Meggan's Reviews > The Sparrow

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
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's review
Jul 23, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read from July 12 to 23, 2013

I liked this one very much! But I wonder how much my low expectations played into it. If you told me to read a book about Jesuit missionaries colonizing another planet I'd tell you I'd rather eat cement. But it turned out very good in the end. It read like a vivid, engrossing TV drama. The ending was dark as hell, but also kind of hilarious in its delivery. I could tell this was intentional. I also love it when good social science is so well hidden in the storytelling that you don't even notice its there. In this way, "The Sparrow" is soft scifi perfection. I still don't buy that the Catholic Church in year 2019 would sanction a scientific/cultural mission over an opportunity to dominate and oppress, but whatever. For this reason I think the human characters suffer from being too pure and innocent. No one succumbs to temptation or exudes loathsome qualities. This book was saved by a memorable main character who made linguistic anthropology look cool. Minus a star for not being a stand-alone. My heart sunk when I saw the #1 after the title. Stop the sequel madness!

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Reading Progress

07/12/2013 marked as: currently-reading
07/19/2013 page 127
31.0% "I rather like this book and I look forward to reading it before bedtime, but SETI as the method of "first contact" in a scifi novel is pretty dated. Also some writers are better at hiding the "miraculous coincidences" that drive the plot and put the characters together in a room (or spaceship), but it is very transparent here."
07/23/2013 marked as: read

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