Book Review: Sparrow Man (Sparrow Man Book 1) by M. R. Pritchard

When people everywhere start turning into zombies, Meg escapes from jail, where she only went in the first place because she took the responsibility for a crime her fiance committed, and heads for a place in Kingston where she and he agreed to meet. But along the way she finds Sparrow, a quirky man with an obsession for collecting feathers whose only goal is to get to an old barn where a snowy owl lives. They become allies, surviving together, as Meg starts to realize her past may not have happened exactly as she remembers it...

Book Review: Sparrow Man (Sparrow Man Book 1) by M.R. Pritchard | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy
Title: Sparrow Man
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 356
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


This is a hard review to write because this is one of those books that might be best gone into blind. Everything I want to say most is kind of a spoiler (so are some of the post tags and book tags—don’t read those if you want to stay entirely spoiler-free) because it’ll ruin that mysterious element. But one thing I can say is that I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and still it ended up being something unexpected.

From the blurb you’ve at least gotten that it’s a zombie book, right? Well, it’s not. Oh, it’s got zombies, but it’s not about them.

Part of the reason I say that is because for a good portion of the book, it was really about the characters. Sparrow’s quirkiness was endearing, Meg’s growth from her painful past made me sympathize with her, and the way they were getting to know each other, depending on each other, and caring about each other was fantastic.

“What the hell is wrong with your weapon?” I shout.

“It doesn’t like you,” Sparrow chokes out as he pushes at the dead man’s face.

“What the shit is that supposed to mean? Your machete has feelings?”

The other part of the reason is because the zombies ended up being a footnote among a much bigger scope of supernatural-ness that was revealed in a big twist. (In case you do want to know want to know what you’re getting into, the main supernatural creatures were actually *SPOILER ALERT* angels and demons *END SPOILER ALERT*.)

But that was the main issue I had with the book and the reason this review is so hard to write—it almost felt like I read two different books.

See, for the first half, the cover and blurb actually do a great job of portraying how the book felt, the offbeat nature of it. The best way I can describe it is that the perfect playlist to go with it would be one with alternative, subdued, chill, folksie kinda music. There were sweet moments, there were funny moments, there were beautiful moments, there were heavy moments, and then there was this one moment that was like the Wilson scene from Castaway. I swear I literally gasped, said, “Oh no!” out loud, and felt devastated for the character. It always marvels me when an author can make me that emotional over inanimate objects. And the “snowy owl words”… I don’t know why I loved that so much, but I did.

The second half, however, wasn’t quirky and beautiful the way the first half was, and it changed focus. Don’t get me wrong, the twist was completely unexpected and possibly the most unique, intriguing take I’ve seen on something that’s been done quite a bit in fiction, but the new focus (the thing I mentioned in the spoiler) was just something I personally don’t care to read about.

I also felt that near the end Meg started making some bad decisions and the book started to drag a bit, like it should’ve ended sooner after the climax and saved the rest for the next book.

After all was said and done though, everything did make sense, I enjoyed the character development and offbeat feel, and I thought it was a very unique take on things!


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  1. chucklesthescot

    I don’t think this would be my kind of book…sounds a bit confused plot wise. I did enjoy your review though, nice work! It’s not easy to keep it spoiler free!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think this would be your kinda book either. Not even because of the changing plot, but it’s just not the kind of survival, killing, zombie kinda book that I think you like. Thanks! This was not an easy one to keep spoiler-free.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Both of the other books I’m reviewing this week are about vampires, I think 2 out of 3 is enough vampire book reviews for one week, haha. This was really a unique book though! The cover definitely piqued my curiosity.

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    It’s very interesting that this one twist (I didn’t read the spoiler) changed for focus of the story so completely. I like the sound of the beginning because I like character development and quirky characters but the second half… I’ll keep this in the maybe pile since you did end up understanding everything and it certainly sounds unique. I’m just leery of the two books in one feel. Great review, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Good, don’t read the spoiler if you might read this! But actually, I kept the most interesting thing out of the review entirely, didn’t even include it in the spoiler 😉 I LOVED the character development in the beginning. The second half, I think it was genuinely a *me* thing? But it did still feel kinda like two different books, so there’s still that. Definitely unique though. Thanks!

  3. Maureen Beatrice

    I haven’t read this one. Sounds interesting though.. I’m especially intrigued by your mention of this unique twist. And I love that cover.. Looks so mysterious. I’ll definitely add this one to my TBR!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was definitely interesting and unique! And the cover piqued my curiosity too and is a great representation of the feel of the first half of the book. Let me know what you think if you give it a read!

  4. Jared

    OOH! I’ve never read a zombie book before, maybe I’ll pick this one up. I’ve been in the mood for something different in my reading, and this may look like what the doctor ordered! Good post, have an AMAZING DAY!

    1. Kristen Burns

      If you’re looking for a legit zombie book, this may not be the best thing since that’s not what it ends up really being about? But it does have zombies, and it’s definitely different! Thanks, you have a great day too 😀

  5. sjhigbee

    Ooo… this one sounds like it would be right up my street – not a huge fan of the classic zombie adventure to be honest… But using it as a backdrop for another kind of adventure altogether certainly sounds far more like my kind of read:). Thank you for what must have been a difficult review to write.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know your taste exactly, but I think you might enjoy this. Despite the inclusion of zombies, it’s really not a “zombie book,” so you wouldn’t have to worry about that, and it’s a very unique kind of book! I had to edit my review like ten times to get it to properly convey what I wanted without spoilers, so thank you lol.

  6. Greg

    I hate it when you want to talk about a book and it would be all spoilery! I have to admit the blurb kinda got me on this one- her memories may not be all there and she killed seven men? That makes me want to know more! Plus snow owl?? But… the second half does sound like it might be kinda disappointing if you’re not looking for that kind of twist (and having read the spoiker- yeah I’m not sure). Looks like an interesting book though! And while I’m not usually a zombie fan, I do like the sense of dread you often get with books like that. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s so hard to write reviews for those kinds of books! Yeah, the cover and the blurb somehow drew me into this one even though they’re both so mysterious. The second half did disappoint me only because that thing in the spoiler just isn’t something I generally like to read about. But I will say it didn’t go the route I thought it would in the second book, which was a good thing for me, but I won’t get into that here since that’ll be in my review for that book. The good news for anyone who isn’t a zombie fan though is that the book really isn’t a “zombie book” even if it does start out that way.

  7. Dina

    Yeah, that book seems to be not quite my thing. But, I found it really curious that you didn’t mention a love triangle or any love interests at all. So, there’s a Hedwig in this book, then? Snowy owl= Hedwig. They’re all Hedwig! (how many times can I say her name and get away with it. Answer: not that many times).
    The cover is pretty, though,.. That’s for sure.

    1. Kristen Burns

      There was a romance, but no love triangle. Unless you count the snowy owl 😉 (Just kidding. That joke would make a lot more sense if you’d read the book lol.) The book does have a really pretty and intriguing cover!

  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’m intrigued. I intentionally didn’t read the spoiler and skimmed your review because this sounds really cool even if the twist lead to a very obvious split in tone and focus for the book. Even that doesn’t put me off because the start sounds quirky and cool and I want to read for that. And growing attached to an inanimate object? That is a truly skilled author right there that make you grow attached like that.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was so quirky and I think it might be something you’d like. And yeah the change in tone made the first and second halves seem different, but other people might like the second half just as much as the first. I agree, it takes a skilled author to give me feels over inanimate objects!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the disjointed halves were a little odd, but I still enjoyed the book at least! And it’s always great writing when an author can make you feel so much about an inanimate object!

  9. kris @ lemon-notes

    I have not read this book, but I’m loving that quote. Of course machetes have feelings! duh.

    I LOVE quirky characters. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve read the same book 1000 times instead of reading 1000 different books. Quirky characters save me from that! This premise is quite interesting. I’m not sure if I’d like the book itself, but I’m glad I know about it now. It will be filed away into the back of my brain for later 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I couldn’t resist sharing the quote, it cracked me up so much!

      Quirky characters can definitely be fun! I tend to like them too. Glad I could bring a new book to your attention 🙂

  10. Lampshade Reader

    I loved the fact that this book was so unique. I became engrossed in the story. Even though the plot change like you mentioned, was a little off putting. There is a book 2 out and I have it, but still have not got around to reading it yet. Great review. 🙂 ~Aleen

    1. Kristen Burns

      I saw your review on GR! Yeah, the plot change was odd, but the book was so unique. I didn’t see the twist coming at all. Book 2 was great, you have to read it! I read it but have such a backlog of reviews that sometimes it’s like six months or more before I finally post reviews lol.

  11. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    I’m glad you say it’s not a zombie book! [zombies are fantastic creatures that should have never existed ;-)] because all the “moments” it made you lived and the unique twist have me very intrigued now 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I just don’t get it because you seem like you would love zombie books lol. I feel like I don’t know your taste anymore, especially with the reading slump you’ve been in, so I kinda wanna say you might possibly like this, but I also kind of have no clue lol.

      1. Dragonfly

        Lol sorry! I don’t know myself either! ???
        BUT I never liked Zombies never never never I haven’t read one single zombie book in my life I do like the apocalyptic stories that I guess are in zombie books so I bet that’s why you thought that ?
        Give me viruses, nuclear war, asteroids, alien invasion… any apocalyptic event but zombies! Then I love what comes next: people trying to survive the radiation or starvation or the street gangs, or dodging alien abduction ?
        I just can’t stand rotting, mindless corps dragging themselves around and falling in pieces trying to sink their disgusting teeth in some helpless human! Ugh yuk! Is like making a meat factory trash dumpster the main character of a book. I like bloody and violent but not yuk lol lol

        1. Kristen Burns

          But wait, how do you know you’ve never liked a zombie book if you’ve never even tried one?! I don’t like the ones that are just about killing zombies either, but there are some that are about surviving the apocalyptic events, relationships among characters who team up, super character-focused, etc. Slowly We Rot, for example, was based years after the zombie apoc, and most of the zombies were dead or so slow they weren’t even a threat. The book was more about alcoholism and the MC’s psychological problems. But anyway, this book was not a “zombie book,” it just kind of had some zombies, but I’m still just not sure if it’d be your kinda thing or not.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was just so funny, haha. But the poor woman, his machete really wouldn’t cut anything for her because of magic that binded it to him or something lol.

  12. Lori

    The characters sound so great. It does sound like the plot twist was a huge sidestep. I’ve read a few books where things change drastically in the middle and it always makes me stumble. I’m happy you were still able to enjoy it!