Kindred by Octavia Butler


Kindred by Octavia ButlerKindred by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

This was brilliant, moving, difficult, and the kind of book that makes you think.

There are two kinds of good books. There are good books that are fun and allow you to shut off your mind a bit. There are good books that make you think. This is the latter and it really had me cringing and wondering how I would deal in that situation. Then again, that is exactly what a good science fiction novel should do.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a novel that is as much a piece of historical fiction as it is science fiction. In fact, the science fiction part isn’t well explained. It is used more as a device to push our main character, Dana into a position where she need to reconsider her value. In some ways in the most literal sense.

Dana is essentially drawn into the past to ensure that one of her ancestors is born. The problem is that means she needs to save the young boy Rufus, son of a plantation over. Her journey follows her repeated trips back to the past as she saves Rufus’s live and tries to be a positive influence on him, while doing her best to cope and survive in the hostile pre-Civil War American South.

It’s a tough journey to go through and face as we deal with the hardships she encounters. Dana handles it all with stride. She is intelligent, cunning, and unyielding. She knows what is right. She knows what needs to be done. While, she isn’t foolish enough to just go about haphazardly flaunting her 20th century ideals, she refuses to back down. While occasionally it was frustrating to see her do that when you knew it would go badly, it was still thrilling and encouraging.

I have to mention Rufus because he was one of those characters that I never knew how to feel about him. One minute you didn’t hate him, the next he was absolutely awful. It was frustrating because you could see the light in him. You could see that he as a person wasn’t bad. However, it really highlighted how one’s surroundings can affect the person they become. Rufus had so much promise, but growing up in a time when owning slaves was common place and looking at black people as lesser was normal he turned out a rather complicated person. As good as Rufus was watching him slowly become more tainted was almost painful to watch.

Overall this is one of those stories that just draws you in and refuses to let go. I found myself constantly curious about what was going to happen next, what would go wrong. At the end of the day I just loved it.

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4 thoughts on “Kindred by Octavia Butler

  1. Everyone I’ve met who has read Kindred enjoyed it but I didn’t when I read it. It’s probably because it was an assigned reading for high school or because of the time travel, which I’m not a fan of, but it’s hard for me to pin down the specific reason now. Your review makes me consider revisiting it.

  2. Pingback: #T5W – Books with “Hard” Topics | So, I pondered...

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