Posts Tagged ‘sylvain neuvel’

As a child Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery – a huge metallic hand, buried deep in the earth. She has since focused her scientific career on uncovering everything about the hand and the other gigantic body parts found scattered about the globe. When another robot is discovered and lashes out, Dr Franklin is closer to learning its secrets than ever before.

But as more machines appear, earth looks set for an invasion for which it is colossally unprepared. Mankind’s only chance is for Rose and her team to uncover the mysteries of the ancient technology or the earth might be lost to them forever . . .

Waking Gods

Sylvain Neuvel

Michael Joseph

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

Now, this is very much a sequel to “Sleeping Giants” and is told in the same unusual manner, as a series of interview transcripts, logs, and reports. If that style is irritated you the first time, then this sequel isn’t going to suit you any better.

Nine years later, and Themis is no longer alone. More titanic robots have appeared, first in London, then in major cities all over the planet. Much action and a great deal of destruction occurs. You know that eventually a solution will be found, and it is quite ingenious. However, questions remain, and that last sentence is simply begging for a sequel.

Giant robots really aren’t my thing, but there were enough interesting ideas, and enough grounding in actual science here to keep me reading. If you do like giant robots and wanton devastation (I always feel sorry for the poor innocent people who get killed in things like this – and for those who have to clean up the mess) then this is a book you should enjoy.

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A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Published by Michael Joseph

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

There are two important aspects to reviewing any novel; the story and how it is told. In the case of “Sleeping Giants” how it is told is so unusual, that I have to question whether it is technically a novel. It is certainly a work of fiction, but is written as a series of transcripts of interviews and reports, mostly involving a mysterious “Man in Black”. This gives a strange sense of remoteness from the characters and from events. The characters speak for themselves certainly, but the reader never gets inside their heads, to know what they are really thinking. If that style is going to irritate you, then don’t invest your time and money on this book.

Then there’s the story. Now, this is proper science fiction, utilising the well-trodden trope of alien artefacts, long buried on Earth, coming to the surface. Literally, in this case.

Where the author puts a contemporary spin on the story is to have various parts of the artefact spread around the planet, sometimes in less than easily accessible places, resulting in interesting political complications. I’m not entirely convinced by some of the events – the author stretches the long arm of coincidence a bit too far in places. And really the whole “backwards knees” thing is unnecessary (and most likely based on a common fallacy regarding avian anatomy). However, I did appreciate the references to both Biblical and Greek mythology (it is called the Themis Trilogy for a good reason).

0Overall, for me this book proved to be a solid win. There are negatives, but there are strong enough positives that it was an enjoyable read, and one I can safely recommend.