Written by Sylvain Neuvel
Published by Del Rey, April 26 2016
My star rating: 4 stars
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?
I read this one back in November of last year and thought that I would add it to the blog because I liked it so much. I was drawn to it for a few reasons. First of all, it’s written by a Canadian author. There aren’t too many books out there by Canadian authors so this intrigued me. But the main reason this one caught my attention was the cover. I mean it’s gorgeous! The colours pop, and the design is interesting, but what I loved most is that there is a hole in the dust jacket that reveals the design on the actual hard cover. Let’s just admire this for a minute:
Now enough with the cover envy, let’s get to the review. This book was so very interesting for many reasons. The format of this one reminds me of the Illuminae files (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff) in the way that it was told like a case files, just without the pictures. The majority of this book was told from the perspective of an unknown interviewer speaking with the many people involved with the artifact. The man seems like a high clearance boss, but his identity and stake in the project is never revealed. Keeping things a mystery like this is something that usually bothers me, but as the story evolves, and the multiple layers of the people involved with this project are revealed, it adds an enticing element to the plot.
I liked that the perspectives changed with every chapter. With each and every person their emotions, involvement, and actions were different. Rose was the scientist leading the project but she may or may not have known certain things that others did. I love it when other characters change their moods and actions when things change but the other character is still in the dark. All that runs through my head is “I know something you don’t know!” lol. The perspectives cover the many people involved including scientists, a pilot, a language specialist, military, government officials and more. Each had their own level of clearance and the information given to each changed depending on their roll. It was the reader of this book that had the whole story and got to piece it all together to try and find out what was going on and who was on the right side.
And speaking of levels of clearance, probably my favourite element of this book was the involvement of military and government. I’m not a fan of books covering government conspiracies but the way that this was introduced into the book was fascinating to read. I wish I could say more about this but I don’t want to spoil anything. It wasn’t government conspiracy really, but it more focused on how governments of the world react to events that effect the population of earth as a whole.
The sequel to this (Waking Giants) is set to be released in April 2017. I’m interested to see where this story goes!