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.
Nope, this is my first and it's a great one!
Very nice, professional narration by the author himself. I always like listening to books narrated by their authors and Barry Eisler didn't disappoint. The narration was so good it's as if the book was read by a professional actor. I guess, working as a CIA operative in the past came in handy here. I mean to be a good intelligence operative you have to be a decent actor. Anyway, well done, Barry!
Robert Ludlum's Bourne Supremacy
This is by far IMHO the best book in Gray Man series. I was happily disappointed or did I mean pleased? with this novel since after reading the first three books in the series I practically gave up on Gray Man. The first three books were rather mediocre and formulaic. They were readable but IMHO very straightforward and not very interesting. Not much suspense there. However, this fourth book is quite different. Here we've got all the components of a very good spy thriller: interesting plot, interesting characters, just awesome action scenes, suspense/mystery and much more. This book reminded me a lot of Jason Bourne movies. I'm starting to think that Mark Greaney is developing into a major talent and eventually could become a new Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum. Now I'm looking forward to his new book, hopefully this year.
I didn't laugh or cry but I smiled plenty.
I wish I could give this book 9/10. Because I can't I gave it 4.
Probably not as all my friends are over the age of 10.
It's a pretty good childish fairy tale as it was intended by Tolkien for his own kids. I wish I've read it when I was under the age of 10. Presently, however, I've overgrown it a long time ago. Still it provides solid base for Tolkien's later famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Didn't like the narrator for the audiobook, Rob Inglis, so much. Too dry and insipid for my taste.
excellent spy novel. definitely very realistic. a must read for any spy fiction fan.
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