Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Children of God (The Sparrow, #2)” as Want to Read:
Children of God (The Sparrow, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Children of God

(The Sparrow #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  17,577 ratings  ·  1,653 reviews
Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow, took us on a journey to a distant planet and into the center of the human soul. A critically acclaimed bestseller, The Sparrow was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year, a finalist for the Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Prize and the winner of the James M. Tiptree Memorial Award. Now, in Ch ...more
Paperback, Ballantine Reader's Circle, 451 pages
Published February 2nd 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Children of God, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Samantha Whaaaat. This and the Sparrow are a few of my favorite books of all time.
Barbara I’m not sure it matters except that they were different. I could certainly visualize the claws, but had a bit of a struggle with how the prehensile fo…moreI’m not sure it matters except that they were different. I could certainly visualize the claws, but had a bit of a struggle with how the prehensile foot worked. I was focused more on their way of thinking than their resemblance to current Earth animals.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,577 ratings  ·  1,653 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Children of God (The Sparrow, #2)
"Everything we thought we understood—that was what we were most wrong about."

This novel is the stunning sequel to The Sparrow, a book that left me breathless and yearning for more after the last page. Children of God made no less of an impact on me. It is a must-read for anyone that has read and enjoyed the first in the duology. I would highly suggest reading these in order as the one really does follow immediately on the heels of the other.

The Sparrow was a story of a first contact conducted b
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad I only waited a month between reading parts one and two of this book. It really is just one book split into two parts and I could not leave Emilio for too long suffering the way he was at the end of part one.

Emilio Sandoz is one of those book characters who jumps off the page and out of the book. Whenever he is not front and centre of the story it lacks a certain something. Even the characters in the book notice when he is not in the room. He loses so much and suffers so much that a
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved The Sparrow and when I finished it there wasn't anything else I wanted to know - a mark of a good novel. So it wasn't a novel that called out for a sequel. One of the big strengths of the first book was its fabulous characters. Almost the opposite was the case here. We get the same trip on a spaceship - brilliantly tense in the first book, repetitively dull in this book - but this time there are no women and the men are all either obnoxious or indistinguishable. Also, it came across as h ...more
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who liked The Sparrow
Shelves: sci-fi
Epic. Read it shortly after reading The Sparrow, and I'm glad that I read both together. Although it might stand alone, some of the characters are the same, and the story firmly builds upon experiences and events in The Sparrow.

Didn't rate it 5 stars for a couple of reasons. One, occasionally Russell has the habit of dropping non-plot vital but important information in the space of a sentence, so if you tend to skim or even if your attention wanders, comprehension will suffer. An example would b
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In many ways, this novel rivals the scope of The Sparrow in both worldbuilding and theme. By the same token, both are portrayed in a much more dilute fashion.

This is not a bad thing, but it is a different thing when comparing the two. I loved The Sparrow's tight focus on faith and the loss of it and the general healing or the swift decline. Death came fast and suffering was slow.

Children of God added many new dimensions to the tale. Many characters from either alien species and humans had their
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5q-book-group
The sequel to The Sparrow. Once again, the author does a tremendous job in both introducing new social, political, and cultural concepts on almost every page for both the human and alien species she writes about, which makes the story very compelling for the reader. As the story progresses the author creates a nearly intractable problem of species genocide that she resolves near the end in a manner that completely surprised me, but which makes a lot of sense once one considers the backgrounds of ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-i-own
I loved this but then I expected no less since I felt the same about it's predecessor, The Sparrow. This book picks up right where The Sparrow left off. In my opinion neither of these books are easy reads, by that I mean something I could whiz through. Part of it is the time lines taking place, part is the completely foreign names and culture. I only wish I had read this shortly after The Sparrow although the author does remind you of what happened previously.

I am going to sum up this book by q
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is not a stand-alone book. The Sparrow is essential to have read. Without that background story, Children of God would be confusing at times.
This was a seamless continuation of The Sparrow and really can be considered one book. The story picks up where The Sparrow left off.
Woven throughout this work is the concept of Faith in God, self, others. How one's faith in one's present can influence one's future.
Morality is also a prevalent theme. Decisions affect others besides ourselves.
This s
Tom Mathews
The first book in this duology, The Sparrow, stands at the top of my list of favorite books read in the past decade. I strongly recommend that readers read Sparrow first as Children of God is a continuation of that story and will make little sense without the background provided in the Sparrow.

The Sparrow tells the story of Earth's first contact with alien races and, with a sociologist's eye, the impact that a meeting between two entirely different cultures have upon each other. A facetious exam
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september-2012
Always and always love a book that brings all the human emotions to the forefront. As we continue the journey to discovery, we are marred, enlightened, ennobled, and most of all touched by the things that make a life human. We are also, as foretold in this novel, made better by the things we do not yet know, the races we have not yet met, and the horrors we might not yet understand.

This novel plus the one that came before it, is a thinking person's book. It makes you question, to wonder, to begi
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
"The Sparrow" is a hard act to follow, and Russell doesn't quite match the brilliance of the earlier book in this sequel. Her evident desire to tie up all the loose ends and leave no one unaccounted for is a distinct handicap, as some parts of the book are too obviously there for that purpose only. Just as she did in the first book, Russell takes on the big questions of spirituality, morality, the challenge to faith posed by an apparently capricious God, against a backdrop of extreme psychologic ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not sure I like the appellations "good or bad" for this book and its predecessor. It can't really be said (I don't believe) that these books are "enjoyable". Still, they are good and I recommend them highly. You may not want to "re-read" these as they are or can be somewaht painful in some ways if you identify with any of the characters. BUT, they will I believe touch you.

The topics dealt with here are ones that will I believe at least provoke thought. I can't say how they will hit each read
It's been a few days since I finished reading this book, which is unusual for me since normally I like to write my reviews immediately upon finishing. I needed a few days for this one. Partly because I've been terribly busy with life and work, but also because I almost didn't care enough to write a review. That sounds more harsh than I mean it to, but remember I also didn't care too much about The Sparrow (except that it actually made me fairly angry); this book made me less angry, but there wer ...more
Jacob Appel
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Not quite as emotionally powerful (I should say devastating) as the Sparrow, the first book in the series which I highly recommend to everyone, this is an excellent sequel that brings the epic story of Emilo Sandoz to a very satisfying conclusion. While the basic plot can be described as a "first ontact" with an alien race, both books are really about how a person can keep faith in God when confronted with horrific events. It is the age old question "How could a loving God allo ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The amazing sequel to The Sparrow, reviewed earlier (the one I have affectionately referred to as Jesuits in Space.) I won't give away how The Sparrow ended, but suffice it to say that I couldn't imagine a sequel being possible to write or bearable to read. Something convinced me to pick up Children of God, though, and it was just as intellectually fascinating, just as emotionally wrenching, just as exciting. A stay-up-all-night-reading book.
Lisa Vegan
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: every reader who has read the author’s The Sparrow but none who have not
Recommended to Lisa by: Sandi
I am so glad that Mary Doria Russell continued with the story from The Sparrow. I was so happy to see some of the characters from that book in this one. It’s my favorite kind of science fiction: character driven and thought provoking. This one had me sobbing at the end.

This is a fascinating study of human and other sentient being psychology and cultural and social anthropology, which is how I saw it what with my predilections, and because my personal philosophy differs from many of these charact
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Children of God is an answer to a prayer afterThe Sparrow. Both books are beautiful but neither one can be read as stand alone books. The Sparrow must be read first followed as closely as possible by Children of God. Mary Doria Russell creates a marvellous new universe. These books could be categorized as either science fiction or fantasy but it's really irrelevant. What mattered to me was the awe that I felt after finishing them. ...more
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Anna Fields

In the sequel to Russell’s stellar The Sparrow , Father Emilio Sandoz has made significant progress in recovering from his injuries suffered on the first mission to the planet Rakhat. His body may be healed but his soul is still in turmoil, and the last thing he wants is to return to the place where all other members of the mission met their deaths. But then ….

Once again Russell gives us a morality play in a science fiction setting. I marvel at how richly ima
Sara T
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't hate this book, but it was a bit of a letdown after The Sparrow. I really enjoy Russell's writing, so I had high hopes for this one. To be honest, though, it comes off like she was writing fanfiction about her own work. (Spoiler Alert) Like "Author's Note: This is a fic where Sofia actually didn't die and she lives on Rakhat and Emilio is going to get married then he gets kidnapped and taken back and there's like this huge ass war on Rakhat. Please R and R!"

I really admired Russell's no
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am re-reading this for probably the 6th time since I first picked it up in high school, too bored to wait for my English teacher's copy of the preceding book (The Sparrow) to be available. (Pro-tip: Read Children of God first. You are less likely to try to throw yourself off a tall building as MDR takes all the joy out of life with a poignancy GRRM only dreams of. Also, Children of God is an absolutely amazing book in its own right, but it is very different than The Sparrow. If you come to it ...more
Teri Drake-Floyd
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I never, ever, ever do this, only once in a very rare blue moon, but I'm putting this one down. I read the majority of it, but the events that transpire in the book had me so in my feelings that I literally just don't want to even finish it.

I'm a writer, dammit. I know all about putting your darlings through the ringer for the good of the narrative. I've read some really hard books; I'm no stranger to a story that pierces your heart. But this one...I just can't. Emilio Sandoz has already been t
Robert Delikat
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Confusing disconnect and mixed-feelings:

There were many parts in Children of God during which I found it hard to believe this was the same author as The Sparrow. The latter was one of the best books I picked up this year but the sequel was disappointing. My friend Brooke thought a sequel was unnecessary and, as far as the storyline in the first installment went, it was unnecessary. The story had a satisfying ending in The Sparrow, but the book was so good, I was sure hoping for more.

Other revie
Jamie Collins
This sequel to The Sparrow is worth reading, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book. It begins well enough but loses steam about halfway through.

I liked the second revealing look at the events which occurred at the end of The Sparrow, even though the author cheats: it turns out that something you thought happened in the first book didn't really happen. The new characters aren't as well-developed as the original set, and I thought the aliens were more interesting when they were more myst
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone

Children of God is the by-design sequel to The Sparrow.

Should you pick up this book before having read The Sparrow, carefully take it out and place it carefully on the table/bookcase/floor and walk away as if it was filled with aging (and unstable) TNT. Locate a copy of The Sparrow and read it. Then and only then should you retrieve this book and commence to read it. You may not like either book, but you will thank me for this.

Because this is a true sequel, it dovetails completely with The Sparr
wanderer (Para)
I was initially unsure whether I should read this book. I enjoyed The Sparrow very much (despite its flaws), but there were some...mixed opinions on the sequel and whether it completes the story or ruins it. Unfortunately, I think I have to side with the latter - perhaps not ruins, precisely, but doesn't add much and is inferior in more or less every way. And the ending actively made me angry. Read the first book and stop there, it stands alone just fine.
We meant well, she thought, looking up
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sabbaths
  • Dul
  • Towing Jehovah (Godhead, #1)
  • Children of Ruin (Children of Time, #2)
  • Sleepover
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1)
  • Slavery in Early Christianity
  • Classic Next Men, Volume 1
  • The Jewish Annotated New Testament
  • Journeys in the Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe
  • Pathfinder / Ruins / Visitors (Pathfinder Trilogy #1-3)
  • Exhalation: Stories
  • Beyond the Dragon's Gate
  • O-Zone
  • Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening
  • Remnant Population
  • Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California's Great Central Valley
  • Faith, Hope, Love
See similar books…
Mary Doria Russell is an American author. She was born in 1950 in the suburbs of Chicago. Her parents were both in the military; her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant, and her mother was a Navy nurse.

She holds a Ph.D. in Paleoanthropology from the University of Michigan, and has also studied cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, and social anthropology at Northeastern Univer

Other books in the series

The Sparrow (2 books)
  • The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)

Related Articles

Her Favorite Westerns: Not just for gunslingers, the real Wild West comes to life in these five frontier tales recommended by the author of Epitaph.
24 likes · 29 comments
“How can you hear your soul if everyone is talking?” 111 likes
“Rain falls on everyone, lightning strikes some. What cannot be changed is best forgotten. God made the world, and He saw that it was good. Not fair. Not happy. Not perfect. Good.” 56 likes
More quotes…