Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: Review

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: Review

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel :: Outlandish Lit's Review
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey. April 26, 2016.
Pages: 320
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher



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 artifact 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. -Goodreads

Sylvain Neuvel's journey getting this book published is an interesting one. At first nobody was interested in it. He self-published. Then he got a movie deal. After that, Del Rey picked up his trilogy, Sleeping Giants being the first book. MADNESS. This book rings all my bells. Ancient aliens? Check. Lots of prominent female characters? Hell yeah. Interesting format? Interviews and journals only, so definitely.

Don't know what I mean when I say ancient aliens? Then what are you watching on the History channel?? Real history?? Ok, but anyway, it just refers to the idea that a long time ago, aliens either visited or lived on the planet. It's a theory that tries to explain multiple cultures' stories of gods. It's totally not a spoiler to mention them, because the book alludes to it heavily on the back cover and they spell it out for us relatively early in the book. The The Sentinel vibes are intense. I'm going to be really real right now, ancient aliens is not like THE theory that I subscribe to. But I'm just saying if our options are 1. ancient peoples were just bullshitting these stories/they're allegory, 2. gods are real, or 3. aliens visited earth a long time ago and people misinterpreted them as gods... I'd rate them from most to least likely as 1, 3, 2. So I'm not saying that aliens built the pyramids. I'm just saying that I don't think alien visitation is the least likely thing to happen in our universe and that it is an explanation that makes a certain amount of sense.

The reason I'm sharing that is because clearly I've consumed a decent amount of ancient aliens stories/info. Because of that, this story moves pretty typically toward where I would expect it to move. If you're similar, don't expect a lot more going in. If you haven't consumed ancient aliens media or much sci-fi, this book's going to be crazy original! It's such a fascinating concept and Neuvel's interpretation is a lot of fun. Trying to find out what the giant body parts were for was riveting. As new things get discovered, you think you're getting closer to understanding it all, but then something gets thrown in that has you desperate for answers again.

The hole I was in was perfectly square, about the size of our house. The walls were dark and straight with bright, beautiful turquoise light shining out of intricate carvings. There was light coming from out of just about everything around me. I moved my hands around a bit. I was lying on a bed of dirt, rocks, and broken branches. Underneath the debris, the surface was slightly curved, smooth to the touch, and cold, like some type of metal.

This book is a really good time. It's not much more than that, but it doesn't really have to be! Reading Sleeping Giants is like watching an action movie. My main problem, though, is that the interview/journal entry format really does not assist any sort of increase in pace. It's a fun page turner, because it's really quick and easy to read in this format, but we rarely get to be in the middle of the action. I love how many strong female characters there were in high powered positions, but at the same time their complexity was kind of feigned in that they were just stereotypes of complex characters. Like a tough woman who has a troubled past and doesn't trust anyone easily... you know. It was a bit too easy. I'm also so not into the nameless, faceless, emotionless interviewer who inexplicably has a lot of power and knows a lot of things. I just thought he and his dialogue were dorky, but I also don't like secret agent movies, so it could just be me.

If the plot and the ancient aliens idea sounds intriguing to you, I'd urge you to pick it up, just because it's a fun read. Interesting things do happen, I was gasping at some surprises, and I raced through it when I wasn't initially in a reading mood. Neuvel does veer a slightly different direction than some other typical ancient aliens stories. And the book ends with a cliffhanger that has me NEEDING the second book.


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