Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Book: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
Genre: SF
Rating: A
For: Read Along
From: The Library

Time for the wrap up of this read along. The hosts' reviews can be found here at The 3 R's and here at Age 30+... A Lifetime of Books. But what do I think? Well, let me tell you!

First of all, as you may already know, this book is the follow up for The Sparrow which we read together back in March. I agree with Florinda when she says that she thinks of the two book as one book, you really need to read the second one to get the whole story.

In The Sparrow, we left Emilio Sandoz just barely beginning to function again after his experience on the planet Rakhat. It started out wonderfully and ended horridly and left him handicapped both physically and emotionally and completely bereft spiritually.

In this second book, we join him again and it appears he is making much progress with his recovery. Things are going so well! However, of course there's a group that wants to go back. And of course, they want him to go with and be part of the mission. He basically says, "Are you kidding me?? No way, no how!" Seriously. I can't even imagine the guts they had to ask him. And you must read it to find out what happens, because I won't be telling you.

Meanwhile, we flip to what's happening on the planet and how the first mission caused such a stir that civil war between the two species is imminent. We learn that Emilio isn't the only survivor of the first mission after all! And we learn that who we thought was the "bad guy" might not be so bad after all.

The thing that blows me away about these books is how spiritual they are. They both bring up so many questions about our role in the big picture of life, the universe and everything. The premise of the first one, does God really notice everything that's going and is He really part of everything, even the life of one little sparrow. In this one, it's more about our relationship with each other and who are we and do we have anything to do with other sentient beings on other planets. Are we all children of God?

Yes, some deep stuff.

Oh, and being a music lover, I also loved how music played such a big role. Music is, after all, how Emilio and company found out this planet existed in the first place. And music just might be the thing that saves everyone in the end! Music, it is a powerful thing. You know what these books need? A cd to go along with so we can hear what the author was hearing in her head. How cool would that be?

This book wasn't near as intense and grippingly heart wrenching as the first one. That being said however, there's still much pain and hard-to-read stuff. I mean, it's a civil war. It's the whole restructuring of a way of life. It's what can happen when you send people out to explore life in space! Things can get really crazy!

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it. I would probably say I still liked The Sparrow better, but only just.


  1. I'm so glad you joined us for this read-a-long! You're right, there is a great deal of spiritual content in these books - something that you wouldn't expect just from reading the back cover. CoG is my favorite of the two, but really only b/c it doesn't disturb me as much as the first book.

  2. I agree with you re: the lower intensity level of CoG compared to The Sparrow. That, and the fact I don't find the VaRakhati quite as compelling as the humans, leads me to prefer The Sparrow, but I do feel it's all one story. You make a great point about the music - a companion CD is an excellent idea!

    Thanks for participating in the Read-Along! I've linked your review in the wrap-up post.



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