This was a great first book from NetGalley! Thanks to Penguin and Sylvain Neuvel for a great read!
I first and foremost really enjoyed this book. It hooked me from the start, and it was a new and interesting idea. Who doesn’t love the idea of a huge alien robot scattered around the globe that no-one really understands? Especially with the unique style of writing, this book had a flare that really stood out compared to others in the typical sci-fi genre. The characters were likeable and complex, and the mysterious narrator added a slightly sinister twist to everything.
I think most unique about this story was the plot and the writing style. I personally really love sci-fi stories where we discover and learn about a species/object, and the scientific standing of the text really pushed that ahead. It was based on discovery, and how the world comes to terms (politically) with the prospect of an alien species, potentially more powerful than us. But what made this book really stand out was the writing style. The record-type narrative, with an unknown narrator and nothing apart from speech really made this book one of a kind. Sylvain Neuvel really worked the style to maximise the plot and the characters, while leaving the unknown narrator as another layer of the story. With an open ending, I’d love to see a sequel where we discover more.
I think, although I really enjoyed it, part of me was just hoping for something more. I wanted more science, more depth, and that might be due to the way it was written. Compared to The Martian (which publicity actively link it to), it just wasn’t deep enough, scientifically, to really get your teeth into. There were moments where I was thinking it was really living up to the expectation of The Martian, but it unfortunately, for me, just fell short. I wanted to know everything about the mysterious robot, and the science and the ways in which they were exploring the possibility of alien life. In that sense, the politics worked really well. It showed the worrying climate that could occur if we had the possibility.
Nevertheless, this book really was a unique, science-fiction novel that I could really see turning into a series, and a favourite among sci-fi fans. It’s not without its faults, but it really strives to not be a ‘typical’ sci-fi book, something that we refreshingly need in such a large genre.
WHAT I LOVED: writing style, new idea, great cover
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: was just expecting something more