Gripping to end
I kept finding excuses to drive errands so that I could keep listening.
Gable was my favorite character.
KGB sparrow goes raptor.
Great characters and plot.
One of the better books I have listened to in a long time. I cannot wait to see what this young author will produce as his style progresses.
Because of its location, it feels like "The Tourist" which is another brilliant novel.
Too many to count. Seriously.
Das vidanya, comerade
Don't think, just buy and listen.
There were times when the story would go so deep that you find yourself thinking "OK. I get it!" but he pulls it off the burner just before you say it. Its all worth it in the end.
Retired 35 year policeman from So CA, relocated with my wife to South Carolina with "Toby" our cat. I listen to two books a week
For first time writer Jason Matthews, his insight made this book superb. A times I felt this could be used as a training manual for becoming a spy. Also, Jeremy Bobb was a perfect fit to narrate this story.
I have listened to 200+ audio books and "The Sparrow" will go down as one of the top 10.
This story should lend itself well to a follow-up or sequel, I can only hope.
I don't normally read spy novels, but I love James Bond and Mission Impossible movies, and hubby and I were going to be listening on a road trip, so I opted for this book that sounded part spy novel, part romance.
It is written by a real intelligence agent apparently, and I can believe it, as the book had amazing details about how spies move, think, operate. These details made the story richer and fascinating, in my opinion.
The romance was definitely in there, but the reason I can't call the story really a romance has to do with the way the book was written: There is little dialogue, with the narrator telling you what characters are doing, feeling, thinking. That, plus the narrator's even, cool tone of voice kept the reader/listener at more of a distance. The romance was one aspect among many in the plot, no more no less.
I got caught up in the story because of the author's ability to build the characters (and fast!) and to make you feel you're right there. I think the story was somewhat predictable, which is strange for a spy novel (and to a newbie spy reader at that) but that did not detract at all from wanting to know the details of how it was going to play out.
I'm not sure how to rate the narrator, whether it was his reading or the author's "voice" (style of writing) coming through. The narrator was easy to understand and got inflections right on emotions when there was dialogue but overall he used an almost monotone or rather mono-emotion delivery with a cadence and pacing that was superimposed almost over the story. It did not detract from nor aid the story. In a way, it was perfectly fitting that it was cold ad distant, seeming to just "tell it like it is." Was his voice entertaining, no.
One issue I had with the audible experience was that the author tended to start chapters with this format: Mr. Smith, seeing that it was noon, headed out and.....That's not from the book! But starting the chapter with a name, and often the name is Russian and they all sound the same to me, means that I don't hear it at first and then a sentence or two later I'm wondering who is doing the action. In a printed book you can go back and look (and I also have a good visual memory) but you can't do that with an audible version (hard to find the right place to go back to) so at times I just had to listen and work it out.
Both hubby and I looked forward to getting back in the car after a pit stop to hear what happened next, so it worked great for our road trip!
Just a curious guy who travels the world.
Just the kind of spy novel I was hoping for ... intrigue, trade-craft, and all modernized in a way and context that feels so authentic!
I enjoyed the narration, but the story, it's twists and turns, are the hero here. It was really interesting to get the little little insights into the more practical matters of spying. Thanks Mr. Matthews! When is your next novel coming out?
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have 5 grown children, play ukuele exercise, and read.
This was an amazing spy story. Even at the last 10 minutes of the book, I did not know how it would end.
My only regret was that I don't have copies of the recipes. Each chapter ends with a recipe and some of them sounded amazing.
Dominica. Very complicated character!
Nate! Would love to know him also.
The end. Can't discuss or it would give it away.
I wish audible would put a pdf. on the site that included the recipes.
They're entertaining, as is this novel. The twist is that the author apparently was a covert agent in 'real life,' lending the details a level of credibility that makes the novel more-than-average. (Do the Russians really use that spy dust to uncover clandestine meetings with the CIA? Who knew?)
The Russians are definitely the bad guys here, except for the ones that are working with 'us.' Dominika, the beautiful (of course) trained spy who is tired of being used by everyone and decides to take revenge. She is sent to trap but ends up working with the handsome (of course) trained CIA guy who is also the handler of the #1 Russian mole in history. From there, the story takes off, with a lot of fun twists and turns and coming to a great climax. Read particularly well by Jeremy Bobb.
If you're looking for an entertaining read, look no further.
No but still it was fascinating.
I almost never write reviews but I had to write one for the Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. Regretfully, grudgingly, I'm giving this book 4 stars although many parts of this book deserve solid 5 stars. This is a very good espionage thriller, superbly written in a literary sense, with riveting, sometimes even mesmerizing plot, strong characters, either positive or negative, and appropriate, well-timed insertions of humor. In a word, all what in my opinion any good book should have. All this evoked from me strong associations and sentiments. And yes, it' true that this book is reminiscent of some of the early John Le Carre's works although I think it's somewhat better. And I think in its politics it's closer to Tom Clancy. However, despite all this I gave this book only 4 stars because there're many significant sometimes even ridiculous and preposterous blunders:
1. This is supposed to be a spy thriller so the recipes at the end of each chapter were really annoying. This is NOT a cook book.
2. I didn't like the author frequently using pseudo-russian words especially when many of them were totally wrong. Some of them didn't even sound like Russian, more like Polish or Czech. And I would know since I'm half Russian myself and Russian is my native language. E.g.: the author uses "Russian" word "dushka" almost on every page, figuratively speaking. First of all, to my knowledge, there is no such word in Russian. There's a word "dushenka" which roughly means sweetie or darling but the last time it was probably used in 19th century so obviously it's very obsolete. And it's only one of such numerous examples.
3. Author's obvious prejudice against Russia and Russians unfortunately somewhat diminished this book making it condescending and sometimes even unrealistic and ridiculous. And it's when judging from the text events in the novel occur in the early 2014. E.g.: SVR, Russian foreign intelligence service, uses Russian made PAZ buses to transport its cadets from Moscow to Sparrow school. Once more, last time I saw a PAZ bus it was in the 80s. If they still exist then it's only on very distant rural routes, like "in the deep of Siberia". Furthermore, these buses would have never been used to transport Russian intelligence operatives in Moscow. Another ridiculous example representative of author's prejudiced attitude towards Russia: when he writes about SVR Helsinki station he describes that there were only a couple of computers but on every desk was an 80th era typewriter. I accept that Russia may be technologically inferior to US but this is simply ludicrous: I mean, we live in the 21st century and Russians aren't medieval barbarians.
And these aren't the only such occurrences.I don't want to spoil the novel for other readers so in conclusion I will only say that I got a strong feeling that the author's main purpose was to write this book as soon as possible and along make it highly commercial. Actually, that's what the publisher's blurb says. So he wrote a pretty good outline and then threw in a mishmash of various bits and pieces. And yeah, forgot to do his due diligence on the research. It could've been much better. It has a lot of potential. But still, overall it's a good novel. I recommend it to anyone who likes espionage fiction. Hopefully, Mr. Matthews will improve in his future books of this genre. I will look forward to them.
I was not able to stop listening to this book. I loved the story line and the pace of the book. I hope there is a 2nd book need to know what happens next????