Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1)” as Want to Read:
Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red Sparrow

(Red Sparrow Trilogy #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  47,179 ratings  ·  4,234 reviews
An impossible to put down, highly commercial espionage thriller written by a CIA insider.

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 ass
...more
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Scribner
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 Red Sparrow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ 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 sh…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  47,179 ratings  ·  4,234 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1)
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
Matthew
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
...more
Bibi
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
*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
...more
Kemper
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Paromjit
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Madeline
Feb 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap-tastic
Looking for a story of romance and adventure in exotic European locations, written by a former CIA operative, and featuring delicious recipes?

Then I highly recommend My Life in France by Julia Child
Matt
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Esteban
Aug 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
An
...more
Trudi
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tim
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first third of this trilogy has a few good plots and assorted misses. The end of this first trill is wanting....as in wanting to be better. 6 of 10 stars
Darren
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jennifer
"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,
...more
Meredith
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating spy novel with some romance mixed in. I highly recommend. I can't wait to read the Palace of Treason.
Bob/Sally
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 any ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Oh-kay... By now I would've though I've seen pretty much everything that is there to haunt a hapless reader: unthrilling thrillers, books written badly enough to read them aloud for dare, mangled histories and fiction gone bonkers. But nope, that's not all. Here goes a new one: a boooring spy novel.

DNFing so far. I'll be back at some later date!
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
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
...more
Darwin8u
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Erin
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, series
A possible candidate for book that took me by surprise.

Originally published in 2013, this contemporary spy novel features the perfect cat and mouse game between a Russian agent and an American CIA officer. This book was the definition of "pulse pounding " It was pure enjoyment just to kick back and spend time with Dominika and Nate. I loved their easy banter and also the steamy scenes between the two of them. Seriously considering the rest of the series.

This has also been turned into a 2018 f
...more
Bettie
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
...more
Paul
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one started out with much potential, and it turned into almost two books (not two stories). One book actually captured the characters and began a decent progression into their psyche. The second was way too clinical in its attempt to explain the art of spying. Unfortunately the latter was way longer than the former. And the character development was lost. Ending with no (or very little) connection with the main protagonists. I have no desire to read the next one.
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 works...it 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
...more
Kat
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-4, 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
Sam
Mar 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A few things I know, deep down in my heart, after reading this book: Jason Matthews has a throbbing boner for the CIA and all its most boring operational procedures. He really hates female Democrats. He also definitely, definitely based the character of Nash on a highly idealized version of himself.

The "debates" between Dominika and Nash are so blatantly pro-America propaganda that it verges on laughable.

They continued squabbling in the apartment after dinner. ... "Corruption, repression, impr
...more
Michael
A solid hit for me as an espionage tale of the new Cold War between Russia and the U.S. The sense of authenticity on the strategies and capers in intelligence and counter-intelligence operations is high, reflecting the extensive career of the author in CIA operations in diverse areas of world conflict, including Russia. Less realistic is yet another cinematic heroine with a chip on her shoulder, Dominika Egorova, You know--beautiful, brilliant, and deadly. It doesn’t take much arm-twisting to ge ...more
Cullen
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
...more
Bren
“Choose, demand, force them to give you an important job, something with a lot of access, somewhere in the Americas Department, Line KR, whatever. Run your shop like you mean it. Recruit foreigners, cause trouble, catch spies, make allies, throw your enemies off balance. Be bitchy around the conference table."
― Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow



Generally, Spy books are not regular reads for me but every now and again I make exceptions.


Red Sparrow was a very interesting read. It moves at a lightning pa
...more
Veeral
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 country and are spying for the USA.

The protagonist, N
...more
Monnie
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Was Better: Red Sparrow 2 46 Apr 18, 2020 07:07PM  
East Fishkill Com...: Our July Book -Red Sparrow 4 7 Jul 20, 2019 07:15PM  
Play Book Tag: Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews - 2 stars 3 20 Mar 05, 2019 11:39AM  
All the Books!: Red Sparrow 1 22 May 21, 2018 10:45AM  
The BOOK/MOVIE Club: Book #18 - Red Sparrow 6 82 Apr 10, 2018 08:56AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Red Sparrow 1, by Jason Matthews - Starting March 15th 2018 10 33 Mar 31, 2018 09:38PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Other Woman (Gabriel Allon, #18)
  • The Order (Gabriel Allon #20)
  • Median Gray
  • The Girl Who Lived Twice (Millennium, #6)
  • The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1)
  • The Fallen (Amos Decker, #4)
  • The Escape Artist
  • The President Is Missing
  • InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook
  • Dark Sacred Night (Renée Ballard, #2; Harry Bosch, #21; Harry Bosch Universe, #31)
  • The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5)
  • The 15-Minute Relationship Fix: A Clinically-Proven Strategy That Will Repair and Strengthen Your Love Life
  • Agent Running in the Field
  • Past Tense (Jack Reacher, #23)
  • Marion Jones: Life in the Fast Lane: An Illustrated Autobiography
  • Before You Leave: For College, Career, and Eternity
  • The Winning Way in Golf and Life
  • Texas Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of More Than 100 Recipes Inspired by the Lone Star State
See similar books…
1,378 followers
Librarian's note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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 So
...more

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)

Articles featuring this book

Your neighbors are hiding a body. The woman who just bumped into you is a stalker. Your husband is definitely poisoning you. (The...
66 likes · 21 comments
“I’ve always loved Russian humor,” said Nate. “It’s a shame there’s so little of it.” 37 likes
“Benford’s office looked like the atelier” 10 likes
More quotes…