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Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Children of God

by Mary Doria Russell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Sparrow (2)

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2,5941053,842 (3.99)288
A priest named Emilio Sandoz embarks on a quest to demystify God's providence that leads him to question the possibility of faith.

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English (104)  Japanese (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
The Jesuit priest, Father Emilio Sandoz, was on the first mission to the Planet of Rakhat and it was a catastrophic experience that left him shattered. His recovery has been helped after he met Gina and her daughter Celestina and slowly fell in love with her. The Jesuit's are returning to the planet with a second mission to right some of the wrongs of the first and against his better judgement Emilio has been persuaded to train the priests returning on the new expedition. What he doesn't want to do though is return to that place.


The Jesuits and the Catholic church have other plans though. Emilio is kidnapped, drugged and put on the ship, Giordano Bruno, en-route back to Rakhat. They want him to continue his quest for the meaning, if any, of God's plan; what he doesn't know is what awaits him when he returns there.

I quite liked the Sparrow, but this I struggled with somewhat. It took about 200 pages for anything of any significance to happen, and then the main action was all crushed into the last half of the book. There didn't seem to have been a huge amount of point taking Emilio back, for me it would have worked better with a brand new crew re-discovering the world for themselves. Not great, and could have easily been half the length. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
To read more reviews in this series and others, check out keikii eats books!

95 points, 5 STARS!

In the sequel to The Sparrow, we find Emilio Sandoz on Earth, only still barely recovering from his ordeals on the planet Rakhat. The Jesuits want him to return, and despite Emilio's objections he cannot escape that planet. Meanwhile on Rakhat, the original mission has sparked something in the people.


"I don't need that kind of pain in my life twice." That's what I said at the end of my review for the Sparrow.

Apparently I did need that kind of pain twice, because in some ways Children of God was even more painful to get through than The Sparrow. How the hell was this worse than the last for Emilio?! I don't rightly know! I thought the previous book was as bad as it was going to get. I was wrong. I was so wrong.

I really should not have read this so soon after The Sparrow. Learn from my pain! Take a break between the two!


I feel like I'm dying inside.

Where The Sparrow went back and forth in time between chapters, Children of God goes back and forth between planets. There are two stories going on between the two planets: Emilio's continued healing, and Rakhat's cultural revolution. I believe The Sparrow stands alone very well. However, I really needed to get Emilio to a point where he is as healthy and happy as he can be, for my own piece of mind. I really love Children of God simply because it exists for that reason alone. However, the reverse isn't true: Children of God would be meaningless without The Sparrow, and should not really be attempted without having read the first book.

The story of Emilio on earth is exactly what I wanted out of Children of God. He has gotten some time behind him from the events that destroyed him. He still doesn't believe himself to be a priest anymore, but he is healing. He is capable of taking care of himself. His body is getting stronger. It is everything that comes after Earth that broke me. And everything about it is deeply enough spoilers that I refuse to speak more of it. It isn't as shocking as what happened in the Sparrow, but it hurt me even more, probably because it wasn't shocking, just heartbreaking.

The story of Rakhat and the revolution isn't actually anything that is unexpected. From The Sparrow, you learn that the Runa are a prey sentient race and the Jana'ata feed on them. You know that the presence of the exploration party Emilio was a part of managed to change the views of the Runa about themselves and spark a change in thinking. When you already know this, it is easy to see that revolution is coming. However, there is a surprise waiting on Rakhat.

Both stories combined to make me fall in love with Children of God just as much as I loved The Sparrow. I was wrapped up in both of them. There weren't as many people to fall in love with this time around, though. Emilio stays away from most people, now. The story on Rakhat never really gave me anyone to love because of how it jumped around. There are a few people to love, and I love them even more dearly for what they became for me. There are even more people that I hated. It was a good balance.

I've heard someone, somewhere (I don't remember) say that Children of God was to give Emilio restitution. To which I say emphatically: no. It is to break you down even further. It ties up loose ends, but it is to show that just when you think nothing else could possibly go wrong for a soul so wrongly hurt already, more could go wrong.

I fucking loved reading Children of God. I just wish I had waited a week between books instead of a few hours. ( )
  keikii | Jan 23, 2020 |
This is the sequel to The Sparrow, which I read in 2005 and still remember as being very good. The first book covers the events of the first human expedition to a planet with sentient life (first contact, learning the languages of the new planet and the problems caused by cultural misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions). This book goes into greater detail about the political changes on the other planet due to ideas introduced by the humans (who were all Jesuits, if I remember correctly) as well as looking at the lives of two members of the original expedition. It feels like there's a lot more going on in this book, and I think that because of this it suffers a little compared to The Sparrow, which has a smaller cast and covers a shorter period of time. Still, I find scifi, linguistics, political science and religion to be an excellent combination and it was very interesting to learn more about the motivations for some of the events of the previous book.

While I definitely recommend this series, I do need to give a trigger warning for rape (particularly in the first book). The main character is repeatedly raped during the events of the first book - as I recall there isn't a great deal of description of it, but don't quote me on that. Both books contain a lot of discussion of the events, however, including a bunch of victim-blaming and the character in question suffering from nightmares and flashbacks because of it. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
The second book in The Sparrow Series, I read the first awhile ago. This picks up with Emilio Sandoz after his return to earth suffering from severe pain and PTSD. Emilo rejects his religion and leaves the priesthood and tries to start a life over again only to find himself back on board a spacecraft and knowing he will never see his family again until they are old or even gone and not knowing what he will find when he gets to Rakhat. This is a story that has many similarities to the Bible and evangelism but also covers subjects of racism, resistance, change.

I was told t hat I needed to read this to really get an end to the first book, The Sparrow. This is a tale of forgiveness. ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 18, 2019 |
Audiobook: It was hard to adjust from David Colacci narrating The Sparrow, to Anna Fields narrating this novel, but after the initial adjustment period, I think that Anna Fields did a good job. She had to handle a lot of different accents for this book! The only one I didn't like was "Standard White American Male" accent. The other ones are quite good.
Children of God is not quite as riveting as the first novel, The Sparrow, and I think that novel could have been left to stand alone, but I think Russell brings a lot of good to this book as well. The scientific lens is still applied to the narrative, though this time we see more of an environmental science slant, rather than general anthropology or language. I like the exploration of the topic of genocide in a science fiction setting. I think she neatly ties up the story lines, but I felt some of that was a little forced/hokey. ( )
  renardkitsune | Nov 25, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Doria Russellprimary authorall editionscalculated
di Bodone,GiottoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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hermanas de mi alma
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Sweating and nauseated, Father Sandoz sat on the edge of his bed with his head in what was left of his hands.
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