Excerpts from reviews of Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow
"It is science fiction brought back to the project with which it began in
the hands of a writer like Jules Verne: the necessity of wonder, the hope
for moral rectitude, and the possibility of belief."
"Russell's debut novel...focuses on her characters, and it is here that
the work truly shines. An entertaining infusion of humor keeps the book
from becoming too dark, although some of the characters are so clever that
they sometimes seem contrived. Readers who dislike an emphasis on moral
dilemmas or spiritual quests may be turned off, but those who enjoy
science fiction because it can create these things are in for a real
--Science Fiction Weekly
"The Sparrow tackles a difficult subject with grace and
--San Francisco Chronicle
"The Sparrow is an incredible novel, for one reason. Though it is
set in the early twenty-first century, it is not written like most science
fiction. Russell's novel is driven by her characters, by their complex
relationships and inner conflicts, not by aliens or technology."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"It is rare to find a book about interplanetary exploration that has this
much insight into human nature and foresight into a possible future."
--San Antonio Express News
"Two narratives--the mission to the planet and its aftermath four decades
later--interweave to create a suspenseful tale."
--The Seattle Times
"By alternating chapters that dramatize Sandoz's tough-love interrogation
with flashbacks to the mission's genesis, flowering, and tragic collapse,
The Sparrow casts a strange, unsettling emotional spell, bouncing
readers from scenes of black despair to ones of wild euphoria, from the
bracing simplicity of pure adventure to the complicated tangles of
nonhuman culture and politics.--The smooth storytelling and gorgeous
characterization can't be faulted."