that’s the only way you’re really going to know who is being interviewed. I skimmed past this for the first few chapters and had no idea what was going on. This was 100% a mistake on my behalf, it’s not a criticism of the layout at all, and once I realised my mistake I went back to start and reread the chapters I didn’t get.
Like I said, this isn’t a criticism of the book this is a criticism of how I read, but I am aware I won’t be the only person who will do this. So, if you’ve got a fast paced reading style like I do I really recommend slowing down with this book and take in every bit of information. You’re going to be left a lad confused if you ignore those file introductions.
Have you read Sleeping giants? If so let me know what your thoughts were. I fully intend of finishing the rest of the series. I’m not sure I’ll do an individual review for each book (unless you guys want me to) but I’ll most likely to a summary of the series once I’ve read them all so keep an eye out for that.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and I’ll talk to you all next Wednesday for the next post