Apr 262013

wild-seedWild Seed, by Octavia Butler

Synopsis: Two demi-gods clash. The immortal Doro wants to breed a race of god-men to be his equals. The unaging shapeshifter Anyanwu just wants her family to live in peace.

Brief Book Review: A masterful exploration of the consequences of slavery and how it erodes the humanity from both its victims and benefactors even when ideally executed. The characters are complex and believable, and the ease with which one can both admire and hate Doro is breathtaking. This book has a lot to say, but it is never preachy – it allows the character’s actions to speak for it. The prose is very smooth and efficient, Butler can say things in one sentence that would take other writers a paragraph to convey. I couldn’t find a single thing to dislike about this book, and lots to love. Some possible triggering for people who’ve been victimized, but nothing graphic. Strongly Recommended.

Book Club Review: Books with a lot to say written by very talented authors are exactly what book clubs were made for. This is an ideal book, and will have everyone talking for hours. In addition to the slavery and victimization aspects, it is rather clear that Doro is basically the Old Testament God, adding another topic. And much of the interaction between the two main characters can be viewed as gender conflicts writ large, throwing even more into the mix. The ways the two characters clash – the tactics they use to manipulate, dominate, and win-over the other – make for good discussion and disagreement. It’s particularly interesting that there was a male/female divide in our book club about whether the ending was believable or strained. Strongly Recommended.

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