It just went on and on, unnecessarily. And it was sad to me.
I really enjoyed the initial Parable The Sower by Octavia Butler and have enjoyed virtually all of her novels. Parable Of The Talents is one of those rare letdowns from Butler. The novel itself is as good as anything else she's written but the subject matter was totally uninteresting for me. The interesting storyline has all of its power from the initial Parable novel. The post-apocalyptic setting, the destruction of communities, the rape, violence and slavery - all made an extremely grim setting, but it's one I at least found interesting. Butler starts out Talents just like the past Parable novel only she strays too far for me to enjoy the rest of the story.
The Earthseed community is raided and everyone is killed or enslaved. They are constantly raped and everyone is brutally tortured on a daily basis...all this because 'Earthseed' religious followers are categorized as a cult that needs to be extinguished. A new U.S. President has been elected and he establishes a group called Christian America. One of the naughtier things he does (or allows) is the wholesale slaughter of non-Christians. The Earthseed children are all taken away and placed in unknown foster homes. It's the search for the lost Earthseed children that encompasses most of this story.
The novel is written by the lead character from Parable the Sower again (in a journal entry style) with slight interruptions and footnotes by her daughter. It's interesting to see the two histories separate and then join together again... only with unsatisfactory results for those who prefer happy endings all the time.
After searching far and wide for her lost daughter, Olamina (the lead character in the Sower novels so far) decides to keep on expanding her Earthseed reach. She begins to travel town to town (still searching for her daughter, but it feels like it's just basically an excuse now to be on the road) preaching her Earthseed religion. Eventually her reach grows and grows. Will Olamina finally see her religion take root and eventually fulfill it's destiny (to expand to outer space)?
The first Parable novel was a tale of various characters and their personal tragedies. They group together, begin to form this Earthseed cult and live in safe harmony in their community of Acorn. That isn't present in this latest Parable novel. Acorn is gone, Earthseed appears to be done, and not since the Spanish Inqusition has humanity needed to hide anything 'different' in the fear that they will be turned into slaves.
Parable The Sower was a good story with slight sprinklings of the Earthseed religion and others. Talents I'm afraid is infested with it. I can't stand religions, especially persecuting ones. Religions where their members feel superiority to others. That's exactly how the Christian Americans appear to be. They cannot be stopped until Earthseed, Muslims, Jewish, and all other different beliefs are quashed. An interesting story at first but it dragged on forever. I personally can't get behind any religion so it made it all the more difficult for me to like Olamina and her constant babblings about Earthseed and how God is change.
With its too heavy reliance on religions, both good and bad, I just could not enjoy this novel. I think the hardest thing to accept was that even though the Earthseed religion is portrayed in a good light and Christian America in a bad one... does it really matter which religion wins (think a religious Animal Farm here folks)?
A quote from Jesse Ventura comes instantly to mind: "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers."
If the reader falls into the same belief system as Mr. Ventura, can he/she really suspend their disbelief and enjoy this novel even with the overflow of religious comment? I sure couldn't....Continua