The Sparrow review

The Sparrow The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
My review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The most appropriate word I can come up with do describe this book is “haunting.” That may sound like a negative way to put it, but the book is quite an achievement.
If an extra-terrestrial signal was discovered, who would be the first people to go explore the origin of the signal? The Jesuits, natch. They’ve always been at the forefront of exploration, converting the heathen natives. These Jesuits don’t go with the aim of converting anyone, but to discover what else God has made. And they find it, with unbelievable consequences.
A good science fiction story has to tell the story without letting the science part of it get in the way. That’s why stories like Battlestar Galactica and Lost are so successful, because it’s about the characters and their stories, not about the space shootouts or weird monsters. This book manages that balance, and you care about the people that head to the newly discovered planet. It even manages the issue of religion well too. In fact, it’s a major plotline that drives the main character. In the end, I might end up giving this 5 stars, but I’m going with 4 right now, just because I was really depressed by the ending. Since the book is a mix of flashbacks and current events, you know it’s not going to end well, but it ended up going beyond even what I expected.
Next up is The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell, unless my library gets its copy of Cell, the new one by Stephen King before that.

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