Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell (2 February — 5 February)

Children of God is the follow-up to Russell’s The Sparrow, one of my favorite books of last year and all time. It picks up shortly after the last book left off, with Emilio Sandoz still recovering from what he believes God did to him and trying to reconcile that with his life on Earth, where forty years passed by while he was gone.

The Society of Jesuits is set on sending a second mission to Rakhat to try again, as it were, and attempt to open up trade agreements with the Jana’ata that will be mutually beneficial. The Father General wants Emilio to return to the planet, but Emilio, understandably, is only willing to train people to go in his stead. The Father General, ever wily, figures out some way to get Emilio on that ship.

Meanwhile, back on Rakhat, we find out that Emilio wasn’t the last human left on the planet after all, and also that that human seems to have helped engineer a Runa revolution, changing Runa and Juna’ata society for the better, but also for the worse.

The book is told in the back-and-forth style of The Sparrow, but I don’t think it worked as well as in the first novel. It felt a little too jarring to keep zooming between the planets and their timeframes that didn’t line up, and then also to go back and forth between the on-planet present and the on-planet future looking back. But it was still a good book, probably more so if you’ve read the first one.

Rating: 8/10
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