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5.0 out of 5 stars A HIGHLY INTELLIGENT TREATISE ON PERSONAL THEOLOGY - A TRUE CLASSIC
Theology can become a distant logical exercise of dry doctrine and easy theoretical conclusions. When it comes down to the wet choices of real life most such theoretical Theology is found wanting as it can offer only limited answers. This is Theology of the other kind, the real one.

Mary Doria Russell has created a highly intelligent story: what would the story...
Published on May 1 2008 by NeuroSplicer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended but not as highly as The Sparrow....
I couldn't wait to read Children of God after finishing The Sparrow (which I loved, by the way). However, I was disappointed in the sequel, which I found more confusing and less enthralling than the original. There were too many characters, so that none of them seemed as fully developed as the characters in the first novel. After awhile I was getting the various aliens...
Published on July 23 2003 by Laura Segala


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4.0 out of 5 stars Children Of God, Feb. 27 2012
By 
R. W. Hogan "R.W. Hogan" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
Mary Doria Russell takes us back to Rakhat in her sequel to The Sparrow and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed the journey. With her main protagonist Emelio Sandoz in tow she once again paints a lush personal background for both his obstinate state of mind, but also the varied motivations of his newest companions in the venture. What I love about Ms Russell's writing is the way she forms her characters lives into a believable web of circumstances that ultimately lead them to a far off world filled with danger and possible death. She humanizes them; none perfectly good, none perfectly evil, yet all of them come alive to share in the humanity of not only the voyage back to Rakhat, but the lives that continue on in both the Runa villages, and the Ja'anta cities.
We find Sophia alive and struggling to make a life for herself and her new born son, Isaac, with the Runa. We know that change will soon sweep across the world introduced by author in the first novel, The Sparrow. And we learn that the events that have changed Emilio Sandoz's tortured life were not all as contrived as we once thought. Perception is certainly one of Ms Russell's main concepts in the sequel and she twists these varied personal perceptions from every angle possible.
If you have read The Sparrow and enjoyed it, you can't possibly miss with its sequel, Children Of God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A HIGHLY INTELLIGENT TREATISE ON PERSONAL THEOLOGY - A TRUE CLASSIC, May 1 2008
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
Theology can become a distant logical exercise of dry doctrine and easy theoretical conclusions. When it comes down to the wet choices of real life most such theoretical Theology is found wanting as it can offer only limited answers. This is Theology of the other kind, the real one.

Mary Doria Russell has created a highly intelligent story: what would the story of a future saint be? Say, a Jesuit spearheading an exploratory mission to an alien civilization as a linguist of unique abilities; a former outcast that found his true calling as a man of the Cloth and God's face in all the hungry he fed and all the orphans he sheltered and all the lost he bough back from desperation. And then God asked for more. Much more. Is God real or a mere human construct? Can Faith survive anything?

This is one of those books that stays with you for ever. Read THE SPARROW first, CHILDREN OF THE GOD later in order to enjoy them both more.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first one, May 7 2004
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
I highly recommend The Sparrow. After you've read it, pick up Children of God. Mary Doria Russell's ending of The Sparrow leaves the main character in despair and confusion about his relationship to others and to God. His experiences in the second book (along with those of other major characters from the first) don't give pat answers to his questions but force him (and the reader) to consider how the Lord may be guiding the universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Along with "The Sparrow", this sequel is the BEST Sci-Fi ever written, May 2 2011
By 
M. Miller (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
I have been reading "legitimate" Sci-Fi (not fantasy) for over 40 years and this book (with its prequel "The Sparrow") is undoubtedly the BEST, most awe-inspiring, enrapturing novels ever written.
I have read both books 3 times, and each time I am in awe - of the details, the ethical and moral dissection, and the plot which is both entrancing and entrapping.
If you (or anyone you know) is into Sci-Fi or, for that matter, into the deepest aspects of the ethical and moral dilemmas of vastly different cultures and customs on a collision course, then you must read both novels.
Brilliant, fascinating, intelligent, deeply moving and religious throughout (regardless of your religious leanings), this novel speaks to everyone and challenges your views of the universe, the diversity of "life" there might be out there, and the effects of forcibly placing 2 vastly different worlds and their customs/ethics/morals together in one place.
I challenge you to find a better book in existence.
And.......to make things even better........after reading "The Sparrow" and being blown away, the sequel "Children of God" is EVEN BETTER!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine follow-up, April 22 2004
By 
C. Myers "leanleaper" (Simi Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
Russell continues to grow as a writer in this sequel to The Sparrow. Children of God brings different sets of themes and issues into the milieu of Rakhat. Once again the characters are a strength of the work, and I particularly like the way Russell develops the linguistics angle in her work. The involvement of the Italian underground is far-fetched, and the church politics that were used to justify the return trip and the return of Sandoz to the scene of his humiliation and loss of faith were unnecessarily contrived. But the deft handling of time and the ethical and survival problems that take place on Rakhat are fascinating and engaging. In many ways, Russell is for me like Heinlein--when I think back on their stories I can think of a multitude of things to criticize, but when I am reading their work I enjoy every page. I think this must be a sign that I'm under the spell of an excellent story-teller.
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2.0 out of 5 stars consider not reading it, Jan. 16 2004
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
this is not a bad book. however, the sparrow is a great book, and this one does not do it justice. there are some interesting ideas in it, but all in all i would rather have been left at the end of the sparrow than had this addition to the story. the biggest flaw is the way she takes sandoz to rakhat; also, this book doesn't have the moral weight of the sparrow and the resolution is a little too pat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Love finding a new writer, Nov. 15 2003
By 
Steve Marshall "Steve Marshall" (Auckland New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
I brought both this and its prequal The Sparrow second hand on the off chance that if I didn't like it I would not be spending big money. I could not put them down! I read The Sparrow and continued onto The Children of God in quick succession.
Russell writes with an easy prose which makes you want to read more. With every situation the reader is dragged further into see what will happen next. The philosophical questions raised in both books have had me thinking since I finished reading them, and my friends and family are now under instruction to read them so I can have someone to discuss them with.
I have thought a lot about what similar situation may have existed here at the time when Neanderthal and HomoSapiens shared the planet.
A message to May Doria Russell - PLEASE WRITE MORE!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended but not as highly as The Sparrow...., July 23 2003
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
I couldn't wait to read Children of God after finishing The Sparrow (which I loved, by the way). However, I was disappointed in the sequel, which I found more confusing and less enthralling than the original. There were too many characters, so that none of them seemed as fully developed as the characters in the first novel. After awhile I was getting the various aliens mixed up with one another. I almost needed to take notes to keep them all straight! And although the 2nd book explains some of the events from the 1st book, at least one mystery remains unsolved - e.g. what DID happen to the party from the Contact Consortium (the guys who found Emilio Sandoz on Rakhat, returned him to Earth on his asteroid, and then disappeared)? That seemed like a real omission to me. Still, I think that if you enjoyed The Sparrow, you HAVE to read the sequel, simply because things were not always what they seemed in the first book, there is at least one really nice surprise, and Children of God fills in many of the missing pieces.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Such a BIG story . . . ., June 9 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book for the second time, and I'm wowed (re-wowed)! For me, it took two readings (two years apart) to fully appreciate this story. It involves peoples and individuals with a long memory of injustice and cruelties that govern their present relationships with bitterness, remorse, rage, fear, longings for peace, longings for revenge, and longing for the assurance of safety. I was reminded Israel and Palestine as I read it, but another reviewer thought of the American Indians, and the wonderful thing about science fiction is that it can be about any or all of our own stories. Russell delves compassionately into the personal stories of individuals caught in various sides of the "big picture." The first three-quarters of the book is build-up, background to the coming event--the return of humans to Rakhat. Anyone who has read "The Sparrow" will know that this encounter cannot possibly go as planned--and in fact, much of this background is to show how Rakhat has changed in response to its earlier contact with humans--changed in ways that the approaching travellers cannot imagine or be prepared for. Personally, I found the build-up more absorbing than the last quarter of the book, which contains the long-anticipated outcomes that were almost unbearable to face (although ultimately satisfying).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Sparrow has landed..., May 25 2003
By 
FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Children of God (Paperback)
The book 'Children of God' is the sequel to Mary Doria Russell's award winning first novel, 'The Sparrow'. In this we take up once again with Father Emilio Sandoz, the only survivor of a doomed expedition to a nearby planet, set in the not-to-distant future. (Please see reviews of 'The Sparrow' for a little more detail about that.)
Most of the characters from the first novel have died (in this novel we discover how a few of the missing people from the first expedition met their fates), and due to the effects of near-light-speed travel, many decades have passed on earth while Father Emilio is still relatively young.
There are political crises on earth, including a crisis in the church, and there seems to be an urgent need for yet another expedition to Rakhat. In the interim, there have been several attempted journeys, all of which have failed. The church hierarchy decides that the only 'successful' trip was that of Father Emilio, and thus decides (largely without his consent) to send him off again.
At the same time, Rakhat has undergone a dramatic change, brought about in part by the arrival of the strangers, but also due to the political schemings of members of the dominant race, the Jana'ata. The Runa, always larger in population, begin to realise their oppressive situation, aided by renegade Jana'ata, and a civil war breaks loose. Into this situation the human expedition re-enters the scene on Rakhat.
This story completes many of the unfinished details from 'The Sparrow'. By filling in the blanks while also carrying the narrative forward, Russell's rather dark picture of the nature of God in the universe (as enacted by the creatures on earth and elsewhere) becomes a little lighter, a little more just, a little less doomed. There is, however, no answer to the personal injustices, to Father Emilio's abuse both at the hands of the Jana'ata and the Jesuit order.
Russell's development of the characters, both human and alien, deepens and broadens in this second novel; her imaginative history of the alien cultures is quite stunning, and her treatment of the strengths and weakness in human character insightful.
Read 'The Sparrow' and 'Children of God' back-to-back if at all possible.
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Children of God
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (Paperback - Feb. 2 1999)
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