Review - Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel @neuvel @DelReyBooks @randomhouse

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Random House Publishing Group - Ballentine Del Rey
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Date Read: April 28, 2016
Source: NetGalley

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in the cutting-edge cadences of interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a literary thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and by a struggle for control of earthshaking power.

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-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. 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 relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling 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?

My Review

I have mixed feelings about this one.  I couldn't get enough of this book when I first picked it up.  I was hooked.  I started telling people to read this book before I even finished it.  I was that in love with the beginning of the story.  I kept reading and while I never disliked the book, the story started to drag and I found that I wasn't enjoying it like I had been.

This story is told differently than most.  Most of the book is told in the form of interviews.  I really did like the conversational quality to the flow of the book.  One of the biggest mysteries in the book has nothing to do with the robots.  I was almost desperate to find out the identity of the individual conducting the interviews.  Seriously....who is this guy?  There are a few journal entries to add into the mix but the bulk of the novel is told as a series of interviews.  I really liked this method of story telling at the start of the book but I started to tire of it before the story was over.

The idea behind the book really got my attention.  A giant alien robot scattered around the world sounds like a dream to me.  I loved learning along with the characters and really wanted to dig a little deeper into the alien technology.  The second half of the book seemed to move away from discovery into politics which I did not find nearly as enjoyable.

I didn't connect with any of the characters in this story.  I felt like I only got to know most of the characters at the surface level.  The interviews are divided up between quite a few characters with Dr. Franklin, Kara, Victor, and Ryan being the key players along with the US President's aide.  The character that actually shows up the most in the book in the nameless interviewer who started to become more lifelike by the end of the story but only to a small degree.

I do think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this one.  It is unique in its method of story telling with a very creative plot.  I did enjoy it even though I didn't fall in love with it.  This book is listed as being the first in a new series and I will most likely pick up the next book just to see where this story will end up going.  This is the first book that I have read by Sylvain Neuvel and I wouldn't hesitate to read his work in the future. 

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Rey via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

SYLVAIN NEUVEL dropped out of high school at age fifteen. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and peddled furniture across Canada. He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He taught linguistics in India and worked as a software engineer in Montreal. He is also a certified translator though he wishes he were an astronaut. He likes to tinker, dabbles in robotics, and is somewhat obsessed with Halloween. He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter


  1. Oh man I hate when a book starts out awesome and I think I am going to love it and then it kind of falls off. Glad you still enjoyed it overall!

  2. That's too bad this kind of went flat for you. I've been on the fence about it myself. It sounds intriguing but I don't like the lack of connection with the characters. This may be a library book for me.

  3. This book might just be a little too on the outside of my comfort zone, to be honest. Glad you gave it a chance though.

  4. I really like the creative quality that comes with having interviews, emails, and other non-linear storytelling techniques, but sometimes I feel that it detracts from the character development. I think that kind of storytelling is better for lighter books that don't need as much character or even world development.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. I did a books for trade deal for an ARC of this last week, so it will be interesting to see how it works for me. Thanks for your review, it gives me some things to consider for when I get started!

  6. Great review I don't think this is my kind of book but your review has intrigued me and peeked my interest about it. I might just check it out from the library and see if I like it or not. Thank you for your great post.

  7. Ha! Yeah, like you said on my review, it's funny how two readers can have such a different experience. I'm so curious about the 2nd book now.


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