Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #1)

Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

I’m sure Beth @ Bibliobeth has a talent for picking out amazing books for us to read together! Sleeping Giants was our August buddy read, and we both loved it, and I think it’s so fitting that one of the main characters in this sci-fi novel is a scientist, and I got to read this novel with a scientist, thanks Beth!


Deadwood, USA. A girl sneaks out just before dark to ride her new bike. Suddenly, the ground disappears beneath her. Waking up at the bottom of a deep pit, she sees an emergency rescue team above her. The people looking down see something far stranger…

“We always look forward. We never look back.”

That girl grows up to be Dr. Rose Franklyn, a brilliant scientist and the leading world expert on what she discovered. An enormous, ornate hand made of an exceptionally rare metal, which predates all human civilisation on the continent.

“But this thing … it’s different. It challenges us. It rewrites history.”

An object whose origins and purpose are perhaps the greatest mystery humanity has ever faced. Solving the secret of where it came from – and how many more parts may be out there – could change life as we know it.

“It dares us to question what we know about ourselves.”

But what if we were meant to find it? And what happens when this vast, global puzzle is complete…?

“About everything.”


What a fantastic novel! Dr. Rose Franklyn, as a young girl, discovers a giant robotic hand, so it’s only fitting she grows up to become the scientist that leads the project into this discovery. Narrated through a series of files (interviews, journal entries, articles, experiments log and other such documents), Sleeping Giants is a novel full of mystery and intrigue. There’s so much wonder in this discovery and you’re full of questions as you read about it. This comes from two angles, firstly, the robot itself – where did it come from, where is the rest of it, what is its purpose, how does it function, will it function!? It was so much fun to find out all this information alongside the team in this novel, we had the same curiosities!

The second angle is the human nature angle, what do humans want with this, will it be used for good or evil, who is funding this project and what is the overall goal, international politics are also at play here – not in a snooze-fest way, but in a way that excites, in a way that piques your curiosity. This is in part achieved through an unknown narrator, but mostly due to the fact that as every question is answered, new ones arise from that answer, as is the nature of science and scientific discoveries.

The formatting of this novel also makes it a quick read as the chapters are incredibly short. I did occasionally struggle with the time jumps in this novel. Sometimes a lot of time would pass between articles and it would throw off the fluidity of the read because it felt like I’d missed a few pages, a few times I flicked back to make sure I didn’t skip any. Arguably, due to the formatting, you can get away with these time jumps as that’s the nature of recorded documents, it’s detailed but essentially snapshots. But it stilted the flow for me, which is a shame as the story itself is fantastic, just at times, the delivery didn’t match it. I guess you could say Sleeping Giants gets five stars for the plot/story, 4 for its delivery/execution.

One of the things that really stood out for me in this novel was the number of women in powerful positions. Dr. Rose Franklyn was by no means the only women working on this project. It’s so frustrating that today’s society still views some jobs as typically male, so to see women in such skilled roles, for example, a pilot, made me so happy. It gave this novel a roughly even split of important male and female character, which I really appreciated. There were some really likeable characters in this novel, I particularly liked Kara, the pilot, she had an attitude no doubt, but she was a great character, skilled at her job and witty in her remarks!

There were some fantastic revelations in this novel, some shocking moments, and one hell of a cliff-hanger of an ending, but it is a trilogy so that’s to be expected. However, if cliff-hangers aren’t your thing, you need to have book 2 ready to dive straight into afterwards. Overall, I absolutely recommend this novel, by the half way point, I knew I would love it till the end, and I ordered book two, Waking Gods, and I’m looking forward to continuing this story.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

Previous buddy reads with Beth

The Fireman by Joe Hill – My review / Beth’s review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – My review / Beth’s review

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – My review / Beth’s review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My review / Beth’s review

34 thoughts on “Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #1)

  1. Fantastic review! I really enjoyed this book when I read it. I also enjoyed the second. I have book 3, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I should do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’ve got book 2 planned for next month, I don’t want to leave it too long between books because I like that everything will be fresh in my mind – that’s one of the good things about being late to the party on certain books!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Little Sea Bear and commented:
    Unfortunately, I cannot post a book review today, but I have found this great read from another blog, Keeper of Pages. Have a look at it 🙂

    for those of you who will struggle reading the text in the banners/images, they read:

    banner 1: Book Description
    banner 2: My Thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yessssss Janel! Fantastic review as always and you know I always have a great time buddy reading with you. 😘 Plus it WAS the icing on the cake to be reading about women in power. Whoop! 💪🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just realized I missed a lot of your recent posts for some forsaken reason, and this was one of them. I really love this review and this has been on my TBR for ages, so as per usual, your review is making me excited to pick it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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