Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can see the conflict in their genes-the new intelligence put at the service of ancient hierarchical tendencies.
Damn, she's done it again. I know that when I pick up an Octavia Butler novel, she's going to pull me in and take me on a ride that is strangely foreign yet uncomfortably familiar all at once. A master at submerging the reader in her universe, she skillfully puts on display the best and worst of human behavior. Adulthood Rites, the second installment of the Xenogenesis trilogy, was for me even more impactful than the first. Through the eyes of the protagonist Akin (son of Lilith from Dawn) we are taken through a number of experiences that force him (and us) to face the question: Can the human race be saved? Or is it forever doomed to destroy itself?
As a half human/half Oankali construct, the only male of his kind, Akin serves as a bridge between the human and alien worlds. He quite literally has the weight of humanity on his shoulders, and while he's given every reason to give up on the idea of humanity altogether, he's still somehow able to see enough good to want to save it. I truly loved Akin's character. His empathy, his youthful, almost naïve optimism, and his ability to see the best of humanity while it is at its worst is truly superhuman.
This story is intriguing and gripping in the best of ways. I could feel everything Akin felt - his confusion, his despair, his fear, his longing. I was equally rapt by his expressions of pure love, and tantalized by his joyous moments of discovery. I'm even more attached to Akin's character than I was to his mother in the previous novel, and I'm so eager to see how his story develops in the final installment.
View all my reviews