Brilliant sci-fi story about a near future set in California in 11 years' time. Terrifying. But with that tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel that makes you feel things *have to* end well... Yet at times I felt the characters had it too easy, they manage to survive some of the constant atrocities that surely seem unsurvivable. I wonder if by the end of the book the author just wanted to finish the story and get on with life...
Still, a must for dystopia lovers, for those who enjoy good use of the English language in a novel and for those who think "where are we headed?" I'm ready to get my hands on the sequel!
I've been told by just about everyone that I have to read this novel and it's such a masterpiece and so on, but in the end I couldn't quite get into it. There is a good premise and several good ideas, and it's interesting to see a dystopia where the world is still tumbling down and non a straight-out post-apocalyptic world, but most of the characters felt flat or rushed, and the story itself has an odd pacing, with the set-up for the "hero"'s journey taking up literally half of the book.
The made-up religion of the protagonist is also so generic and uninteresting that it didn't seem to need all the space and importance it is given. This is not to dis made-up religions in sci-fi, or an "I already have a belief so I can't get into hers" rebuttal: as an example, I loved the religious elements in Dune or the Myst/D'ni saga because they were complex. Earthseed is just poor.
I think Butler also couldn't find a balance between writing this story as a journal and the need for direct dialogue and a straighter narrative; it's hard to believe that the Lauren who introduces new characters as if we should already know who they are (I often thought my book was missing some pages) would spend so much time recording every single line of dialogue rather than summarizing it.
I must add I'm also not a great reader of the survival/dystopian genre. This book was bleak enough for me as it is and, after reading a synopsis of the sequel, I don't think I'm going to tackle that.
Octavia Butler covers an amazing range of personalities all thrown into a cataclysmic time in the world. Reading this book felt she was the sower giving the world a parable about all the destructive things we're dealing with right now.
She deals with everything straight up, from the way people de-evolve under pressure to how we discover the best within us in the same way. The different levels of prose mixed with metaphysical poetry make this one of the most amazing novels I've ever read....Continua
To be honest, I do not like the Earthseed stuff along with the implicit canonization of Lauren in this novel (I almost think of it as a hagiography.) Perhaps I am more skeptical and more prone to satire toward things like that...
But other than that, this novel gives a very powerful and somewhat accurate account of the chaos and how people respond to it. Especially after the Haiti catastrophe, reading this book makes me marvel at Butler's prophetic vision. In the novel, there is also an earthquake and it contributes more chaos and riots to the already fragmented society--total anarchy, stealing and robbing everywhere, the pyro-addicts who set fire at random just for fun......Continua