I know I’ve mentioned a few times how I have grown to adore Octavia Butler. I read Bloodchild and other Stories and Kindred last year and had this one on my TBR for a minute. I was excited to find a good spot for it on the Read Harder Challenge this year. It’s my pick for Task #3, a classic of genre fiction. Butler is a master at science fiction and she paints an amazing dystopian picture in this book. It’s the first of the 2 Earthseed books.
Honestly, I had no idea what the book was really about when I started it, let alone that it was dystopian. All I knew was that I love the author and lots of people I know that like the same books have loved it. I had expected a bit more of a fantasy vibe from the title, but I knew better from Butler’s other works. It was important to bear in mind that this book had been written 25 years ago and interesting that we’ve just about caught up to its dystopian future. The world she paints is sadly likely and I can see how it would have seemed fairly inevitable in 1993. Butler’s world building is one of my favorite things about her previous writing and this one definitely did not disappoint. A little change here and a little change there and we could be where Lauren, our protagonist, finds herself.
As a protagonist in such a time, I adore her. The concept of a sharer that Butler uses that gives Lauren her biggest struggle is amazing. I can’t even imagine having to deal with sharing the feelings of others to the point where you can bleed from where you’ve seen someone bleed. When the book expands and we run into new people and learn what can happen to sharers, the danger she faces becomes even more profound. That she never lets it slow her down is my favorite thing about her. As the cast of characters around her shift and ebb and flow, it becomes ever clearer how dangerous this world is. It’s eerily reminiscent of the future we saw in the movie Book of Eli, which came after it but I had seen first. There were points along the way when I pictured both stories happening simultaneously. In a world like that, I can see how people would need more faith than we have now but also that we may not have faith in the same things. Lauren’s search for truth and her desire to put it to page and share it with others drives the book, and it’s obvious early on that she will not simply let the future come to her. She will be prepared for whatever comes.
I don’t want to get much into the path of the story because I appreciated the twists and turns it takes and don’t want to spoil anything. Surely anyone looking for a synopsis could find on by now. I’d just rather people continue to read this interesting book. I recently saw a headline about feminist dystopians, that they continually torture their women, and that this should stop. If you’re looking for a feminist dystopian that in no way resembles The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, this is a great option. Now, I loved The Handmaid’s Tale, but I also love reading stories with different plots from different points of view that give entirely different possibilities about what the future holds for us. Personally, I would put these two next to each other on great feminist dystopians. I have to get my hands on the second book of the Earthseed, Parable of the Talents and see what happens to Lauren and her band of characters.
I found the book on Scribd, but if you’d like to purchase it, click on the cover image to be redirected to Booklikes for worldwide options or add to Goodreads for later.