Wild Seed is the fourth written novel in Octavia E. Butler's 'Patternmaster' series. Although I have been reading them in order (something I just feel I must do), the books are not written that way. After reading each novel it appears that every next novel is a prequel.
Wild Seed starts out in the year 1690. A man who can jump from body to body (killing his hosts as he goes along) searches Africa for humans with 'special' abilities. The man, Doro who was first introduced to readers in Ms. Butler's novel 'Mind Of My Mind' is drawn to special people. Whether a person is a telepath, moves things with their minds, or what have you, Doro eventually finds them.
One day Doro finds an elderly lady who has lived almost as long as he has. Anyanwu is a healer. She has lived in her small hut serving her people as a healer for countless years. When Doro visits and asks her to come with him she accepts only because otherwise Doro will take her children instead.
So sets the stage for the entire novel. Wild Seed is the story of Doro and Anyanwu, nothing more. It shows how Anyanwu comes to love, hate, care about, then despise Doro. Doro's story is much the same towards Anyanwu. While searching the Internet on opinions of this story I came across one that stated 'Wild Seed is like an Anne Rice novel'. How right they are. Anyanwu and Doro are both immortal. Although they hate each other, they are probably the loneliest people on Earth. Can they set aside their differences and love each other? Will they be forced to destroy the other? Practically the exact premise of every Anne Rice novel I have ever read.
Doro uses Anyanwu to breed other special gifted people. Doro has been doing this for years. He will pair up a couple of gifted individuals and force them to have children. Nobody argues as Doro can kill them instantly. Doro has created many large communities of these gifted people. Anyanwu is just the latest person he has found. People that are not directly born into these communities are called 'Wild Seed' because eventually they cannot accept the almost total slavery Doro forces his people to endure. Eventually, when they have had enough children he puts them down.
I found the story frustratingly boring. I have loved every single novel Octavia Butler has written (that I've read) but there just wasn't enough sci-fi or fantasy or any element that interested me. At times I would really enjoy the novel, but after the one interesting bit concluded I'd have to read endless thoughts about tragic immortal lives and lovers lost. How much could I endure? I am not one for romance novels and this came a little too close to the borderline.
Another big strike against this novel is that it is a prequel. I have never minded prequels too much in the past but ones written specifically about a character I KNOW will be making it to the previous novel I really dislike. For instance, I KNOW Doro is in Patternmaster, so whenever Anyanwu and Doro fought, if someone is gonna die, it won't be him that's for sure. That took a lot of steam out of this story for me.
Strike two for this novel is the ending. Sure I liked the ending but I knew what it would be by the halfway mark of the book. By the end of the novel I have to say that this was the first Octavia E. Butler book I found unenjoyable. I liked hearing about Doro's history. I liked the expansion on Butler's Patternmaster series. I just wish that I had read this book first in the series, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. Then again, perhaps I would have given up on the whole series.
I'll be reading her next one in the series 'Clay's Ark' just based on how much I have loved the previous three novels before Wild Seed. As a stand-alone novel I am afraid I cannot recommend it....Continua