Red Sparrow: An Upfront Book Review

I don’t often review or give my opinion on books that I am reading, or poems I find moving but I do feel that I read enough to start doing this for you…my lovely readers 🙂 Not so much to rant about my opinion, though I might if something really pinches a nerve in my system. More because I want to share when I find things that move me, when I find amazing artwork in the manipulation of words that I can’t help but share them.

Right now I am listening to (because I live in Los Angeles and listening to books is the only way I can “read” when trying to manage the traffic and the hum of city life) Red Sparrow because I’m one of those people that detest seeing a movie before I read the book. I feel as though there are few…and I mean very few….movies that outshine the book. I can discuss that another day.

I am listening to Red Sparrow, written by Jason Matthews read by Jeremy Bobb. I have to say, Jeremy’s voice leaves a lot to be desired in terms of engagement, but the more I listen to him the more his tone matches the mood of the story. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, his voice succinctly matches the stark straight line of the implication of danger within this book. It reminds me of the serious moments in The Iron Druid Chronicles (another book series I am in love with). Luke Daniels’s (I have such a crush on his voice!) voice would hit this lower octave that just screamed danger and intrigue. Red Sparrow has danger and intrigue in spades.

I’m not sure how Jennifer Lawrence will play out this role, or if she will fill the shoes of the character Dominika Egorova, but I am excited to see how she pulls it off. I am a lover of Jennifer Lawrence ever since Winter’s Bone. Yes, I do believe she was a little flat and uninteresting in The Hunger Games but let’s be honest, so was Katniss in the book. If you have little to work with (Bella Swan….amirite?!) then I would say there is little to do to make it a moving work of art.

Red Sparrow has my ear, and I won’t lie, it’s quite dense and yet easy to listen to. I was in the store listening to Chapter three while I was in the self check out line and I caught myself standing there like an idiot as Matthews wove an intricate ladder of importance within the Russian intelligence agency. Names and positions flew like crazy and then I realized I had been standing there for three minutes without moving and the woman in line behind me buying shampoo was shooting sparks of annoyance in my direction. The story and the set up of Red Sparrow is great, but wait until you get into the meat of the story.

This is a good one, and I’m not even done with the book yet! If you had any questions on if you should read this, the best note is that I am 7 chapters in and needing to tell you that this is MOST DEFINITELY a book to read before you see the movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that like most dense novels, a lot of the opening and elegance of creation of the characters will be obliterated in the movie to get to good stuff. I don’t really care, I want to see this on the big screen to see the beautiful execution of this intense mystery thriller.

I have to say also, that this isn’t my typical go to genre for a good read, but I couldn’t help myself. I did fall in love with the Jason Bourne series and ever since then I have found a good spy mystery thriller to be the type of adventure that is right up my ally.


This book is indeed quite dense and incredibly described. There are so many details about the CIA, the Russian secret service, all linked and tied together in a jumbled mess of who knows what and who will be caught. It’s a slow burn, but a good one. I highly recommend this book when you have serious attention to give. It’s not a great one for random reading. I found I’d forget where I was at times and had to reread if I was slightly distracted. Also the Russian names are a bit hard to follow (then again I am listening to this audio book, so that makes a difference). Overall this is a great spy thriller, and the end is a great wrap up of the details.

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