Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Posted October 4, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 8 Comments

Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants

by Sylvain Neuvel

Series: Themis Files #1
Publisher: Del Rey on April 26, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Target Age Group: Adult
Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 - the object's origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

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 relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history's most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?


When she was a little girl, Dr. Rose Franklin fell into a hole and landed in an open metal palm.  As soon as she was found, the military swooped in and took over the site, and Rose and her family never heard another peep about the strange discovery.  Years later, now a doctor of physics, the hand resurfaces and Rose in put in charge of a project that could change the course of humanity.

I loved this book, and it came completely unexpected.  Sleeping Giants is written is a series of interviews conducted by a nameless protagonist and a couple journal entries to fill in the gaps.  We bounce between mad scientists and government aids and sassy pilots.  Every character plays their part, and they’re all good in their own way, though my personal favorite is military pilot Kara Resnik.  Even in the impersonal format Sleeping Giants is written in, you get emotionally connected to the characters.

Which makes what happens to Kara and Vincent even more infuriating.

There is some discussion of morality: how many lives is the advancement of science worth?  Who gets to make that decision?  And what about kidnapping, invasion, egg stealing?  How much is too much?  These are the themes that run through Sleeping Giants and it’s very interesting to see how our nameless protagonist chooses to justify his choices and where he draws the line.

But lets talk about the science-fiction here.  Because the science-fiction is great.  There’s a giant robot, after all!  The group decides pretty early on that the robot was left for them by an extraterrestrial race, so between the construction of Themis and learning how use her, there are questions about who is out therein the universe and why the robot is on earth at all.

I thought that Sleeping Giants was a great start to the series, both answering a lot of questions and leaving a lot unanswered at the end.  I thought that the end itself was so good, and it came unexpectedly, so I’m really excited to read Waking Gods.  This novel will appeal to science fiction fans, but it is a more serious novel so don’t expect adorable hijinks or any romantic mush.

Side note – this is one of the best audiobook narrations I’ve ever listened to.  It’s a full-cast recording, and it’s spot-on.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

4.5 stars overall rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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8 responses to “Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

  1. Wow, what a raving review! I’ve definitely heard a lot about this book around the blogging world – its premise sounds amazing and the writing format also sounds really unique. Your very positive thoughts about it makes me want to pick it up immediately!

    • Amber

      It doesn’t have to be immediately ? I do believe a lot of people will be thrown by the writing style, but it was the audiobook narrators that really drove it home for me – the were SO good!

    • Amber

      It was really interesting! If you are into audiobooks, I can’t recommend it enough! I listen to dozens of audiobooks, and this one totally blew the others away. 🙂

    • Amber

      That’s so good to hear!!! I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series – I hope they have the same cast for all the audiobooks!!!

  2. This sounds fantastic – I like the idea of reading something through mixed media too. I haven’t seen it done well yet though but I’m putting this on my TBR now!

    • Amber

      If you’re looking for done well, Sleeping Giants is AWESOME. I hear Illuminae is really good as well, though I can’t speak to that personally yet.

      I hope you love it!!!