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Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy, #1)
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Book Club Discussions > Book #18 - Red Sparrow

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message 1: by Max (new) - rated it 3 stars

Max Berger | 156 comments Mod
Discuss your thoughts on Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews with us here! If you've seen the movie, feel free to talk about that as well :)

message 2: by Karma (new) - added it

Karma Eberhardt (ladylibrary) So I just watched this movie about a week ago and I'm very interested in reading the book because the movie made for a very compelling story within the time frame they were working with. But my only problem with Red Sparrow is that it reminded me too much of Salt starring Angelina Jolie a couple years ago... With the exception of how Jennifer Lawerence became a spy, boiled down to its simplest form it was the same question of is she really working for the Russians and pretending with the United States CIA or is she really helping the U.S and betraying the Russians. But like I said it's not that I didn't love this movie because I did, there were some very raw/eye cringing scenes whether by torture or by fighting and there were a few twists I didn't see coming that really made this particular spy movie feel like it's not the same song and dance genre wise. I also couldn't take Jennifer Lawerence's Russian accent seriously but that's just me.

message 3: by Max (last edited Mar 30, 2018 01:59PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Max Berger | 156 comments Mod
I'm about 25% of the way through this book! Impressions so far- it is very dark, and operates under a high degree of realism, which is what sets it apart from similar genre stories. The main character Dominika is a cold, calculating person with incredible talents and a low degree of empathy. The spy stuff feels grounded and based in reality- though I know very little about being a spy, so who knows really.

The story switches back and forth between Dominika and another spy named Nate Nash, whose lives eventually start to cross over with each other. This whole premise and certain elements of their characters remind me a lot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which begins in a very similar way.

I’m digging this so far. The story is interesting, and I’m invested in Dominika’s character. As for the film, I haven’t seen it yet. But I honestly don’t picture Jennifer Lawrence in this role at all. I would have picked someone like Kate Mara instead, she matches the character better.

Lastly, why does each chapter of this book end with a food recipe? Seems weird for a book about spies. I get that each recipe is mentioned somewhere in the chapter, but this isn’t a cookbook. I don’t know, lol.

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I'm loving this book. It's an old-fashionied cold war spy story without the cold war. (Of course, Putin misses those days too, I guess.)

I do wonder about the recipes. They don't distract, but they are weird. I mean, it's not a cozy after all.

I will have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD to compare, though. I have a seizure disorder so I have to wait to see a film as I can't go to the cinema any more.

message 5: by Radu (new)

Radu Aldea | 4 comments I really liked the book, in fact I liked the entire trilogy. I am a fan of spy novels and I found this one as close to the real spy life as they come. Sure, some elements had to be embellished, but some creative license is necessary sometimes to make interesting reading. More often than not reality is more boring than fiction. Maybe Red Sparrow is not so action filled like a Mitch Rapp novel, but I found the descriptions of the SDR’s, gadgets and investigative techniques of the intelligence services enjoyable and realistic.
As for the main character, Dominika Egorova, I didn’t consider her cold and calculating. To me she is an individual who is trying her best to survive in an authoritarian regime. She has a temper and is impulsive sometimes, and the author describes her that way more than once in the book. Her motivation for becoming a spy in order to save her country from the predatory, oppressive ruling group is at least plausible to me.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I understand the character is more ambivalent there and you are not certain if she really spies for the Americans or she is some sort of double agent. Some of this uncertainty you also find in the book, but by its end you understand that she has been betrayed and abused and now she wants to make those responsible pay.
I would like to add that Simon Benford and the way he plays the game reminds me of George Smiley. I also think the recipes are strange and I can assure you I wouldn’t be able to cook those dishes even if I wanted to because nowhere does the author give quantities for the ingredients.

Kirsten  (kmcripn) No quantities? I didn't notice that.

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