Tag Archives: passion

Book Review: Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow is a thrilling novel full of horror and passion. The story follows two characters: Dominika, a Russian, and Nate, an American — both tangled in the dangerous world of spying for opposing countries.

Dominika is dedicated, passionate, thrill-seeking, and short-tempered. And Nate is a fiery man who is very clever and intelligent. He is more logical and levelheaded, although still has a deep heart.

Dominika was born with a special gift: her extraordinary vision that lets her see the color of people’s auras. When music plays, she can see distinct notes right in front of her eyes. Her ability to see music is what makes her such a talented dancer.

“Dominika gravely explained that when the music played, or when her father read aloud to her, colors would fill the room. Different colors, some bright, some dark, sometimes they ‘jumped in the air’ and all Dominika had to do was follow them. It was how she could remember so much.”

After graduating high school with a particular admiration for history and political debates (due to her strong patriotism,) she attends ballet school in pursuit of becoming a professional ballerina. However, Dominika’s career plans are halted when a jealous couple on the team plots to break her leg, thus destroying her capabilities as a dancer.

“In young adulthood she had learned to cope with the buistvo, the mounting rage, but now she let it grow, tasted it in her throat.”

Following the tragic, sudden death of her father, Dominika is approached by her uncle  with an offer to essentially become a Russian spy. Desperate and lost, Dominika feels she has no choice now but to accept. From here on, her loyalty will be tested: to her country, to her family, to her dignity and principles, and most importantly to her own self.

Dominika attends Sparrow School, where she trains to become an official “sparrow.” Here, is where she is taught in depth about the art of seduction. Sparrows use not just their bodies, but their magical charm and quick wit, to gain precious information for the Russian government.

“This school, this mansion secluded behind walls topped with broken glass, was an engine of the State that institutionalized and dehumanized love. It didn’t count… it was training, like ballet school.”

The trials and tribulations Dominika goes through prove her strength, as the harsh reality sinks in that being strong is her only option if she wants to survive. Too late to back out now. At one point she witnesses a man get brutally, painfully murdered, as his blood spats on her body.

Finally, Dominka meets Nate, her next assignment. Nate seems to always have a deep purple aura, presenting honesty and calmness. Her mission is to recruit him for Russia, while Nate has a counter-mission to recruit Dominika for the USA.

“Dominika played it slow, indifferent. She was correct, reserved, a conscious counterbalance to his shambling American informality. She constantly told herself not to be so nervous. When he looked at her she knew from his expression that he was unsuspecting. He doesn’t know what this is, she thought with a thrill. The CIA officer doesn’t know who he’s up against.”

Although Dominika is successful at capturing Nate’s attention, she quickly realizes that he is different from anyone else. Her feelings build, yet her loyalty to Russia remains firm. As the two get to know each other, Nate notices how triggered and defensive she is when criticism of the Russian government comes up.

“God, she’s serious, thought Nate. Typical Russian, afraid of putting a foot wrong. But he liked her reserve, her underlying sensuality, the way she looked at him with her blue eyes. He especially liked the way she pronounced his name, ‘Neyt.'”

It is not long before Dominika questions the intentions of her team. The murder of an older fellow sparrow, who she saw as her future-self, is the final straw. Dominika can no longer hide her fury as she goes on another date with Nate. At this point, she realizes that she actually has more trust for this American stranger than she does for her own country, even her own family — most especially her evil uncle. And so, she confesses her identity to Nate, who in turn tells her to join his team.

“It’s just that you should learn to get high on something other than adrenaline,’ he said.

“‘You mean like wine?’ she said, and threw the wineglass against the wall. ‘No, thank you. I prefer adrenaline.'”

At this point, the trouble has only just begun. The pair work well together with a rare, strong sense of trust in one another. Still — they know that they cannot let their passion for each other get in the way. Yet of course, passion persists and finds a way to make things very messy…


I really enjoyed this book. This lengthy nearly-600-pager took me a while to finish, although I’m a slow reader anyway. There were some parts that seemed drawn out and skippable. But there were also many parts that had my eyes glued to the pages. The story is intense and shocking.

***Photos used from the adapted film***

Smoldering

The world paints their faces as happy clowns

you proudly flaunt your smoldering frown

chip on your shoulder and heart on your sleeve

resentful and skeptical of everything you see

steam out the ears when you’re getting so hot

and if it’s your passion then you give it all you got

but if it’s safe and square then you don’t give a damn

you make your own rules and follow your own plan

Sacred Sacrifice

For every moment of bliss, a series of sacrifices were made in order to blaze the trail of abundance.

For example, think about the food you put in your mouth — the long journey it took to get there, the labor, the environmental impacts, and so on.

Sacrifice is what cultivates the sacred. Every person, every animal, every plant, every object took a journey. And every journey is full of twists and turns, every journey takes work. No-one and no-thing reaches their destination without persevering against the grain.

Avoiding labor (both physically and mentally) they say is a natural survival tactic encoded into our DNA. We are impatiently wired for short-term gains. We say it is “natural” for us to have evolved this way.

And yet… this paradox seriously confuses me. Nature itself is the most patient of them all — she never rushes, always takes her time. A flower does not spring up overnight. Was it patience or was it impatience that kept us alive during hunting/gathering days? Doesn’t the best hunter have the greatest patience?

Perhaps patience, perseverance, and long-term thinking is more natural to us than we realize, which is why it feels so right. But it’s not “normal” to us which is why it feels so uncomfortable. It’s not what we are used to.

We adapt and we adjust and we create new “normals” for ourselves. We fall down slippery slopes because we get too comfortable. And we forget that “normal” andnatural” are two seperate things.

Indulgement and sacrifice should be balanced. Restraining yourself can take you so much further than running ahead. There should be a build-up, anticipation and suspense to make that prize worth it.

This is what creates passion — putting work into something that will reward you, the harder you work and the more you hold back, until the right time comes to finally let go. And passion is what feeds energy.

Temporary misery can lead to something so much greater in the grand scheme of things. Putting in the work and embracing discomfort can bring you spectacular results.

Goals & ideas for 2019

Writing

One of my greatest passions is writing, but it’s hard. It’s hard to stay inspired enough to keep up a blog. It’s even harder to be vulnerable and open enough to express myself in totally honest ways for the world to see — still that comes with a therapeutic rewards of releasing pent up energy. So it’s definitely something I want to keep up with. Going to try more 30-day challenges. My goal is not going more than a week without posting. Please contact me if you have any writing ideas.

Reading

I am always trying to read more books but I always end up getting halfway through something and then moving onto the next without finishing the previous one. I want to finish at least one book a month. And then hopefully write a good review about it, if it was worthwhile.

Clean sweep

This is really something I want to do before 2019 even begins, or at least get started with. I want to go through all my things and get rid of anything I don’t need. Clear out all the old energy of previous years.

Specifically I would like to discard all products with highly toxic ingredients, this mainly applies to beauty/hygienic products and cleaning supplies. I want to not only invest in more natural products, but also try more DIY concoctions.

Nutrition

I’m really trying to prioritize healthy eating on a budget. Going to give growing my own fruits and veggies another try (keep in mind I live in an apartment, not on a farm…), also purchasing them in frozen/powder/canned/juice/etc. form which saves a lot of money. Also, I want to do more cooking from scratch, as opposed to wasting money on expensive takeout or eating processed microwave meals.

Exercise

I do a lot of yoga and stretching, a practice I want to continue expanding on. A few years back I started hula hooping — I’d really like to learn more tricks and buy myself a personalized hoop (something a little bigger and easier to use than the cute ones they sell at Walmart designed for children…). I have seen so many incredible hooping videos on Youtube! And music festivals are full of so many talented hoopers! And I also really want to get into ballet again because I really miss it!

Photography

Yet another passion of mine is photography, which I would like to do more of in 2019. I have a good camera that I lost a while ago, which I must find, I know it’s laying around here somewhere. Nature is my favorite place to take photos because it’s just so beautiful and always photo-ready. I enjoy taking pictures of myself, and it’s really not in a vanity way, it’s truly a way of expressing myself when I feel lost for words. Photos that I share of myself are not just something to look at, they have stories behind them, it’s supposed to be artwork.

Comment if you have any goals for 2019…