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I've read and/or listened to this novel 3 times and I like it more each time. It's a thoughtful, engrossing first contact story with theological, moral and science fiction themes. The Sparrow tells the tale of a Jesuit mission to an alien world and, more specifically, the story of Father Emilio Sandoz, the lone survivor of that mission. His experience is life-changing, to say the least.
Russell writes interesting, highly plausible characters and she not only explores the theological implications of the book's events, she also creates a memorable alien culture.
David Colacci's reading is quite good. He starts a little uncertainly but quickly gains his footing, giving voice to the various characters without ever taking accents and dialects to distracting extremes.
I can't recommend The Sparrow highly enough but be warned: if you're the type of science fiction fan who wants action-packed space opera, this isn't the book for you. It's a book about people and ideas, not an action/ adventure story.
35 of 36 people found this review helpful
"Like many tales of disaster, this one is a series of reasonable decisions."
When Star Trek does first contact, it always seems to go reasonably well. Despite language barriers, cultural barriers, and physical barriers, communication and understanding are generally achieved.
In this story, all the ingredients for successful first contact seem to be in place: we understand the language, we have cultural elements in common, and both cultures desperately want to communicate. So, what went so horribly wrong?
This is a story told out of time. Be patient. You must walk a mile in these people's shoes in order to truly understand. Oh, and you MUST get the sequel (Children of God) to get to the whole story. It will be well worth the time.
When people who don't generally read science fiction ask me for a "literary" science fiction book, this is where I send them. The writing is intense. The characters are beautifully drawn and deep. The issues examined will haunt you. I wish it wasn't in the Sci-Fi genre because then more people would know this amazing work.
I am SO happy to see this available on Audible. For the usual reasons releated to copywrite, this brilliant tale has been on and off the Audible menu. This is an older work, so the audio quality is not up to more modern standards. But the performance is amazing. And it's here now, so I strongly suggest you get this and "Children of God" right away before they vanish again.
31 of 33 people found this review helpful