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The Sparrow's Blade
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Posts Gone By > Sparrow: Fin!: Full Book Discussion

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message 1: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 2 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments ***Open discussion of THE WHOLE BOOK below, no spoilers needed. Be sure you have finished the book before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with the general topics we've see repeated throughout the book.

Full Book discussions:

1) Sparrow is set in the marvelous state of Oregon. What did you think of the depiction of the state?

2)The end of Sparrow is fast and furious. Were you satisfied with the ending? Were there any loose ends that you wish had been tied up?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from the final section of the book.

2) Who was your favorite or most intriguing character?


message 2: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 2 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments I'm working up to a full review of Sparrow so these comments will be shorter than normal. When I finished the book I was frustrated because the novel started out very different then I expected (but not in a negative way), but then took a sharp turn into insulting movie-fantasy action, and then ended all too abruptly.

I was impressed with Lewis' writing; I really enjoyed a lot of the descriptions and metaphors. A copy editor to clean up punctuation and typos (missing words, misplaced words, etc) would have made the reading process much smoother. There is also an interesting attention to detail that I thought was usually well balanced and interesting.

I feel that Lewis had two books in mind: Uriah's Revenge which was about the main characters and how there lives were shattered after the events of Little Blue Whales, Blade which is a goofy action book about ninjas and mobsters stealing a sword. These books didn't mix well and Uriah's Revenge (in my opinion the much stronger and more interesting of the two) gets left behind once the action starts picking up.

Oregon Sparrow does a great job of showing the beauty and contrast of Oregon. The descriptions of the metro, rural, and forested areas are all evocative of the state as I'm familiar with it.

Geographically the biggest oddity was when Charlie decided he needed to drive up a mountain and managed to find a 5000+ foot peak where there shouldn't have been anything even close to 2000 feet high. This wouldn't have been a bother except Charlie's drive up the hill was silly in the first place (why wouldn't his equipment have worked on the ground...).

Politically there is truth in the idea of county sheriffs taking over small communities patrols. This idea was overshadowed by the shallowness and silliness of Celia Perowski's character.

I take umbrage with the characterization of Oregon as a politically "hick state". Oregon's statewide politics are a complex mix of urban and rural needs that in many ways reflect the national political arena.

It's Over. The novel "ended" for me about the same time the sword got stolen. The implication the book made that a couple's child being kidnapped would bring them closer together and heal emotional wounds seems ludicrous. The swift murder of the ninjas was anticlimactic. The "sword fight" in the parking lot was goofy. The end was just a series of Chekhov's guns.

Quotes. Charlie Rinaldi needed to get as high as he could as fast as he could. Glad to know federal agents are trained to... climb mountains?!? It would have been more realistic if Charlie got his hands on a helicopter. I thought the unintended double entendre was funny.

What a powerful, life saving technology the could be, Charlie thought to himself. I wish Charlie had read 1984 because the whole ending of the novel was a full-stack of civil liberty nightmares served up with domestic spying maple syrup.

Charlie decided not to do the smart thing, but the safe thing, instead. OK.

Character. Celia Perowski. Ambitious, intelligent, strong, and misunderstood. I think Thud had slipped into a strange paranoid state early on in the story and was going through life in a crazy haze. He convinced his friends of Celia's inaction regarding the kidnapping investigation. At one point Thud even implied that his infidelity was Celia's fault. Silly Thud.

Overall. I'll repost my review below once it's done.

message 3: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Oct 14, 2012 04:10PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 316 comments My review:
(view spoiler)

message 4: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 225 comments I think the landscape, nature and surroundings were described beautifully and accurately. The descriptions of Portland versus the Oregon coast and the forested regions seemed spot on to me. Many of the characters, particularly those that reside in Cutter Point were represented as "jeeter" (as my friend Mary likes to say). All in all, Kenneth R. Lewis has a really great vocabulary arsenal. Some of my very favorite sections in the entire book centered around his descriptors of the geography, landscape and nature. I think he was very successful in describing location because he painted a tangible tapestry of our beautiful state and the highly varied terrain within and stayed true to what he knows.

The predictions we had posted in the previous section almost all came true, so I would have to say that it was very expected. I always like a good surprise at the end of a book, so that was missing for me.

I become somewhat fixated on details, so the following things were problematic plot points for me.
1) The fact that no one looked for Charlie's body or confirmed what had actually happened to him was more than somewhat bothersome for me.
2) I also was not crazy about the fact that once the children were kidnapped, all was forgiven between Thud and Margie Compton. Their ongoing relationship woes were wrapped up a bit too neatly and unrealistically by Margie's confrontation with Celia in front of half of the town. P.S. Margie as the police chief's wife would know not to approach law enforcement officers while armed with a firearm in a threatening manner.
3)Off duty 911 dispatchers making multiple false reports on 911 in an effort to manipulate police response in the city/county, reprehensible.
4)I think Kevin Kearnes ex-wife may have an argument for not sharing custody any longer, I don't think his children are particularly safe in his care or safe anywhere around Cutter Point for that matter.

My favorite character this section was Alex Two Trees Kearnes. Yay for the chunky kid who was abducted first by ninjas and then by Russian gangsters. In this section he transformed from a little guy who calls lunch "clam shower" (aka clam chowder) to a fierce kid who kept his wits about him, always tried to comfort his also-abducted friend, and even knocked out a bad guy with his homemade tomahawk. The only action of Alex's that was a little creepy was the whole Indian war dance after smacking Vlasi in the head. Kevin Kearnes, you better get a group discount on family therapy, because everyone of you is going to need it.

My favorite quotes include "Things looked very different in the dark with the iridescent moonlight painting the jagged landscape a dull primer color." I also liked "The discarded cocoons of two little butterflies that in the midst of all the killing, had grown wings, and flown away."

I think this book would have been more successful and potentially a really powerful read if it was a more realistic view of law enforcement. The author invested so much work in describing details in the book, but the characters, their emotional interaction and character development fell flat. The people in the book were painted as caricatures and I have to believe that an opportunity was missed in that regard.

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