Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

So I really liked Red Sparrow though I’m not sure I would read it again. After watching the trailer I thought I was going to be in for a bit more action and spy suspense! Instead, it was a bit of a slow burner for me. Um and anyone else feeling Marvel’s Black Widow origin story?

In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.

Spies have long relied on the “honey trap,” whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of “sexpionage” in Russia’s secret “Sparrow School,” hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC.


Dominika’s character was great, however, I’m not sure many readers will identify with her. She’s not girly and quite emotionally detached from most situations, despite being a strong character who didn’t take any shit. I felt like the References to her beauty were overkill and repetitive. We were led to believe these things were happening to her because of her beauty. HOWEVER, the story wouldn’t have worked if she wasn’t so…

The Nash and MARBLE characters were both interesting and strong – and I enjoyed their relationship as informant and handler. I liked both MARBLE and Dominika’s reasons for informing to the CIA as well. While feeling slightly cliche they make sense and you do get their feelings behind everything. It feels like a necessary step for them to go in.

I’m afraid there are no daring stunts btw this is a spy novel where most of the book is spent trying to lose their tails. Though There definitely is a few cringe moments! Just a bit of violence to add to the story and you know just one small Torture scene. Not too bad but I had to read fast!! Hoo boy. It’s not often a book makes me feel a bit queasy!!

The author’s experience in the CIA was clear, though I felt a little bogged down by the specifics and terms. It definitely Took awhile to get into the novel. The spy ‘lingo’ could be a little distracting and I had to keep pulling myself back in consciously. The ending of Red Sparrow is quick and unexpected – I got a little bit of a surprise actually by just how abrupt the ending was.

Three pegs – Good but I wouldn’t pick up the sequels
You enjoyed the movie – the book is far better!!
What were your thoughts? Did you like Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika?
Leave a comment below! 🙂
Like this post? Try Stiletto by Daniel O Malley next.

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