My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to admit, I passed on reading this when it first came unto my radar. Then, a couple weeks ago, my daughter picked up the mass market paperback edition in a bookstore and devoured it enthusiastically in three days, and I knew I could no longer ignore it. And, having read it myself, I am not sorry at all.
It starts with a rather cartoonish (but fashionable, and very much movie material) premise: pieces of a giant robot / fighting machine were left buried all across the Earth, sometime in the distant past (by aliens? by a lost civilisation?), and the story follows the actions of a select cast of characters involved in re-assembling and discovering the functions of this gigantic machine. All is told through transcripts of interviews of said characters by a mysterious unnamed agent of the US government, who at some point appears to have his own hidden agenda. The ever-changing points of view, far from fragmenting the narrative, manage to gradually unveil the bigger picture, a considerable achievement, mainly since the only constant in the various interviews and transcripts is the aforementioned shadowy agent (a character that this reader has come to like a lot, by the end of the book). Conspiracies within conspiracies, plenty of twists and serious servings of sense of wonder managed to make me forgive the author his rather simplified view of international politics.
Of course, the final revelation / twist made me look for the next installment in the series, which, from all the reviews I have parsed, is even better. My verdict? Bravo, monsieur Neuvel!
PS: Expect a longer and more in-depth review when the Romanian edition will come out from Paladin.