Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler. I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?
I’ve had to wait a bit before I finally decided to talk about The Sparrow because, quite frankly, the book left me feeling really traumatized.
So here’s what I’ve decided. I DO recommend the book as a fantastically well written book with amazing characters, a fascinating alien culture, a fascinating Jesuit culture (it’s exotic to me, since I knew nothing about them), and an interesting plot. You’ll just have to be in the mood to be really sad at the end. For me, I literally – for a week or so – could not deal with books where anything particularly sad or violent happened. Luckily, I’ve recovered because that pretty much covers most books – there usually has to be SOME sort of emotional or physical conflict to advance the plot, right?
You are told from pretty much page one that something awful happened. I just naively assumed it was all a big mistake and everything would work out in a lovely way. Please don’t make my mistake – maybe the end will not be as shocking for you, then.
Now, as for the book itself, I think the strongest component is the characters. I, without reservations, loved the core cast. These are people I would want to know and spend time with. They’re people I wish wonderful futures for and think deserve great happiness and to have all their dreams come true. Further, part of their amazingness is how they all work together. They’re basically a perfect complement of human beings.
The next strongest component is the alien culture. Mary Doria Russell was (is?) a biological anthropologist and you can see how her training and education helped her create this alien culture that is so fascinating and makes such interesting sense. I want to know more about them!
I plan to read more of the author’s works because, not only was this so well written, but she is also an amazing speaker. I saw her at the High Plains Library District’s ReadCon event in Greeley, Colorado and I have to say that if she is ever speaking nearby, you MUST go see her. She was phenomenal. (in the talk I saw, she was primarily talking about her new Doc Holliday book)
I plan to read The Sparrow's sequel because I do want to know what happens to the characters and the culture… But I also hope I’m not eating my words when I say the worst surely must be over and nothing that terrible can happen again…