This first book in 'Themis Files' Sci-Fi series by Sylvain Neuvel and it began with an 11 years old kid, Rose Franklin falling down through a rabbit hole (not really but still, a hole). After she was saved, turns out that the place she fell upon was on a giant metal hand. The story then fast forward to 17 years later with Rose now leading a top secret team to unravel the origin, mystery and purpose of the giant robot together with the enigmatic Nameless Interviewer.
The story itself took place within our world and is filled with mostly conspiracies and politics surrounding the research on this giant robot. Something to praise here is that despite the book centered on Sci-Fi, there aren’t specifically tons of Science terminology that may confused readers who aren’t well versed in the category. This book is really easy on the science and can be read by everyone. People who loved the anime ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ in particular will definitely enjoy reading this book, there are a lot of similarities between the stories (NGE is obviously darker by far though). In terms of story, my favorite part will have to be all the intriguing mystery and secrets behind the giant robot mechanism and origin, plus how the characters dealt with the dilemma they faced between morality and their missions. Whether it's to sacrifice something in the name of the mission or to choose your morality, they all gave good result towards the plot.
“I was smart enough to know it was wrong, but not brave enough to stop them.”
Out of all characters in the book, The Nameless Interviewer appeared the most. To progress the plot, almost every chapter contained the interviewer and another character simply talking to progress the plot, whether it’s an interview or phone call. Yes, almost every single chapter consist of only 2 characters, one of them The Interviewer and the other, let’s say Rose or a different character.
Something you should know about this book is that the entire plot is told in an unconventional way. Rather than telling the story in chapter format, Sylvain replaced them with logs. This means journal entry, experiment/mission log and interviews, it’s pretty much just like a documentary. I came into this book without knowing anything about it and my feeling towards this direction is about half positive and half negative.
The positive parts with this direction, it made the plot progression very easy to read. The fact that the prose is really simple, combined with this storytelling method gives a fast paced experience focusing solely on the plot of the book greatly. Considering that the book is more or less only about 300 pages already, Sleeping Giants is a great page turner that you can definitely finish reading quickly.
However, the problems with this storytelling method are it was incredibly hard for me to connect and empathize with the characters. This is due to the reason we never get to live inside the characters head because everything is told through dialogue, no narrative and this also means there aren’t any actions to be found. I can’t help but think that this book would actually be better if it’s told in a normal storytelling method.
After hearing from several sources that the second book improved in quality significantly and especially after that great ending, I will continue straight to the sequel. Overall, my opinion on Sleeping Giants is that it’s a quick fun read for lover of Sci-Fi and giant robots like Pacific Rim/Neon Genesis Evangelion but it can definitely still be better.