Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants

by Sylvain Neuvel


When Rose stumbles and falls into a deep pit in the woods, she finds herself curled up in the palm of a giant metal hand, her surroundings lit by ethereal blue light. Her accident shapes the path of her entire life, and decades later, she finds herself on an elite team tasked with studying the hand she found as a child. For that giant hand is only a tiny piece of the whole, and her discovery will have repercussions that will be felt throughout the world.


Sleeping Giants is a unique story in everything from plot to narrative structure. The story is told through a series of interviews between the characters and a mysterious man who is at the heart of events. The pace is measured, almost dreamlike, yet I was quickly sucked into plot., and into the mystery of the statue and those who seek it. mThroughout, the characters must make hard choices, and the story delves into the ethics and consequences of their actions and attitudes in everything from whether the ends justify the means:

"You are definitely not one to throw away your life, your family and your career for something as petty as principles."

to perspectives on people who make that one unforgivable mistake:

"What he did, however horrifying, doesn't have to negate every other day of his life."

to measuring tragedy:

"It's one thing to risk your own life. It's fairly easy to rationalize the deaths of strangers. To shoulder the death of a friend, someone you know, that's a completely different thing."

to alterity, defined as "the concept of otherness":

What I am is very much a function of what I am not. If the 'other' is the Muslim world, then I am the Judeo-Christian world. If the other is from thousands of light-years away, I am simply human. Redefine alterity and you can erase boundaries."


The prose is crisp, the story insightful, and as you may have guessed, I found myself repeatedly highlighting quote after quote. The questions that Sleeping Giants explores are complex, and there are no easy answers. The conclusion leaves more questions unanswered than answered, yet in an absolutely satisfying way. It is the start of a larger story, and I'm looking forward to the next segment.


~~I received a copy of this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the book as a whole.~~