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Sleeping Giants: An Intriguing Tale Watered Down by a Very Distant Form of Storytelling

Updated on February 29, 2020

Sleeping Giants by Sylvian Neuvel

One of my favorite authors is Michael Crichton. And I read most of his books multiple times. But I really do wish he was still on this Earth to create new work, but sadly he’s not here. Then I heard rumors about this new book Sleeping Giants. And people claim it’s similar to Michael Crichton. So I’ve been keeping an eye out for it. The moment it went on sale I snatched it up. And here is my review by Sylvian Neuvel.

The book begins with a nerdy young girl riding her bike through the woods. She falls into pit and lands on top a giant robotic hand. The hand is a mystery. No one knows what it is or where it came from. As an adult, Rose has become a scientist doctor and puts together a team to find the rest of the pieces of this robot and study it. But least to say things don’t go as planned with the government and various special interests at hand.

The good? Well this book is original. The story is good. The cast of characters is well defined and unique. The story at its core is a great concept. It’s almost like someone watched Pacific Rum one day and said, I kind of like this giant robot idea but want a version with no monsters and more science. And that is exactly what this is.

The bad? This story is told mostly (I would say 95%) through interviews between the cast and a government official. So the story is revealed as each character answers questions during interrogations. The book feels much more like a screenplay than a book with this super unique form of storytelling. The issue is, this form of storytelling makes books soulless. Because it’s literally telling and not showing, it has no emotion. People die and it’s just stated and not shown. There’s betrayal but its never shown. It’s told. And this removes the reader what is happening. There seems to be no weight to any consequences. Also it leads to a huge lack of detail. The reader has to fill in huge blanks here. I would dare say, the reader has to fill in up to 50% of what is happening at a lot of points and that causes a disconnect too. And this method of story telling is just dry and dull. Even though the core story was good, the method it was told in was visual Ambien. I struggled to get through it.

Overall, this story is a great concept but it is a snore fest in execution. Which is a shame because if it was written in a traditional fashion I would have loved this book. But it wasn’t. It’s not terrible, just boring. I can’t recommend this to anyone unless you enjoy dull reads. I’m giving it 2 smoothies out of four.

2 smoothies out of four

Overall Rating: An Intriguing Tale Watered Down by a Very Distant Form of Story Telling

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    • SamieFoster profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago

      Prey is a good entry point. It's not historical and not as science lecture heavy as other novels. Crichton always wanted his worlds to seem credible, so he tends to spend a lot of his novels explaining how something could be scientifically possible or how the world worked at one point in history. And some of his books are front loaded with this stuff, which I heard is a complaint I heard from friends. I don't mind it, but clearly others don't. Prey is a the science fiction, but its scientific explaination for things is perfectly in balanced with the mystery that begins to unfold toward the begining of the book. Also its one of Crichton's more tense novels as well.

      Timeline is a good one as well. That was my first Crichton novel. But that is very front loaded science talk. They talk about time travel for the first quarter of the book, before things get going. But once they get going its non stop action.

      As far as other science fiction novels go beyond Crichton. Crichton is what I read when I was young. His books pulled me into scifi. I can't say for sure what other authors are great in the genre though. Since Crichton died, it's been hard to find someone to fill in that hole for grounded plausable science fiction. Most authors seem to not care about grounded science fiction and just dive into the fantastical. I wish I had a good answer for you. I know Ian McDonald is fantastical, but he is an amazing world builder. His Tenaldo's Tale is brillant. I haven't read much else by him though. I did finish the Heartland Trilogy recently, and that's the only post apocalyptic scifi tale that ever really wowed me. But that's it. Sorry I can't offer more. I have been disappointed with a lot of authors when it comes to scifi.

    • thedinasoaur profile image

      Dina AH 

      13 months ago from United States

      This book generated a gentle hum in the book community on YouTube. I haven't read any Michael Crichton stories but I have a feeling "Sleeping Giants" might be a good book to warily put on my wish list. The Illuminae Files have a similar format (in terms of how the stories are told, maybe not so much in terms of storyline).

      I am curious. Do you have a go-to recommendation for newcomers to Crichton's work? Are there sci-fi books that you enjoyed as a younger reader? I am not particularly well-versed in science to fully jump into detailed sci-fi (with a heavy exploration of the science part of things).


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