Book review

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler book review

KindredKindred by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Sci Fi
Source: Gift

Dana is a 26-year-old African American woman. It’s 1976 and she lives in California with her husband, Kevin. On her birthday, she is suddenly and inexplicably thrown through time to antebellum Maryland. She saves a young drowning boy named Rufus. She’s about to get shot when she is again thrown back through time to 1976, where she struggles to come to grips with what she has just experienced. Over time, Dana experiences time travelling more and more, before she realizes that the little boy she saved is in fact her great-grandfather.

I have never read a book like this. Apparently it’s the first “Science Fiction” book written by a black woman, which is really neat. For that reason alone, it’s worth the read. It kept my attention the entire time and I had no idea what was going to happen in the end. It was really unpredictable to me, although I will be honest that my saying that isn’t saying much.

I can basically never predict where a story is going… Let’s pretend that I get so swept up in the story, I am happy to be just as surprised by their situation as the actual characters are. Yeah, let’s pretend that.

Anyway. The book deals with some really sad subjects (violence and rape, specifically), but it doesn’t dwell on them. I wouldn’t even mark the book with a “Trigger Warning.”

Dana is strong and a character worth admiring.

I mean, can you imagine standing in your living room when suddenly the room spins away and you are suddenly laying on a forest floor? Or in an old attic? What kind of panic would you feel in that moment? And then you start meeting people who are clearly different from you: who speak strangely, who don’t treat you the way you are used to being treated, who could wish you harm. It would be terrifying.

Unless of course, the room around you spun and you appeared in one of those Kitten Therapy rooms that are filled with kittens and you can just lay on your back and be bombarded by squishy-pawed, mewling kittens. If that happened to me, I would say a very heartfelt prayer that I could live there forever.

But I digress.

One complaint: This book definitely suffers from inconsistency in the voices of the characters. This happens especially in Dana, Rufus, and Kevin. The way they speak changes throughout the book. Some of the things they say don’t match their characters and brought me out of the narrative.

Overall, know that this book is interesting and will definitely give you a different view on slavery. It’s fast-paced, interesting, and if you love historical fiction, you’ll probably like this little spin on the genre.


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