Reviews of Sparrow, the (1996)
Review by clong (2006-08-12)
I expected to like this book. I wanted to like this book. But frankly I was a bit disappointed. As an exercise in characterization, it's pretty darn impressive. As a science fiction novel of discovery and first contact itís only so-so.
The characters are well-drawn, each with different personalities that evolve over the course of the novel. But I never really built much empathy for any of them. And their theological considerations didnít particularly resonate with me.
I didnít like the authorís twin storylines plotting, partly because it felt disjointed and partly because it revealed key elements of how the book was going to end from the very beginning. The alien planet, flora and fauna, and society served to support the plot, but were less compelling than those offered in my favorite books of this ilk. I found some of the key plot developments unbelievable. And the final unraveling of the reasonably blissful situation in Kashan felt rushed.
All in all, a promising first novel, but not really up to my perhaps unrealistic expectations going in.
Review by hulabob (2003-08-29)
Excellent novel. It explores space travel with a unique anthropologic/linguistic consideration that is rarely seen. The characters are likeable, especially the protagonist who is a linguistically gifted Jesuit priest. The considerations on sexuality and abstinence were also fascinating. Enjoyable fiction that also makes you think!
Review by kevin42 (2003-03-10)
Who would have thought that a book about Jesuit priests set in the future on a distant planet could be so interesting. This is a very well written book, with very good descriptive writing that reminds me of Ray Bradbury. The story is also very original, and thought provoking. Make sure and read the sequel "Children of God" as well. I wouldn't have expected Jesuit priests to swear as much as they do in this book, but who knows, maybe it adds realism.