✹ [BOOKS] ✭ Children of God By Mary Doria Russell ❃ – Saudionline.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Children of God

  1. says:

    Everything we thought we understood that was what we were most wrong about This novel is the stunning sequel to The Sparrow, a book that left me breathless and yearning for after the last page Children of God made no less of an impact on me It is a must read for anyone that has read and enjoyed the first in the duology I would highly suggest reading these in order as the one really does follow immediately on the heels of the other The Sparrow was a story of a first contact conducted by a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat First contact by definition takes place in a state of radical ignorance, where nothing is known about the ecology, biology, languages, culture and economy of the Other On Rakhat, that ignorance proved catastrophic Both stories are termed science fiction but both go deeper than just an exploration of the frontiers of space They are journeys of faith, morality, and the influence of time on the shaping and perception of events The author, Mary Doria Russell, does not preach to the reader Rather, we are given a slate on which to draw our own conclusions there are many opportunities to question and reflect upon the events in this story and how they relate to humankind in general This is the type of science fiction I am finding I truly love The author s own words offer the best description of the main theme of this novel Children of God is about the aftermath of irreversible tragedy, about the many ways that we struggle to make sense of tragedy It s about the stories we tell ourselves, and the ways we justify our decisions, to bring ourselves to some kind of peace And I guess it s about the way time reveals significance, strips away self serving excuses, lays truth bare, and both blunts pain and sharpens insight It is brilliantly written and often very profound It is not a book that you will breeze through you will want to stop and think, gather your thoughts, and wonder how you would react in these circumstances My emotions seesawed constantly throughout this book I realize I m being fairly vague about the plot here I simply don t want to spoil anything from the first book by recounting the happenings in this one I can say that it also a novel about what it means to be oppressed versus an oppressor and how the tables can be turned We learn further about the species that inhabit Rakhat the Runa and Jana ata What the effect of introducing a new species that of homo sapiens to the planet will have on the balance of power Much of this will have a familiar ring to it from our own world history It may bring to mind revolutions, such as that of the French and the Russian, as well as the settling of North America and the displacement of the Native Americans The question as to whether the ends justify the means will recur in the book and in your own thoughts Ultimately, it causes one to understand that we are all part of this world or this universe and that each serves a purpose, each life has meaning, all are dependent on one another in some way, shape or form I highly recommend reading both books Don t let the genre scare you away, or you will be missing out on some truly thought provoking writing, some extremely nuanced characters, and excellent dialogue CredoI cannot find my way there is no star In all the shrouded heavens anywhere And there is not a whisper in the air Of any living voice but one so far That I can hear it only as a bar Of lost, imperial music, played when fair And angel fingers wove, and unaware, Dead leaves to garlands where no roses are No, there is not a glimmer, nor a call, For one that welcomes, welcomes when he fears, The black and awful chaos of the night For through it all above, beyond it all I know the far sent message of the years, I feel the coming glory of the Light. Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1897


  2. says:

    I am so glad I only waited a month between reading parts one and two of this book It really is just one book split into two parts and I could not leave Emilio for too long suffering the way he was at the end of part one.Emilio Sandoz is one of those book characters who jumps off the page and out of the book Whenever he is not front and centre of the story it lacks a certain something Even the characters in the book notice when he is not in the room He loses so much and suffers so much that at times I wondered how the author was going to finish him off I can t say much without spoilers but let s say she still had something up her sleeve and I was perfectly content with the last few pages.Many of the other characters are memorable too I loved all of the Jesuit priests with their sardonic humour and their less than perfect attitudes always disguising their real love of humanity and their work Isaac was a wonderful character too, a child and then a man with high functioning autism who is accepted totally into the society he lives in His reactions to the world around him are explained beautifully, and make sense of his autistic behaviours I enjoyed the space travel with all its boredom for the travellers and its occasional real dangers I loved the planet and its unusual dwellers I was happy to see loose ends being tied up all over the place In fact I loved it all.A great book following another great book So happy I read them both


  3. says:

    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.


  4. says:

    I loved The Sparrow and when I finished it there wasn t anything else I wanted to know a mark of a good novel So it wasn t a novel that called out for a sequel One of the big strengths of the first book was its fabulous characters Almost the opposite was the case here We get the same trip on a spaceship brilliantly tense in the first book, repetitively dull in this book but this time there are no women and the men are all either obnoxious or indistinguishable Also, it came across as heavy handed and sentimental how she eventually sought to make everyone likeable And there was too much theologising for me And too much forcing of parallels with the two alien races with the plight of Jews and North American Indians.And I didn t like the structure of sometimes jumping forward in time which seemed clumsy to me And I was often confused what was going on among the aliens For example, when an army appears with artillery What artillery There had been no mention in either book of weapons before Unless I missed it But I often found I was unable to picture what she was telling me There were very good bits but there were also very dull bits So, a bridge too far for me.


  5. says:

    In many ways, this novel rivals the scope of The Sparrow in both worldbuilding and theme By the same token, both are portrayed in a much dilute fashion This is not a bad thing, but it is a different thing when comparing the two I loved The Sparrow s tight focus on faith and the loss of it and the general healing or the swift decline Death came fast and suffering was slow.Children of God added many new dimensions to the tale Many characters from either alien species and humans had their time as PoVs Emilio is still a major character, but not necessarily the Main Character Sophia and her son Issac have a lot of screen time As do the once pacifistic vegetarians on the alien world and the meat eaters Do we need to get into that little feature Maybe, maybe not, but let s put it this way Soylent Green is People.Where does forgiveness reside Can it even have a place in the discussion where the meek are constantly preyed upon and the arrogant constantly get away with it Is this a novel about our own world Actually, yes and no The alien society is writ large for us, but better than that, it s delightfully complex Russell does a great job juggling all these issues and as a cohesive whole of a novel, I m surprised and delighted by how wise and multi layered it develops Emilio heals a bit of his heart but is eventually convinced to return Sophia, in the meantime, wrangles up the meek and starts a revolution Everything else is gravy and nuance and a delight There s nothing simple about this tale In fact, between the two novels, it might be one of the most heart wrenching alien tales I ve read So much better than, say, ET Little about faith, hate, understanding, and intelligent discourse touches that tale This one is for smart people.


  6. says:

    Epic Read it shortly after reading The Sparrow, and I m glad that I read both together Although it might stand alone, some of the characters are the same, and the story firmly builds upon experiences and events in The Sparrow.Didn t rate it 5 stars for a couple of reasons One, occasionally Russell has the habit of dropping non plot vital but important information in the space of a sentence, so if you tend to skim or even if your attention wanders, comprehension will suffer An example would be along the lines of It was many years into her widowhood when lets you know that the husband in the prior paragraph died She actually does this again with one of the most pivotal characters, view spoiler The Paramount, after a battlefield confrontation I had to re read the section two or three times to make sure I understood this is where the story ended for the alien man that was mainly responsible for Emilio s repeated rape It was a jarring note to have such a central character s story fizzle out with someone mentioning his dead body on the field hide spoiler


  7. says:

    The sequel to The Sparrow Once again, the author does a tremendous job in both introducing new social, political, and cultural concepts on almost every page for both the human and alien species she writes about, which makes the story very compelling for the reader As the story progresses the author creates a nearly intractable problem of species genocide that she resolves near the end in a manner that completely surprised me, but which makes a lot of sense once one considers the backgrounds of the human characters she sends forth on this second mission to the discovered planet.Two quick thoughts for any readers out there who have not yet had the pleasure of reading either of these wonderful booksI consider theese to be two parts of one long story, even though it appears that the author didn t plan a sequel when she write The Sparrow A reader would be best served by reading both, of course, to get the most insight.Secondly since the books story consists of the outcome of a manned mission to another planet, one who has not read these books may immediately consider these to simply be science fiction, as I did when my friend Alex suggested that we read The Sparrow But these books turned out to be so much that that There are very few books of fiction that I have read that gave me quite so much insight into the complexity of how we act and interact as human beings, for all the good and bad that comes with that as we try to create our future These are classic books, and I would hope that they are well read for many years to come.


  8. says:

    I loved this but then I expected no less since I felt the same about it s predecessor, The Sparrow This book picks up right where The Sparrow left off In my opinion neither of these books are easy reads, by that I mean something I could whiz through Part of it is the time lines taking place, part is the completely foreign names and culture I only wish I had read this shortly after The Sparrow although the author does remind you of what happened previously I am going to sum up this book by quoting the author At the end of my edition there a Q A with her The question Is there a moral to this story Her answer Don t be so damned quick to judge The less we know about someone, the easier we find it to make a snap decision, to condemn or sneer or believe the worst The closer you get, the you know about the person or the situation in question, the harder it gets to be sure of your opinion, so remember that, and try to cut people a little slack Like Emilio says, Everything we thought we understood that was what we were most wrong about So the moral of the story is to be suspicious of your own certainty Doubt is good Good words to live by If you haven t had the pleasure of reading these books, I highly recommend them Would be great book club reads.


  9. says:

    You know Alien ends with Ripley getting into the shuttle with Jones, fighting off the alien one last time, and consigning herself and Jones to a lonely trip home in stasis And then in the sequel, she s essentially drafted into accompanying another team back to the planet where they found the Alien eggs, and almost everyone dies again No Well, sorry for spoiling Alien and Aliens.Anyway, Children of God is kind of like that At the end of The Sparrow , Emilio Santos arrives home, sole survivor of the first expedition to Rakhat He is psychologically and physically maimed thanks to gross cultural misunderstandings the muscles in his palms have been removed, rendering his fingers almost useless, and he has been subject to rape and molestation at the hands of the Jana ata nobility who kept them as their plaything Emilio is hurt and resentful towards the Church, towards God, and mostly towards himself After about a year, Emilio is on the road to recovery He starts working again, meets a love interest, and seems to be reconnecting to the world But then he gets drafted to return to Rakhat, and it all goes wrong Again.Mary Doria Russell moved me deeply with The Sparrow Her approach to first contact and interstellar exploration was a mixture of cultural anthropology and religious faith The first mission is funded by the Jesuits, and throughout the story, questions of the role of religion, the Church, and God are prominent With Emilio s fate we are left to wonder with him why God would permit such a thing to happen And all the while, the characters asking and precipitating these questions are complicated and three dimensional, whether they are human or alien, priest or layperson MDR s touch is a subtle and deft one.Truth be told, I was somewhat apprehensive about Children of God Several of my Goodreads friends had commented on my review of The Sparrow advising me to read this book, even as they told me it wasn t as good Even if they hadn t, The Sparrow is that type of standalone jewel that is almost always diminished by a sequel why re open old questions only to spoil them with answers MDR makes several very smart choices, however, that mitigate the damage to The Sparrow s memory For instance, she reveals that Sofia Mendes is still alive despite what Emilio and everyone else believed Living among exile Runa now, Sofia gives birth to an autistic son, Isaac MDR tells Sofia s story in parallel with the story of how Emilio goes from recovering dependant of the Church to independent researcher to hostage of relativity To these two perspectives MDR adds a third, visiting for a time various Runa and Jana ata characters.This proves to be a brilliant stroke of storytelling Although I found these sections the most confusing little bit of name soup going on , they were also very enlightening I liked hearing Suupari s side of the story of Emilio s transition into prostitution, for example, and was glad to hear that Suupari was contrite It would be blatantly inaccurate to say that MDR humanizes the Jana ata, but she definitely provides us with the opportunity to empathize with their worldview.Thanks to these choices, Children of God is a good story regardless of how it fulfils the role of sequel Despite my apprehension, I eventually sunk comfortably into my role as reader and enjoyed the story There is plenty of tragedy to be had here, especially for Emilio, but it is not as dark or unforgiving as The Sparrow was Of course, that may or may not be an improvement depending on what one expects from these kind of novels I admit it s a little disappointing and makes Children of God feel a little shallow but then again, this book, unlike The Sparrow isn t really about Emilio s personal struggles any .The possibility of there being intelligent life, the suspense leading up to confirmation that the signals were actually coming from an alien species, was a huge part of The Sparrow But as the opening part of Children of God makes clear, knowing that we are not alone hasn t changed life on Earth all that much MDR doesn t spend too much time speculating why this is, leaving us to draw our own conclusions I suspect the major reason is expense numerous expeditions set off for Rakhat, but only two made it there intact, and of those two, Emilio is the only human who returned Space travel is expensive and provides little in the way of return so far Plus, with a sole survivor in the custody of the Jesuits, there is little in the way of information about Earth s nearest neighbours In this respect, the sequel shows us how merely discovering that we are not alone is not necessarily the life changing event that we might expect it to be.The same cannot be said for humanity s influence on the Rakhat Stumbling in where we are not invited, we destabilize the tenuous predator prey relationship between the Jana ata and the Runa By the time Emilio and the second Jesuit expedition arrive, the Jana ata are almost extinct and the Runa are free Just by existing and exposing the Runa and the Jana ata to our peculiar cultures and beliefs, we caused massive change Is it for the better Even making that distinction assumes that the way we, as humans, define better is relevant to life on Rakhat Again, MDR doesn t necessarily spend too much time on this point, but issues of cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are implicit in the relationship between humans, Jana ata, and Runa Recall, too, that this is the result of a handful of human representatives visiting Rakhat, none of them representatives of any government other than the Vatican and even then, only loosely.Children of God certainly provides interesting food for thought, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Rakhat We learn about the Runa and Jana ata in this book their cultures are not as confusing or as alien any And by far, the best part of the book is Celestine Precocious child characters usually annoy me, but Celestine captured my heart and wouldn t let it go The involuntary separation of Emilio from Gina and Celestine is one of the brutal acts in this book.It s obvious that there s no contest between this book and its predecessor The Sparrow stands alone as an amazing work of science fiction, one that demands an examination of faith and empathy and science against the backdrop of contact tragedy Children of God is like DLC than a sequel a little content, a few extra missions with familiar characters that flesh out the storyline of the original game without taking too many risks themselves It s fun while it lasts, but it does not have the same staying power as the original And that s the perfectly fine, considering what it s up against in that comparison.


  10. says:

    This is not a stand alone book The Sparrow is essential to have read Without that background story, Children of God would be confusing at times This was a seamless continuation of The Sparrow and really can be considered one book The story picks up where The Sparrow left off Woven throughout this work is the concept of Faith in God, self, others How one s faith in one s present can influence one s future Morality is also a prevalent theme Decisions affect others besides ourselves This story is a bit confusing in the aspect of time line Mary Doria Russell does a good job in showing the relativity of space travel but it sometimes gets confusing in perspective of the story Does the previous section happen before, during or after the story section we re now reading It takes a bit of going back, checking dates, etc This story isn t as perfect as The Sparrow I had some doubts along the way, which didn t happen in the first But it s still a brilliant story I don t want to give any of the story away This is a difficult review to write because of that Children of God has a very thought provoking story and is a perfect continuation of The Sparrow I recommend it.


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Children of God download Children of God, read online Children of God, kindle ebook Children of God, Children of God 888f5f14587d Mary Doria Russell S Debut Novel, The Sparrow, Took Us On A Journey To A Distant Planet And Into The Center Of The Human Soul A Critically Acclaimed Bestseller, The Sparrow Was Chosen As One Of Entertainment Weekly S Ten Best Books Of The Year, A Finalist For The Book Of The Month Club S First Fiction Prize And The Winner Of The James M Tiptree Memorial Award Now, In Children Of God, Russell Further Establishes Herself As One Of The Most Innovative, Entertaining And Philosophically Provocative Novelists Writing TodayThe Only Member Of The Original Mission To The Planet Rakhat To Return To Earth, Father Emilio Sandoz Has Barely Begun To Recover From His Ordeal When The Society Of Jesus Calls Upon Him For Help In Preparing For Another Mission To Alpha Centauri Despite His Objections And Fear, He Cannot Escape His Past Or The FutureOld Friends, New Discoveries And Difficult Questions Await Emilio As He Struggles For Inner Peace And Understanding In A Moral