Customer Reviews for

The Sparrow

Average Rating 4.5
( 159 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(93)

4 Star

(36)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

A Diamond in the Rough

This book, one of hundreds that I own, is by far the most grubby, beat up, and torn on my shelves! Russell has crafted a truly compelling and moral tale of love, faith, and humanity. And even with all of the deep material contained within its pages, The Sparrow is als...
This book, one of hundreds that I own, is by far the most grubby, beat up, and torn on my shelves! Russell has crafted a truly compelling and moral tale of love, faith, and humanity. And even with all of the deep material contained within its pages, The Sparrow is also a fantastic thriller; one to keep a reader gripping its covers too tightly while reading on a rainy day. The characters are superb; very relatable and real. The situations, though some are outside of our current reality, also seem realistic, and I found myself wondering how I myself would deal. A emotionally stunning read, one I recommend highly.

posted by SydneyH on February 18, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Um, I don't think so.

I'm sorry...but am I supposed to engage in a theological argument after a priest is raped and sodomized by aliens in Alpha Centauri? There was absolutely no need to torture/maim/rape the main character in order to make readers think about God, which was supposed to be t...
I'm sorry...but am I supposed to engage in a theological argument after a priest is raped and sodomized by aliens in Alpha Centauri? There was absolutely no need to torture/maim/rape the main character in order to make readers think about God, which was supposed to be the author's main idea. There are other ways, less disturbing ways, less outrageous ways to write a science fiction story. Also, I can't believe the book's editor: Over half the Spanish is wrong! I'm a native Spanish speaker and to see Spanish that was grammatically incorrect was very irritating (the author confuses the verbs 'ser' and 'estar'...an embarrassing beginner's error). Third of all, let's all travel on an asteroid (what?) to a nearby planet. Yes, that seems like a very good idea. There is no science basis to this idea to qualify this book under science fiction. More like science nonsense. Can't we at least get a space shuttle, spaceship, something that's more science fiction? Finally, a lot is said about the author's religious studies in the last few pages. Yet, the book doesn't distill any sensitivity and profundity that you would associate with such an author's background. On the contrary, we get a furry alien poet (with a tail!) raping a Jesuit priest...later this alien poet will write songs about the excitement of raping the priest with his fellow alien poets and these songs will reach Earth through radio waves! I'm sorry, but no. NO.

posted by Anonymous on July 30, 2005

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    Best read...until you read Children of God

    Really loved this book once it got start. I took me until the 2nd/3rd chapter to really get into and then I was hooked! You will enjoy all the characters once you get into it. And the main character gets more interesting the longer you read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2006

    Deep

    This is a great book. I am not much of a science fiction type person but this was not just about science there was a different meaning. It makes you think about God and your position with him. The character Emilio was very complex and a little hard to understand. If you get alittle lost with the flashbacks don't worry you'll get use to it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2006

    Great Characters, Good Plot, So-So Ending

    This is something of a rarity among all the science fiction titles published every year: it's a highly intelligent work of literature. That said, plot still counts for something, and endings can make or break books. The fact that this remains a cult classic despite its uneven plot and weak denouement is due to the cast of vivid characters and the strength of ideas expressed, which (ironically) only serve to make the 'what the...?' ending even more disappointing. And those characters! One of the reviewers here said she would like to talk to the entire crew hell, I want to go with them. (Although I don't want their typical fate at the end.) The depth of religious and philosophical discussions and ruminations nearly makes up for the other flaws, and sets this book well above standard sci-fi fare. If the ending had been stronger, this would have been a five-star book. Another intelligent new book for your consideration: An Audience for Einstein. Set in the near future, Mark Wakely's book chronicles the 'rebirth' of a genius by questionable means, in a highly entertaining and surprisingly touching story that (like The Sparrow) will stay with you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2005

    after 50 pages it was awesome

    That is how this book is. It made you think in many ways you never thought possible. Yes it deals with religion and time travel but all in all this book combines both with a sense a truth you would never believe. It is a wonderful read. I never read science fiction books or anything close to it, but this came highly recommmended. I read and loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Great! It's makes you think...

    From the first pages to the last, The Sparrow had me hooked. Writing the story in two plot lines was probably Mary Doria Russel's smartest move. It creates suspense and excitement, as well as rounding out the plot. Some people may find certain events disturbing, but it's written with such an emphasis on faith and perseverance that it isn't as bad as it could've been. My only complaint is that the characters seemed too perfectly fitting into their niche, although they still pull at your emotions. I strongly recommend this book to people who aren't afraid to read a novel that is very thought-provoking! The story really sticks with you. And there's a bonus- it's science fiction that lovers of any genre can appreciate!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    An original!

    A complex and intense story written simply and beautifully allowing the reader to take in all messages the author had to offer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    A great read for athiests too!

    Wanted others to know that the religious themes of this book are not preachy or even of one certain religion. One of the main characters is atheist. As a true atheist, i found a little different meaning in some parts, but absolutely loved the book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Not what you expect but thought provoking.

    I heard about this in another book,thought it would be more sci fi. I really enjoyed it. It made you think about other life in universe, gooness of God and what we think we know based on appearances.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully Written Review brought to you Staar84 Going into a

    Beautifully Written

    Review brought to you Staar84

    Going into a book knowing that things will not end well (Emilio is the lone survivor of the mission) raises expectations. Can the author really live up to that precedent? In this case, absolutely. Each time we get new information more questions (and expectations) are raised. There are hints in the Biblical references for those familiar with them, or willing to look them up, but familiar or no, you won’t be lost; the main character is a Jesuit priest and it would be odd without such.

    This is more literary sci-fi. Most of the book takes place on Earth, either before the mission or after, with flashbacks to Rakhat. But the story isn’t about spaceships and aliens (although the science is there; the author had only written scientific papers before this novel). Ultimately, it’s about people and their relationships, how and why certain people come into our lives, and the way love and faith and loss can affect someone through a lifetime. The characters seem real and are wonderfully flushed out.

    I thought this was a beautifully written book, and has become one of my favorites. It’s stunning and brutal, and it will stay with you long after you put it down. I’m looking forward to reading more of Russell’s books in the future.

    This review and more at openbooksociety dot com

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2010

    It was a very good read. I recommend picking it up some time.

    I owned this book for about three months now. It was an assigned reading for our Science Fiction class at school. After reading this book I thought that Mary Russell did a great job at connecting all the pieces that needed to be put together in order for the reader to understand what is taking place in this novel. It is a science fiction thriller dealing with faith, God and suspense throughout. I wouldn't consider this book one that you could just pick up for a little then put it back down. Once you start reading it you're not going to want to put it down. Emilio Sandoz is the main character. He and his colleagues are missionaries on an extraterrestrial planet called Alpha Centauri. Unfortunately they seem to be repeating the same mistakes that the former humans on this planet have already made. This book is all about Sandoz taking responsibility for his own faith and spirituality. When thinking about the spiritual test that Sandoz goes through all throughout the novel, you can't help but think about your own faith. Mary Russell is an extraordinary author, and I really think she outdoes herself with this novel. It is an outstanding science fiction thriller which makes you think about a lot of different concepts of spirituality and faith. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a suspenseful novel about missionaries, aliens, and certain tests of faith. It was an awesome read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2010

    Couldn't put it down-- The Sparrow is a must read!

    Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow is an intriguingly theological science fiction thriller. Not only does she captivate readers through breathtaking imagery describing the alien planet of Rakhat, and the stunning alien Jana' ata and Runa, but Russell also creates human characters who are fascinatingly open to interaction with the ethereal and asking tough questions. Despite the difficulties they face, the human characters are extremely endearing.


    Readers rejoice alongside Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest, and his fellow humans at the first interaction with the Runa. It is a beautiful display of the intermingling of the earthly and other-worldly; a truly magnificent and aesthetically pleasing experience.
    Yet, it soon becomes clear that there is a stratified culture on the Eden-like Rakhat that the humans unknowingly influence. Despite the fantastic experience living with the Runa and learning the alien language and culture, trouble is immanent for the humans. There is incurable sickness, powerful and power hungry Jana'ata and the danger of asking the difficult soul-searching questions without any guarantee of an answer.


    Switching back and forth, in a way that makes readers struggle to put the book down, the narrative follows both the past Jesuit mission to Rakhat and the present-day inquiry into Emilio's experiences there. Alongside Emilio, the only survivor of the mission, readers grapple with the darkness in the human soul grasping at a seemingly unreachable God. In such a way that readers would not know that this is Russell's first book, she builds the storyline through humor and suspense and the most charming of characters. The Sparrow is a commentary on relationships, family, love, art, the will of God, and the complexity of religious devotion.


    In both subtle and unsubtle ways Russell presents deep theological issues regarding God, God's purpose for humankind and a life devoted to religion. And despite presenting these difficult questions, Russell wisely does not force the answers on readers. Instead, she leaves readers on their own to ask their questions and find the answers in their own souls. And as one reads The Sparrow, there is a restlessness, a stirring in one's gut that suggests maybe these questions do, in fact, hit closer to home than expected.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2