Sleeping Giants Review: The Effect of Giant Robots on Mankind

December 2, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Sleeping Giants Review: The Effect of Giant Robots on MankindSleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Published by Penguin Books Ltd on May 16th 2016
Source: Borrowed
Genres: Science Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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The Themis Files is a deeply human story about a world-changing alien discovery.
17 years ago, a young girl named Rose fell through the ground in the Black Hills and found herself in an underground chamber filled with gleaming symbols, lying in the palm of a giant metal hand. Now a physicist, Rose leads a research team struggling to determine the hand's origins. When another giant limb is discovered, she quickly devises a method for unearthing the hidden pieces, convinced there is an entire body out there waiting to be found.
Halfway around the globe, Kara watches helplessly as her helicopter shuts down over a pistachio field in Turkey. That'll leave a mark, but she's about to crash her way into what might be the greatest endeavor in human history.
This is a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts. Written as a series of interview transcripts, journal entries and mission logs, The Themis Files tells the tale of a handful of people whose lives are inexorably linked by the discovery of an alien device and the commotion that follows.

If the words ‘giant robots’ hasn’t encouraged you to pick this book up, then I don’t know what will. I picked up Sleeping Giants upon the recommendation of my trusted book buddies, Jaz and Joy, and I’m so glad I did. It helped to end my three week Gemina obsession that wouldn’t let up – only because it’s a sci-fi told in a similar format.

Told through a series of interviews with multiple characters, diary notes and the occasional file note, Sleeping Giants follows a scientist who has uncovered a mysterious robotic hand from the Earth’s atmosphere. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the technology present in this hand is far beyond man’s capabilities. And so forth, begins the journey to uncover the rest of the parts across the world, the secrets behind the mysterious being and the subsequent effects it will have on mankind.

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.

I wouldn’t have guessed it, but it’s amazing how something like discovering a mysterious object can have such dire and far-reaching impacts upon the people who discover it. Instead of pondering the aliens that manufactured it and wondering about these ancient beings who have been on Earth, it’s amazing just how insular the world can be when looking at these things. Sleeping Giants explores the political impact of the new technology, as nations grapple to gain control of it. In some ways it’s disappointing, but it’s also not entirely surprising, as we would rather focus on power and control rather than explore the possibilities of outer world life.

Although the narrator is unnamed, I was actually really intrigued by his character (I’m assuming it’s a he) as he uses the power of extreme influence and coercion to get what he wants, each and every time. From the President of the United States, to the CEO of the project who is his superior, it’s amazing how he convinces everyone that listening to him is in his best interests. He’s incredibly assertive and has the forethought of planning out everything in advance, leading us into the impressive amount of twists and turns throughout the book.


I also really liked the characters in the book, from the scientist Dr Rose Franklin, to the spunky pilot Kara Resnik, to her co-pilots Ryan Mitchell and Vincent Couture. Each and every character has a secret side to them, and it was fascinating seeing the development of their relationships as they are further immersed in the project. I really enjoyed Kara’s defiance with authority and seeing her make ballsy moves to protect the project, and how the narrator eventually gains her trust. It was also interesting getting to know Ryan, the handsome military soldier who is infatuated with Kara, and Vincent, the arrogant intelligence advisor who has a softer, pragmatic side to him.

While the book doesn’t hesitate to explore the political landscape of uncovering the gigantic robot, it doesn’t really cover the scientific or technological aspects of doing so in much detail. Instead, many of the events happen in retrospect, as the interviews allow us to catch up on events after they unfold. As a result, much of the storytelling is more telling than showing, and the shock of discovering the events in this manner is used as a plot device. Although I wanted more detail behind how things happened, the book progresses at a rather fast pace that kept on surprising me until the very end.


For a twisty, introspective, fast-paced read about mankind’s discovery of an alien technology, Sleeping Giants caught me off guard as a hidden gem of the year. If you’ve read Illuminae or World War Z, you’re already familiar with the format, but this is a unique story will both surprise and intrigue you. I found it quite addictive as I wanted to uncover the secrets behind the technology and wanted to see where the story would take us. It’s a story that will leave you with a lasting impression as you ponder the possibilities of encountering an alien race.

Rating: 5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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34 responses to “Sleeping Giants Review: The Effect of Giant Robots on Mankind

  1. lostartofreadingblog

    I loved the review I had heard about this book but I hadn't read any reviews yet. I was so intrigued by the synopsis but you never know, could be too good too be true. I think this shall be another book to add to my never ending TBR list haha.

  2. I've seen this book about but not actually read a review on it before. Now I'm questioning why on earth not because it's sounds amazing! I mean giant robot hand in the earth's atmosphere. That alone has me interested. It just sounds slightly odd but 100% intriguing. Your review fully has me searching my library to see if a copy is available. I love books that are written a little differently and leave a lasting impression so I think this is one for me. Great review.
    My recent post The Sun Is Also A Star // A Read That Is Strange And Beautiful In Equal Measure

  3. HOLY SHIT THIS STORYLINE SOUNDS SO INCREDIBLE. Like, alien discoveries? Jeez, the cover alone gives me chills. I also like the similar format to Illuminae! This scifi is definitely going on my tbr. I love the fact that it's an unnamed narrator too, like, way to make it mysterious. 😀 Fantastic review!

  4. OMG LOVELY REVIEW JEANN! I usually am not a sci-fi fan and I didn't love Illuminae but I want to give this a try after such a positive review from you! (And I do trust your opinion when it comes to books!)

    • Thank you Anisha, I'm so glad you're keen to give it a shot! It's easier reading than Illuminae, because of the way the story is told, there's a lot more narrative.

  5. booksarelife987

    Loved your review! And have you seen the US cover?? IT IS SO GORGEOUS. <3 I have read Illuminae (but not Gemina) so I am familiar with the format and love a good sci-fi. You gave it 5 stars, so it MUST be amazing!!
    My recent post CLICK YOUR OWN PHOTOS!!

  6. Greg

    I like that cover! Like someone else said, the US cover is a bit more lackluster. I liked this one but was hoping for a bit more… I think the next one may provide more of what I was looking for, in terms of where they go next. It is an amazing concept though and a fun book. Glad you liked this one. I thought Kara was pretty great too. 🙂
    My recent post Bookcover Spotlight #77

    • Yesss, I love the US hardback edition though because of the little window! I really enjoyed it. Kara was such a fierce character! Yeah, with books like this I find they are difficult to connect to the characters because of the way it was told. Glad you still enjoyed it though!

  7. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Why yes, giant robot was enough to intrigue me haha. I'm so excited to pick this up, Jeann! It's seriously sounds amazing and the characters sounds great! Perfect for my Gemina hangover! So happy to hear that you loved this! Awesome review, Jeann!
    My recent post Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

  8. Ohhh love that copy better! And yay!!! Really, really happy you enjoyed this one as much as Jaz and I have. This is such an engrossing Sci-Fi (rarity, imo). CAn't wait to read the sequel!

    • Yessss it's so pretty, no doubt the hardback would be absolutely stunning. I'm so glad for your recommendation Joy! Sooo goood LOL I know what you mean.

    • Yesss the Illuminae format is definitely unique but at least this one is told through interviews, journal entries, etc. I hope you pick it up Jordon, it's sooo good!

  9. Ali (@thebandarblog)

    Safe to assume the narrator is a he – I listened to the audiobook (which was REALLY good), and it is a man's voice 😀 Glad you liked this book so much!
    My recent post November Wrap-Up

  10. Yaaay I was looking forward to this review! I like the political twist to it and I tend to like books written/told in a different kind of format, kind of breaks the monotony of traditional narration. I also don't read a lot of sci-fi so I'm definitely going to check this out soon. Seems like a book I'd enjoy! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! 🙂
    My recent post WAYRW – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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