Reviews tagging Slavery

Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler

286 reviews

uyeb's review

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

this book is such a complicated thing to give a rating to, especially since i read it for school, but i will say what i do know: this is amazing. it’s powerful, and painful, and disturbing in the very specific way of knowing that this is effectively a true story (just with a little time travel). it’s also written incredibly- i annotated it for ‘powerful language’ in pink for school because we’re supposed to and every page has at least one underline or highlight or comment in pink if not five of them. basically i mean octavia butler has a very amazing writing style. there were a lot of times i just had to put the book down and sit there. the time travel is also great (? that word doesn’t really apply here ever but i just mean it’s cool as a concept and how it’s used) but my favorite thing is the codependent and complicated nature of dana and rufus’s relationship. i neither have good words to describe it nor do i want to add spoilers but i think that dynamic morbidly fascinating and brilliantly written. i don’t really have a lot of coherent thoughts about everything else but just know it’s perfectly done. i don’t think i would’ve read this book if not for school but i really am glad i did. if this is any indicator of how ap lit is gonna be then i’m excited. top tier of school books if not the best one so far. 

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booksandchocaholic's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

 I want to start out by saying that Octavia E Butler is a phenomenal author and is generally underappreciated in terms of both her incredible books and her contributions to the genre as a whole. This book is a literary science fiction novel and it fully embraces both genres excellently. We are following Dana, a Black author in the 1970's as she is repeatedly taken back in time to save the life of her ancestor, a white slaver in the 1800's. This book tackles of course race, morality, gender roles and everything I have come to expect from Butler and in her usual style it does so in a way that allows the reader to think and feel. Butler does not tell you what to think, there is no lecture in her stories, she allows you to draw your own conclusions which I think is an excellent way to convey a message. I also found her characters to be very believable and nuanced which in a story depicting such harrowing times in history it was quintessential to my investment in the novel. Overall, I have nothing but praise for this author and fully intend to read through her bibliography. 

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hannahdavis0203's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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pajamaliv's review

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challenging dark sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated

4.0

Woof. 

That's all I gotta say.

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anjalirenee's review

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challenging dark informative tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

dana and kevin >_< love is real 

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niya_nikolova's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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marthadude's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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voela321's review

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dark emotional informative sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This book—intriguing and horrifying. A Black woman in 1976 is transported to the 1800s South. She is there to save the life of an ancestor and is repeatedly brought back time and again. She is forced to experience and witness life as an enslaved person over and over. In the end she returns but is unable to return intact after the experience. Thoughtful, artistic and terrifying all at once. 

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birdy_books's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25


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rlgreen91's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

 This was a book that I wrestled with. Each time I picked it up, I had this feeling of wanting to and actually enjoying it that warred with this feeling of how heavy the truths it laid bare are.

I'm sure there are tons of literature out there about this novel and the idea of power, and what it means to have power over another person, and how that intersects with the racial hierarchies of the U.S. I'm also sure that there is a lot of literature about this novel and what it means to love someone, and how that works or doesn't in terms of power dynamics. I think the parallel Butler drew between Rufus and Kevin was an insightful critique of how our view of marriage is subject to the same feelings of love as possession and ownership, regardless of whether the characters believe they are equal.

I do want to say that I think this novel, along with Toni Morrison's A Mercy, does a great job of showing how a person is influenced by their culture, and that since a society is set up to incentivize certain behaviors, how difficult it is to get a single person to act in a different way. Rufus Weylin, like Morrison's Jacob Vaark, is a man of his time, who reconciles himself to the practices of his time, even if there's some initial resistance. But, we also see them take the occasional action that goes outside of what the society and culture of the time dictate. That doesn't necessarily mean that he should be absolved of his cruel actions - and is beside the point. Similarly, Weylin's departure from how other slaveowners act, including his own father, isn't enough on its own to dismantle the whole system of slavery. But those departures make a difference in someone's life - notably Hagar's, and Dana's, although for good or bad it's hard to say. 

One other thing I liked about this novel was a bit of truth-telling, when Dana forced Rufus to confront that he was responsible for what happened to Alice. It reminds me of Butler's short story "Bloodchild", when Gan is honest about what it would mean to volunteer his sister for what has up to that point been his destiny. I noted this in my review of that collection, but it's refreshing to see characters be honest with themselves about what the choices they make say about what and who they value. It's something I wish we'd engage in more in real life, honestly, so I'll always appreciate a moment like that in a novel.

Overall, this was a solid 4.5 stars. On to the Parables. 

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