Monday, 12 October 2015

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler - review

Once again, I nearly ran out of time for A More Diverse Universe. My time management is exceptional, especially since I finished work.

I had planned on reading three books, including a book of poetry by Hone Tuwhare, but the end of the fortnight is approaching, and Salem's Lot is calling to me.


I did manage to read Dawn, by Octavia E. Butler, book one in the Lilith's Brood saga. I bought it on iBooks because my library - which is usually great - has exactly 0 books by Ms Butler.

Dawn begins with Lilith being Awakened - over and over again. She has no idea where she is, or what is going on. She knows that the Earth is by and large destroyed, but beyond that, nothing.

Finally, one of the times she's Awakened, she finds out where she is, and who's been watching her, and for quite a while, Lilith struggles with that knowledge.

The Oankali are an alien race, who have brought the remainder of humanity on board their ship to rescue them. However, the Oankali want something in return - they call it a trade. But is the price of the trade too high?

I have to say, I love sci-fi like this. It's high-concept, it has aliens, and it has a woman at the centre of it who is deeply flawed, very human and struggles with all of the demands the Oankali - and the coming Awakened humans - place on her.

Dawn is a deeply satisfying read and although I did find myself getting impatient with the way some of the humans acted, I thought their actions and reactions fit with the wider arc of the story.

The Oankali - who have three genders, male, female and ooloi, were fascinating. Completely alien in their appearance and in their reactions and it added a rich layer to the overall narrative.

I'm already eyeing book 2 on iBooks.



  1. I Found the humans so frustrating in this book.

  2. Heather, they were really frustrating but I kind of liked that. Loved the book.

  3. Everyone always loves Octavia Butler, and I loved the one book I read by her, but every time I see the plot synopses of her novels, I lose interest. And then I read reviews by people I really like, and they all recommend reading her, so I think I should just give her another go and ignore the plot synopses!

  4. Aarti, I definitely enjoyed it, very interesting reading!