In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear war, but the price they exact is a high one the aliens are compelled to genetically merge their species with other races, drastically altering both in the process. On a rehabilitated Earth, this "new" race is emerging through human/Oankali/Ooloi mating, but there are also "pure" humans who choose to resist the aliens and the salvation they offer. These resisters are sterilized by the Ooloi so that they cannot reproduce the genetic defect that drives humanity to destroy itself, but otherwise they are left alone (unless they become violent). When the resisters kidnap young Akin, the Oankali choose to leave the child with his captors, for he the most "human" of the Oankali children will decide whether the resisters should be given back their fertility and freedom, even though they will only destroy themselves again.
This is the second volume in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series, a powerful tale of alien existence.
©1988 Octavia E. Butler (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
Adulthood Rites is the second book in a trilogy. After a devastating world war, an alien race has come to earth. The aliens completely dominated the world. The aliens are genetic masters that use genetic manipulation as their main technology. The aliens have come to absorb all the resources of the earth, including the genetic information before moving on to their next conquest. As part of their conquest all humans have been sterilized and only those humans that are willing to breed with the aliens are allowed to have children.
The main character in this story is Akin, the first human/alien male construct. As an infant he is stolen by rogue humans who want children. After he is recovered, he continues to explore the rogue human’s world. Over time he develops an understanding of his human and alien sides and finds his calling.
I think this is a much better book than the first in the trilogy. Butler is always concerned with concepts of oppression and community and independence. Part of what she is exploring here is the human propensity toward violence. There is oddly a very paternalistic (not quite utopian, but in that direction) bent to this series. The aliens have real limits, but their intent is to change humans for their own good in a way that the humans do not necessarily want.
Akin has the ability to reach between the alien and human societies to understand both. His alienation from being not fully a part of either society is what drives his understanding. It is hard not to psychoanalyze Butler as I read her. As a female, black, maybe gay (or bisexual) science fiction author, I have to work to let the words speak for themselves without reducing everything to parallels with modern sexual, racial, political or social issues. At the same time, she is writing about those issues and I do not want to ignore that either.
Read these books in order- they build on each other very nicely. The whole serious is a fascinating look at human and alien interactions. The only drawback is that the rigid gender roles of the humans feel very dated. When pregnancy and child rearing are taken out of the equation, it makes little sense for the men to be the only hunters, etc. Those things would have to be handled differently in a modern book. Still, it's a very interesting read, and i enjoyed it a lot.
Book 1 chronicled the downfall of humanity and its emergence as an hybrid altered species by an invading matriarchal alien species; along with the remaining non-altered humans resistance toward the new hybrids and their alien captors. This was a rather different take on alien abduction and along with the excellent writing skills of the author along with an equally good narrator.
However, what I had hoped for in Book 2 was for humanity to resist the alien DNA meddling and to begin taking back our species' destiny. Regrettably, the book continued to focus on hybrid lifestyle of the alien species and the matriarchal aspects of raising newborn hybrids. I was unable to get past a quarter of the novel before deciding to give up on it. This despite the continued superb writing and narration.
If I had to sum it up in one word it would be "Boring".
Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books
After I finished Dawn I knew I had to continue the trilogy. The world that Butler built in for this story is full of complicated, rich characters, both human an alien. Xenogenesis explores the union or fusion of these two groups through the main character Akin, the first human-Oankali male construct. Butler continues to explore human nature, a contradiction in itself, this time seen from the eyes of someone that is not fully human, nor fully alien.
Butler touches so many subject in such a swift, seamless manner that you don't realize you are thinking about social issues until you put the book (or headphones in my case) down and have this feeling of "wow"
Lillith takes a secondary role in this installment; as I mentioned it is Akin who takes center stage trying to merge the two points of view: a very guttural, visceral one coming from his human side and partners, and a more logical, cold one from this Oankali side. He represents, to me at least, the struggles a lot of immigrant kids have during their life time, Of course, Akin's struggle and his definitions will affect the future of what is left from humanity and the future of the trade.
Racism is also a constant subject so far in this trilogy; while Dawn dealt a bit more with sexism, in this case I felt this point was left aside, but not ignored. The rage against Lillith, the prejudices against her and whatever might come through her is still present, not only with those who actually met her, but her "legend" has grown, to a point that there is even talk of her being possessed. That said most of the women present in the rebel camps are delegated to secondary roles all the time and most of the men turn to "macho" behavior.
Seeing Akin grow, not only physically but in his mind was so interesting. The approach of him being a teenager in both communities puts him in multiple situations where he was feeling frustrated and has to learn not only to be an adult but to express as one and be able to share and convince his piers of the changes he is bringing.
I think that doing this trilogy in audio has given me the opportunity to identify the different Oankalis better and to sort of pin point their personalities; I've read several reviews mentioning that it is hard to differentiate between them.
From a biologist point of view I think the concept of trade, the way the Oankali see it, is fascinating. The concept is mostly explained on the first book, but is always present during Adulthood Rites.
I would totally recommend this series so far to anyone who loves SciFi and society construction.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Adulthood Rites is the second volume of the Lilith's Brood trilogy. In the previous novel an alien species the Oankali rescued the last remaining humans after they had destroyed the Earth with war and pollution. The Oankali are a race who 'trade' genes with other species through mating's involving a male and female of each species and a sexless being called an Ooloi who can select which genes to mix together to form a being with desired traits of both species. The Oankali have generated parts of earth and returned colonies of humans willing to trade genes with them. Lilith Iyapo is now living back on Earth with her blended family and several hybrid children including Akin, a human looking male baby, who is already very intelligent and advanced for his age. Akin is kidnapped by a group of men who refuse to be involved in the the breeding program. The Oankali have allowed such people called 'resisters' to live on Earth but have prolonged their lives, freed them of disease and sterilised them so they cannot breed. Human looking children are therefore highly prized in the mistaken belief that they may be able to breed and perpetuate the human communities. Akin is sold to a resister village and spend a year with them before being rescued by the Oankali.
Akin develops some sympathy for the resisters and wants the Oankali to give them a future with human children of their own. The Oankali are very resistant to this idea and believe that because of their hierarchical nature, the humans will simply destroy any future societies they are allowed to build.
This is an interesting book that fleshes out the vision the Oankali have for the remnants of the human species - those who can accept having unusual sexual bonding of aliens and humans and the hybrid 'construct' children produced by such unions and those who will have no part of it but are doomed to die without being able to create a new generation. It also raises the question of what it is to be human and whether man will ever be able to quell his hierarchical and competitive instincts to live in a world without violence.
Aldrich Barrett was fantastic with the delivery of the story
I enjoyed this like heck the narrator is excellent as well. great subtle double commentary about our social flaws. butler is so dope.
was way better in the beginning than the end but all around this was a solid work. Again not as good as Wild Seed but I'm starting to think nothing can ever match up. Maybe it's just not possible?
Anyways I would definitely recommend this book.
This includes the beginning of the third installment which seems to be written in first person point of view. I'm hoping that this isn't the case because it's my least liked style and the shift from third person to first would really annoy me.
Shiloh Bound Doc! University of Iowa graduate. Iowa Writer's Workshop fan. Hawkeye Fan! Believer. Husband. Father. Physician.
After the first book I waited a month to eventually come back and try book two. I don't plan to listen to book three.
Two stars is "not so good."
Three stars is OK.
Four stars is good.
Five stars is excellent.
Some interesting aspects lead into confused, slow paced fatiguing passages that simply reinforced my impressions from book one that this series, while intriguing on some level, was not rich enough in coherent content or style to keep my interest.
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