Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Impressive. I definitely liked this second story in the trilogy better than the first. The other was very much a foundation, but while we really don't follow Lillith from the first, we do follow her hybrid son as he makes his way through an early difficult childhood and into his Adulthood Rite.
Akim is a victim as much as he is a bridge between the ignorant and dispirited humans brought down to Earth and the aliens who misunderstand our humanity. We're a paradox of hierarchical madness and intelligence and are doomed to always destroy ourselves, after all, and even tho the aliens give us free access to a good life, fixing any malady, and the opportunity to have children (with two humans and one alien in the mix), most humans resort to stealing half-breed children since we are unable to have normal children now, rape and raid other villages, and murder for the sport of it. Or out of the sheer desperation of resisting something that cannot be resisted.
Humanity is dead.
Akim finds empathy in a way that the aliens cannot.
Back in the late 80's, this might have sold as a grimdark dystopia but comparing it to today's fare, it really never gets THAT dark. Hope is pretty big.
I really appreciate the direction this book took. I kinda expected it to be a little whiny but it never really went there. Just adult situations, strong emotions, and in-depth exploration of the themes. Quite good.
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