by Octavia E Butler

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

Wow--I'm so glad this book was recommended to me--I'd heard of many of Butler's other novels, but not this one. The Earth has been mostly destroyed by nuclear war. Lilith Iyapo wakes up 250 years later to find that she, and other surviving humans, have been saved by an alien race called the Oankaili. They intend to return the people to Earth--but not without changing them first. Lilith's feelings--confusion, anger, frustration, wonder, and more, come across so well. She's not sure about her situation, and the reader learns about it along with her. When she finally starts trusting the aliens a bit, you do, too. The world building and alien culture are well-realized, and the aliens' interest in what they call "trade"--which is about genetics, not goods, is the crux of many of this novel's dilemmas. Is Lilith still human if she accepts enhancements from the aliens? Can she accept the role she has been chosen for--to lead other humans in learning about the alien culture and resettling them on Earth when they are ready? A thought-provoking novel with a complex protagonist. I'm hoping for more exploration of gender (the aliens have 3) in the other 2 books in this series.

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