Characters: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Je ne sais quoi: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Goodreads rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Genre: Fiction, Religion, Science Fiction
It’s no wonder the book was written in 1996; The Sparrow takes you back to the old school approach to Science Fiction. Grounded in just enough reality and research to make you believe, building on one simple premise: that a privately run religious organization is more readily equipped to mobilize against potential extraterrestrial beings. The trigger event for The Sparrow is when Jimmy Quinn intercepts a singing radio frequency from an alien species, and the Jesuits assemble a rag tag team of believers and non believers to pursue the source. It’s apparent from the very beginning that the mission went terribly terribly wrong. The bulk of the book is spent slowly uncovering a miraculous, outlandish, and horrifying sequence of events, along with a meandering reflection on God and if and how we believe.
If above at all intrigues you, pick it up, because it’s a good read, and skillfully toes the line on religion and science in a way that doesn’t alienate (haha). My only complaint is of character development. There is such potential in the characters here, and flashes of small genius. I want to love Emilio, grin at Jimmy, yearn for Sofia, but somehow I fall short. The descriptions of characters – both alien and human – fail to touch deep down. It’s an almost clinical telling of the tale, even with subject matter that quakes. But then, characters are king for me, and I’m picky about if it makes me feel.
Overall, the book is very well written with a well laid out plot. I just wish I felt more awe for the alien species we uncover, and more pain for the characters we follow.