Cover Image: When the Sparrow Falls

When the Sparrow Falls

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Member Reviews

Books turned into movies or TV shows are quite common. But I haven’t seen many books, such as When the Sparrow Falls, adapted from plays. Sharpson adapts his own script into a sci-fi meditation on political extremism, loneliness and technology.

We follow Agent Nikolai South, who is instructed to escort the visiting AI machine Lily Xirau when she arrives in the Caspian Republic to retrieve her deceased husband. Her unprecedented visit sets off political mayhem, as the Caspian Republic is the last bastion of humanity, with no AI allowed within the borders. 

While the rest of the world is essentially ruled (or guided, depending on your perspective) by hyper-intelligent artificial intelligence, the Republic is machine-free. Humans are free to make their own decisions, but the Republic mirrors Stalin’s Russia rather than paradise.

As Nikolai gets to know Lily, their conversations challenge his beliefs on what it means to be human. What unfolds is part James Bond, and part Her, and had me almost missing meetings to finish the next chapter.

Yet, the book feels slightly off balance. The height of the tension resolves about 80% of the way through the book. Leaving the last 1/5th more of a quiet settling than an explosion. I liked having more time to see the conclusion of the experimental Republic, but when the cast of characters shifts it became somewhat hard to follow. 

Nonetheless, Sharpson writes all of his characters with poise and spunk, no matter how many pages are dedicated to them. The final twist was unexpected, and made me delighted to reflect on the novel as a whole.

I liked Sharpson’s conclusions on technology (a necessary adaption), and political extremism (a strange and deadly hobby). He nailed the balance of doing what is right vs doing what is moral and will have you considering the trade-offs long after you finish the novel.
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If you read The Preserve because the concept sounded interesting, but ultimately were bored, this book is for you. A couple centuries into the future, AI rules the world and "humanists" who want to live an all-organic-human country are relegated to a small area by the Caspian Sea. We follow Nikolai South through this intricate world as he navigates an increasingly complicated mission. Would definitely recommend. Very well done.
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I liked this even though political thrillers are not usually my thing. It's well written, and showcases the author's imagination and talent. While categorized as sci-fi, it will likely appeal to thriller fans as well.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
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I requested this one because it might be a 2021 title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book is not my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one rather than push myself to finish it only to give it a poor review.
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Holy-hell this is good.  Some of the best speculative fiction I've read in ages.  At once a grounded political thriller and a wildly imaginative vision of the future, SPARROW puts a magnifying glass up to the political nightmare and corruption that marks our headlines today, whilst offering a glimmer of hope.  All within a tightly plotted thriller.  A genuinely impressive debut.
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Wow, what a great read! Highly recommend this book. Once I started reading I found it very difficult to put down. I really enjoyed both characters and world building. Will buy a copy for my library so others can enjoy!

Thanks to Your Books and Netgalley for providing an early copy to read.
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