Reviews

Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series by Octavia E. Butler

satedbuffalo's review

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

4.5

mfraise05's review against another edition

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3.0

Hmmmmm... I rounded up to 4 stars; of the 4 novels included in this anthology I gave two of them 4 stars and two of them 3, so that makes an even 3.5 for the whole. I can see why people preferred the series in the order they were published instead of their chronological order. I think if I read them in their published order I may have had a better feeling about them.
The novels are well written but the world they describe is violent and steeped in hierarchies of strength and slavery. It was certainly dystopic (is that a word? Lol) and I wish there was something redeemable about either the people or the society but there isn't. People without telepathic abilities will continue to be slaves to those with them while clayarks wage war against everyone not infected with the alien disease and no one seemed interested in going against this paradigm.
I think I just talked myself down to 3 stars. It's a grim world Butler created here and she didn't give us anything to hope for.

carrie_hanson's review against another edition

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

5.0

mimib4's review

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

4.0

Not as good as her other works, repetitive in an annoying way.  Not sorry I read the series, but I think I would rather have spent the time rereading The Parable series.   

luvandkiwi's review against another edition

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3.0

I loved Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind but didn’t really dig the last two novels.

Still the queen!

hoppma's review

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Completed first book. Holding here until ready for book 2. 

montigneyrules's review against another edition

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2.0

#readingchallenge2023 (my book by Octavia Butler)

Butler’s writing so well encompasses deep themes of identity, such as: slavery, liberation, freedom, resistance, culture, and more; using a sci-fi lens w.complex world building to highlight allegories within the themes from society.

The writing style was heavier, with a dark brutalness-

Within the first two installments, I did find the characters interesting- though not much happened in terms of a specific plotline-their push & pull dialogue focused on the perils of their relationship was a lot to digest-again with a dark brutalness

When it came to the third and fourth installments, I initially was a bit relieved to ‘take a step away’ from the earlier character’s heaviness, though my interest quickly faded as the stories were far less engaging.

I found myself completely skimming the fourth installment, bored with the thinner plot, and far less interesting characters.

I appreciate the depth the author was able to present- the issues she addresses throughout the novel’s themes, and the honest brutalness in which she writes creatively-She evokes a lot of emotion- though overall, I wasn’t really engrossed in the stories.

lacy30twin1's review against another edition

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4.0

Compiling the four books may have cause more harm than good. The books, individually, could've stood on there own although some were better than others. I agree with other commentors that the books should be read in order of publication instead of by the timeline of the story. After starting out so strong g with Wild Seed, Mind of my mind was disappointing. It bordered on boring, in comparison to Wild Seed. The last story, Patternmaster, was more entertaining than I expected but still left me with some questions like, what about the war with the Clayarks? How does that get quelled? What happened to the other people with special abilities that weren't telepaths? They initially weren't apart of the pattern.

These are all very good books with interesting story lines. Some storylines are executed better than others but still worthy reads. As a compilation here is how I rated the individual books:

1. Wild Seed
2. Patternmaster
3. Clay's Ark
4. Mind of my mind

adam_double_u's review against another edition

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4.0

This is very much on me as I did not do my research, but I would have enjoyed reading these in the order actually published instead of the in-world chronological order they're presented in this collection.

As soon as I saw the publication order on these it made perfect sense as you could watch Butler evolve from the first novel she ever published to the final novel's dark & brutal dystopia (not coincidentally my favorite of the 4). I would also LOVE to read the "lost" novel she asked not be republished (Survivor) that would fall directly in the middle of the chronology here.

My complaints are still minor as it's still fascinating to read them chronologically and see this story & world unfold through a different kind of novel each time, each fitting the kind of story it's telling very well.

peachani's review

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

3.0

Wild Seed is by far my favorite in the series. I also think it's the best written of the bunch, but I admit that my unfamiliarity/unease with what I'd call more typical science fiction colors my feelings toward Patternmaster. Mind of My Mind 's ending was my favorite part of that book, but overall it laid the foundation for understanding what the Patternists would be like (that is, they suck). Clay's Ark is... depressing and I thought about skipping it. It's just a lot in a series that is a lot. I could see myself rereading Wild Seed, but I am happy to put this series behind me.

I really wrestled with trying to understand why this series tackles incest and what Butler was trying to say. I sought out articles and blog posts. I can't say I fully understand, but I guess that a species' evolution could take twists and turns one could never predict or want to imagine. I would really like to see a survivor's take on this in sci-fi.

On another note, I appreciated the way these novels made me think about personal control and fighting against or giving into "nature."

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