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Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  29,066 Ratings  ·  3,017 Reviews
In the grand spy-tale tradition of John le Carré comes this shocking thriller written with insider detail known only to a veteran CIA officer.

In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Scribner
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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell Yes, there were two different versions released. Everyone who gave the book 5 stars got the good version. Everyone who gave the book 1 star got the…moreYes, there were two different versions released. Everyone who gave the book 5 stars got the good version. Everyone who gave the book 1 star got the shitty version. Congratulations on getting the good version.(less)

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Heather Fineisen
While I was reading this, I kept going back to my Goodreads account and looking at the reviews, perplexed, but coaxed to keep reading. I finally came to the conclusion that this is one of those books that appealed to most, but not to me. Dominika is a training to be a Red Sparrow, a Russian female seductress agent, and she also has the gift of synthesia, or seeing colors in an aura around people that reflects their spirit, a mood ring sort of thing. Promising. Where the author lost me is the sex ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spy thriller fans
A recipie for Red Sparrow

- 1 cup of Cold War
- 2 tablespoons of espionage
- 5 cubes of chopped suspense
- In a sauce pan in simmer a handful of double agents and several pinches of government secrets. After 15 minutes, slowly stir in the Cold War, espionage, and suspense.
- After it thickens, pour in to a baking dish, sprinkle traitorous crumbs over the top and bake for 1 hour.
- Serve with a side of sex and a glass of revenge.

I thought this book was fantastic! It is not an action packed spy thrille
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*Random thoughts*

So happy that I persevered to the end, considering that nothing actually happened. Not a damn thing that wasn't predictable or contrived.
CIA, FBI, Russian FSB, espionage, red sparrows-Russian secret agents who learn the fine art of seduction and sex, ubiquitous food recipes(why?), double agents, a lot of spy-speak, and countless acronyms.

Additionally, our protagonist- Dominika- is a synesthete (the ability to see auras depicted as colours) which to me is a very interesting c
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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DNF @ 72%

When I saw the trailer for Red Sparrow (2018), I almost guffawed because as I watched, I could almost hear T.T.L.'s "Deep Shadow" playing in the background - it looked just like another Hunger Games trailer if the Capitol got a major downgrade and President Snow became Evol Russian Jeremy Irons. Still, I was intrigued because the idea of a "Memoirs of a Geisha"-esque rags-to-riches spy romance with sex, scandal, and espionage call
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Maybe we Americans were just a little bit hasty when we said that we won the Cold War? ‘Cause it’s seeming more and more like that we were really just leading at halftime.

Modern Russia with Vladimer Putin running the show is essentially the Soviet Union with a better public relations department, and the old spy games between their Foreign Intelligence Service and the American Central Intelligence Agency are back with a vengeance. Young and ambitious CIA officer Nate Nash is the Moscow handler o
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first in the Red Sparrow trilogy of which a film with Jennifer Lawrence is set to be released in 2018. Jason Matthews brings all his experience of being a spy with the CIA to bear in this well plotted espionage thriller. His descriptions of the workings of the American and Russian intelligence agencies bear all the hallmarks of the politics, paranoia, intrigue, quandries and motivations that shape the organisations. Set in the contemporary world of Putin's Russia, Matthews portrays t ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
With all the hype this series has received, I thought it best to try the first novel in the trilogy, to see if it meets my expectations. Jason Matthews has not disappointed, with his knowledge of the topic and ability to transmit ideas onto the page. Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Nash has been working as a CIA operative to handle an important mole within the Russian Government. No one seems to know who it could be or how much information the Americans have garnered, but Russian President Putin is enraged and ...more
Sono d’accordo con il critico del NYT Charles Cumming: inserire Putin tra i personaggi di questo romanzo è un errore, in qualche modo ne mina la credibilità – come lo sono le ricette gastronomiche a chiusura di ogni capitolo, meno l’ultimo, sia perché smontano la suspense sia perché la ricetta più leggera è pari a diecimila calorie.


È vero però, proprio come scrive Charles Cumming, che questi sono errori marginali.
L’errore vero è tutto il resto, a cominciare dal considerare questo r
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Trudi by: Kemper

Think the Cold War is over? Think again.

I'd always had somewhere in me (I mean, really, who doesn't?) an interest in Soviet history and everything Red Army, KGB, Iron Curtain, and Gulag. It's one of the greatest stories ever told after all -- the rise and fall of a mighty and murderous political and geographic monolith that aggressively absorbed many nations and languages and religions into its insatiable machinery in a quest for ultimate global supremacy. A nerve-wracking Cold War entrenchment
Aug 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I very nearly despaired of finishing this book a couple of times.

In one review they compared this book to John Le Carre, I don't think so! That was the MAIN reason I picked it up and gave it a go.

So slow, so boring, so full of words that said almost nothing. Sometimes you get a book very rich in words which tells a rich story, this was not the case, it gave me the impression of the author's infatuation with his capacity to link words in sentences, then in paragraphs, pages, chapters and so on.
Bob Milne
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Like the coldest, most diligent of intelligence officers, I have been patiently sitting on the secrets of this book for nearly 6 months now. I was quick to accept when Simon & Schuster Canada proposed the mission - to review, and to be a part of the tour - and gave it a read almost as soon as the ARC arrived on my doorstep. It reminded me of the cold-war espionage thrillers I read growing up, and I drafted my review right away, while the source material was still fresh in my brain, safe from ...more
"Her name was Dominika Egorova. She was a ballerina, an officer in the SVR, a Sparrow trained to bend others’ minds. She loved and was loved in return."
I rarely read spy thrillers, but when I heard Jennifer Lawrence was cast for the film adaptation of Red Sparrow, I put it on my TBR list asap. At first, I almost didn't finish this book. Like I said, I don't typically read this genre and I didn't find myself easily engaged in the writing style. It felt very dry third-person. However, the man
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Awful Writing and No Command of Fiction Craft

I abandoned this book after 90 pages. I don't care if the plot eventually improved; the writing is terrible. For one, there is a lot of needless description. He describes plateware and names the fancy cologne a character is wearing. Who cares? Don't waste my time with the research you did on trivial nonsense. He even describes an airport terminal as containing shops and restaurants. Really? Why waste words on describing an airport? We all know what th
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
The next generation of spy-turned-spy novelist is here. Joining Graham Greene*, Somerset Maugham*, Ian Fleming, John le Carré*, James Church, (and maybe -- if my suspicions are correct -- Robert Littell and Olen Steinhauer too), Jason Matthews shows most interesting spy fiction is actually written by former spies/intelligence officers.

While not close to being a great espionage novel (using recipes to separate the chapters seems a little overcooked and trite), the Red Sparrow shows a lot of pote
Megan Johnson
This is a tough one - on the one hand I actually really did enjoy the story, but on the other hand it was kind of a tough one to get through. When it comes to illicit affairs, strategizing on who can screw the other harder, and that flavor of crazy drama - I am THERE for it. But to be totally candid with you, I feel like that drama was there in this book but it was taken away from by endless "intelligence" talk. I know this is a story of espionage and how the agencies go about their business, an ...more
kartik narayanan
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Read the review of the Red Sparrow Trilogy at my blog

Red Sparrow is an okayish spy thriller. The best thing is its sheer authenticity and 'grounded-ness' of the day to day clandestine operations similar to the way the Pike Logan books feel authentic in their action due to Brad Thor's background. While I am no spy (or am I?) or spec ops warrior (maybe?) and cannot obviously vouch for the authenticity, Jason Matthews and Brad Thor communicate this feeling of realism that other authors in the genre
How to do The Mendacious: Dec 2015

... and Trump is great, Blatter should get the Nobel, so what if we lied about being in Ukraine and such a shame that black box was broken but the economy is doing well...

Description: In today’s Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-n, favorites
Wow, this is SO detailed and amazing. If you love books about spycraft and CIA work, you will appreciate the complexity and detail of Jason Matthews’ RED SPARROW, which is told from the pov of Dominica, a Russian girl who is trained as a “sparrow” or Russian intelligence officer who will spy and run honey pot operations, seducing her targets and gathering information, and Nate, a CIA officer who had been in Moscow managing informants until one day he is nearly caught and his cover is blown. She ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Captivating spy novel with some romance mixed in. I highly recommend. I can't wait to read the Palace of Treason.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm going to give this a four for pure entertainment.

Spy novels, thrillers, or books for teens/young adults are reads where my ratings should not be compared with my reactions to more serious literary is like comparing apples with oranges, filet mignon with chocolate.

I confess that the primary reason I read this was because of the new movie release and that it was available as a free audio from the library. That said, I'm also an old fan of the original Tom Clancy books like Red Storm
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After seeing trailers for the just-released motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton and learning that it's based on a book of the same name, my husband decided to give the book - the first in a trilogy - a try. Then he told me it was very, very good.

Whether or not we watch movie remains to be seen (pun intended), but I knew I wanted to read the book first. I also knew it's close to 600 pages - not easy to fit into a stack of advance-copy books I've agreed to read and review.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 Stars -- Definitely Worth Reading But You'll Need To Be Patient With It

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review, which follows.

I am an avid reader of thrillers and am particularly of espionage thrillers. So, I figured that Red Sparrow would be "right up my alley." However,the book's slow pace during the first hundred pages orso kept me undecided as to whether I was liking it or not. This is because it took me awhile to get used to the
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, since I feel like I've exhausted all the great espionage and this was getting a lot of buzz because the author is former CIA. I made it just past the halfway point before I had to give up.

The initial 100 page of setup was a struggle because virtually every paragraph about the heroine mentions how sexy she is. Then she goes to sex school to really sex up her sexiness. She also has a nearly magical power to read peoples emotions and intentions, which the author
Patricia Williams
This book was a very hard read for me. I liked the story and I liked the two main characters but there was so much information in the book, it took me forever to get through it. The basic story was very good and I do want to see the movie and would read the second installment of the story, hoping that the author would not have to put so much information in the other books since you have the background. There were even recipes at the end of every chapter! That could be good or bad! They were very ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Jason Matthews, the author of this book, is a former CIA officer, and unfortunately, he can't keep his bias in check. At all. The CIA are good guys in this book. ALL of them (okay, maybe bar one or two minor characters). Well, Latin America would beg to differ, Mr. Matthews (and many other parts of the world). It's CIA, not NASA. Get off from your high horse.

The Russians on the other hand, are EVIL, except those who have turned against their countries and are spying for the USA.

The protagonist,
Marty Fried
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot. It's a real spy vs spy story with Russians against Americans in fairly modern-day times, with Putin as the Russian president. It's mainly about recruiting moles for each side, with a twist of two spies trying to recruit each other. To make it more interesting, one is a beautiful Russian spy who is very capable. She started out as a dancer, but a competitor knocked her out of that, by breaking her leg. Her uncle was a high-ranking spy, and when she wanted to become a spy, he ...more
Kim Kaso
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in no-time flat, as my dad would say. Very exciting, and timely. Went on the hunt for Palace of Treason, it will be a reward book for finishing some “must reads” this month, and I have The Kremlin’s Candidate just arrived this past week. I imagine Putin, who is a character in all three books, will not be a fan. Think Jason Matthews better watch his six from here on out. This is an excellent spy thriller series, very au courant, excellently drawn characters, action-packed and suspe ...more
Valerie Frankel
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
No, this author is not the next Le Carre, Graham Greene, or Len Deighton. Yes, he does have considerable knowledge of CIA operational strategies and techniques. But that isn't enough to craft a good story - you also need some believable characters that you can get involved with. I found too much of this book to be trite and stereotypical, from the dark, menacing, unattractive Russians to the fatherly, dignified, handsome Americans. And too many Russian phrases dropped through the narrative, as i ...more
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
I just watched the trailer starring Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova and I got to say it's terrifying but sort of exciting. Usually I'm not into such stories, I don't like spy stories but I adore Jennifer! I would love to read this book and watch the movie.

Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had this book on my reading list since it first came out in December, 2014. I remember reading the praiseworthy reviews and literary recommendations. I was also lucky to not understand that this was only the first book of a spy and espionage trilogy that Matthews would complete now in 2018, along with the release of the first one as a major Hollywood movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton in the lead roles. Now I am blessed to read all three of his books without interruption. And ...more
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Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate. Over a thirty-three-year career he served in multiple overseas locations and engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet–East European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets. As Chief in variou ...more
More about Jason Matthews

Other books in the series

Red Sparrow Trilogy (3 books)
  • Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy, #2)
  • The Kremlin's Candidate (Red Sparrow Trilogy, #3)

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“I’ve always loved Russian humor,” said Nate. “It’s a shame there’s so little of it.” 34 likes
“Benford’s office looked like the atelier” 8 likes
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