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Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Children of God (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Mary Doria Russell

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2,139813,058 (3.99)215
Title:Children of God
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:London: Black Swan, 1999, c1998. 509 p. ; 20 cm.
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, read, 2007, january, christianity, space, first contact

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Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (1998)


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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
OK ish sequel to The Sparrow, but it all read as if it was leading up to revealing God's Last Message To The World, and ... it didn't. Bit underwhelming. ( )
  sloopjonb | May 24, 2014 |
After reading "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell a few years ago I knew I needed to have and read the sequel, "Children of God". The Sparrow tells the story of a scientific/Jesuit mission to the first inhabited alien planet we've found, and the horrific ending due to serious misunderstanding and underestimating the alien culture. After finally finding "Children of God", and reading it, I wasn't disappointed, and I dare to say that this book even enhanced the first one. Emilio Sandoz, the only survivor of the mission on the planet Rakhat is recovering on earth. Slowly he is healing, both physically and mentally. But Rakhat is still attractive to visit, so a second Jesuit mission is prepared. Sandoz trains the members in the languages and culture, and is forced to join them on the mission. Back on Rakhat he finds that their earlier mission has started a revolution, and that Rakhat is forever changed. Like I said earlier, I feel this book enhances the first book. It tries to explain what happened, and we learn more about the Jana'ata and the Runa to show that the lines of good and evil are not as clear-cut as they seemed before. Sandoz again gets a bad deal in this book, but in the end, the closure he gets and things he learns seem good. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed "The Sparrow" but felt bad for Sandoz. I really liked it, and give it four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Oct 31, 2013 |
did not finish ( )
  SChant | May 31, 2013 |
I was expecting this to knock me off my feet the way The Sparrow did, but it was such a letdown of a sequel.

I didn't connect with anyone the way I completely fell in love with all the characters in The Sparrow. Sean Fein, Danny Iron Horse, Joseba Urizarbarrena - they were all completely interchangeable. I couldn't tell you who did what or who had which characteristics. There was an overweight pilot as well, and I'm not sure why he was in the book at all except for the ship to have a pilot.

I didn't buy the reasons for sending Emilio back to Rakhat. None of them held up under scrutiny, and nothing happened on Rakhat after his return that absolutely required his presence. It all seemed like a bunch of faux-concern for Emilio's soul just so Russell could write another book.

There were far too many scenes from the VaRahkati point of view, and dear lord did they drag on. So much time was spent going over the specifics of their civil war; for some reason Russell decided to place a conversation between Danny Iron Horse and a Runao before they actually arrived on Rakhat so that she could squeeze in an explanation of 20 years' worth of change that had occurred on Rakhat. The Sparrow was about a man's spiritual journey, and that was lost in the sequel's massive focus on the VaRakhati war.

Finally, it was just really unnecessary. The Sparrow was emotionally brutal and that's part of what made it so impressive. This sequel neuters that brutality, and while it's nice seeing Emilio having some happy moments, The Sparrow made sense as it was - it told a story in a way that it needed to be told. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 19, 2013 |
recommended by: Sandi Kallas

recommended for: every reader who has read the author’s The Sparrow but none who have not

I am so glad that Mary Doria Russell continued with the story from The Sparrow. I was so happy to see some of the characters from that book in this one. It’s my favorite kind of science fiction: character driven and thought provoking. This one had me sobbing at the end.

This is a fascinating study of human and other sentient being psychology and cultural and social anthropology, which is how I saw it what with my predilections, and because my personal philosophy differs from many of these characters and from most people, I did not see it as a story about G-d or religion. I do like that the author has converted to Judaism and I do like the references to Judaism in the book, a lot. It was particularly moving to read about this subject when the events are taking place on another planet with humans and two sentient species native to the foreign planet.

She writes very interesting characters although in this book I felt as though the plot got bogged down at a few points and it took me some time to warm up to many of the new characters. I felt impatient occasionally which did not happen with The Sparrow. I also feel outrage that (unless I missed it?) a certain character did not tell another something that would have been of great solace to him and that also would have also been better for the story, I think.

This book could work as a stand alone book but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who hasn’t read The Sparrow. I don’t think this book is as well crafted as The Sparrow but I can’t conceive of reading The Sparrow without finding how this story continues and what happens with the characters and their descendents. I now think of these two as one book.

As a vegan both these two Mary Doria Russell books gave me much “food for thought” and I think that was even more so with Children of God than it was with The Sparrow.

If I wasn’t reading this as a continuation of The Sparrow it would have probably received only 3 and maybe only 2 stars from me. ( )
1 vote Lisa2013 | Apr 18, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Doria Russellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044900483X, Paperback)

Children of God is the sequel to Mary Doria Russell's 1996 The Sparrow, which saw a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat end in disaster. The sole survivor of that mission, a priest named Emilio Sandoz, returned a beaten and broken man, having suffered rape and mutilation at the hands of enigmatic aliens. Now the Jesuits want to go back to Rakhat, and they want Sandoz aboard the new mission. But Sandoz has renounced his priesthood and even found a measure of happiness with his new wife and stepdaughter. Meanwhile, on Rakhat, contact with the humans has thrown the local culture into turmoil, precipitating a war between Rakhat's two sentient races. As forces conspire to send Emilio back to Rakhat--and toward a possible reconciliation with God--the planet verges on genocidal destruction. Children of God is a more polished novel than The Sparrow, and the story is equally compelling.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

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A priest named Emilio Sandoz embarks on a quest to demystify God's providence that leads him to question the possibility of faith.

(summary from another edition)

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