Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
Overall, a fast-paced, mysterious, and exciting SF opener. The book started out feeling solid, but not special (large and ancient artifact found in South Dakota that defies current scientific knowledge; assemblage of a team to decipher its meaning and find other artifacts). But as the chapters slid by (all told via interviews, journal entries, secret files, and reports), things began to change.
Characters started to be more fully sketched, individuals showed menace and ruthless focus, and a larger mystery appeared. This middle section was masterful, with Neuvel revealing enough to keep the story moving, but with large enough gaps to make you wonder how far characters would go and why the artifacts exist. This showing with little telling made the book tense and particularly fascinating.
Toward the end of the book this breaks down a bit, with a number of details being explicitly laid out, and in that straightforward narrative some of the magic and suspense and disquiet is lost. Still entertaining and I will continue the series, but a bit more left to the imagination (and a bit less laid out by conveniently interviewed strangers with too many answers) might have better served the narrative.