Book review · novel

Book review: Sleeping giants

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1), by Sylvain Neuvel

Description : (from Penguin Random House)

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 artefact 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?

It’s been a while since I wanted to read this novel and I’m glad I finally took the time to read it! I read it as an ebook and will buy a physical copy as soon as I’m able to, and as soon as I choose between those two amazing cover. I really do not know which one I like best, the backcover is really beautiful, I don’t have real pictures so I invite you to go and take a look on Instagram anyway to look at how majestic it is.

image from

Sleeping Giants is told through interviews, journal entries, news articles, experiment log and other kind of documents. Still, it is mostly made of interviews between an unknown man that can be viewed as the main character because he seems to know a lot and to pull the strings on most things. On the other hand we don’t know a lot about him and it is the characters that are interviewed that we get the most attached to.

“That also scares me. Am I ready to accept all that may come out of this if it works? It might also have the power to kill millions. Do I want that on my conscience? I wish I knew where this journey will take us, but I don’t. All I know is that this is bigger than me, my self-doubt, or any crisis of conscience.”

With the way this novel is told, it felt cold at times. I think people who couldn’t get into Illuminae would have a hard time to get into this one, but it is worth the effort. I liked that because of the way it is told, there is never long descriptions, everything has an importance and it is mostly dialogue.
When something big happenned to the characters I realised I was as invested in their fate as I would have been if it had been told in the usual way. I read most of it in the train so I couldn’t react too openly or too loudly but I almost yelled at times or had to stop to take a few breathes!

There are three main characters, we encounter some others but a little bit less often. Dr. Rose Franklin becomes the head of the team working on the hand, she’s a physicist and a really nice person who gets along well with anyone. Kara Resnik is a pilot from the US army, she has a hard time bonding with people and is quite snarky and head strong, the kind of character I like to follow! Then there is Vincent Couture, a linguistic student, kinda geeky and weird but nice. He gets more characterisation in the second part of the novel.

There are also several times when this novel made me think of a movie that I love! I don’t know if this is considered a spoiler, I hope not, but I thought of Pacific Rim quite often when reading!

“Generally speaking, people tend not to question what they’ve been told was true. Scientists are no different; they’ve just been told a lot more things.”

Sleeping Giants is very gripping, I read it super quickly and never wanted to stop. The first part was my favourite because it was filled with mysteries around the hand. I liked the part where we don’t know yet what this is all about, I wish it would have lasted a while longer!
I also liked that there was some kind of closure even if we know there is a second book coming, but the last pages really made me want to read the second book even more than I already wanted to! I still have a few months now to decide which edition I will preorder!

So obviously I recommend this book, it might not be one I’d like to reread often but I loved reading it, I had an amazing time and would totally gift it to someone.

I leave you with the quote bellow that was basically me for the most part of this book:

“And I need to know. I mean, how could anyone start something like this and not know how it turns out? I’d lose my mind.”


AND look at the sequel! So beautiful, really cannot wait for April!

4 thoughts on “Book review: Sleeping giants

  1. I didn’t love this book, but I did enjoy it – enough that I’m actually very curious and a little excited about the sequel. I thought the ideas were really cool! My only criticism was the format, and I generally love epistolary novels. But I just wasn’t sure it was a good fit for this particular story.


    1. Ha I can understand that it’s not a good fit for everyone! But considering, if it was written in the usual way it’s sized might have doubled 😂 this format is a hit or miss for most people I guess 🙂
      Yes omg I really wonder what will happen in the sequel!!


  2. omg I admit I just want to read this purely because IT’S SO DARN GORGEOUS.😍😍 But also you sold me at the Illuminae comparison! I LOVED the style Illuminae was told in, so Sleeping Giants clearly is calling to me. EEeep!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?? 😍 They did an amazing job on the cover design!
      Ohh awesome!! I hope you’ll get to read it and enjoy it as much as I did then!! There’s not the level of inside design details illuminae has but if you enjoyed reading through interviews and such you should be okay for sleeping giants 😀 !!


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