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Publisher's Summary

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.

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What listeners say about Adulthood Rites

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Different from Dawn but Still Amazing

First and foremost, people need to be aware that this is Akin's story, not Lillith's. I saw a lot of hate dishes out in the reviews just because of the perspective change, and personally I feel it's completely unwarranted.

This book went in a very unexpected direction and I think it really demonstrates the level of Butler's craftsmanship. If her first book captured the feeling and essence of what it is like to be a Black American, this one captures the feelings and essence of being biracial. And just like her first book she manages to do this so it never draws you out of the narrative and she never ever points fingers. She merely uses the story to deliver the raw emotion of the experience and leaves it up to her audience to interpret it. And honestly, anyone but a callous sociopath, will walk away from this book changed.

I'm not sure I understand the reviews that said this was slow and boring. I felt it was paces somewhat similarly to the first book. Just, like Lillith, Akin enters a dangerous world he doesn't understand and must cope with the realities presented to him without losing his mind or soul in the process.

I think this book may upset some people who liked the first book because it's a less subtle affair. The violence and actions taken are more direct. The dialogue is more hostile, more "masculine".

But at the end of the day it's not bad, it's just different from Dawn and in that sense I feel like this is a great book. Butler could have done more of the same but instead she explored more themes while advancing the plot for the whole trilogy and tied up several personal arcs nicely. There isn't a single bad thing I can say about this book. It's a near pitch perfect sequel. It may or may not be your cup of tea. But if you're open minded enough and you really enjoyed the first book then you will probably like this one too.

6 people found this helpful

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Addictive

I listened to the first book in this series and was so caught up in the story that I began this one almost immediately after finishing it. I'm still just as enthralled with the story after finishing this book. I've already gotten the final book and will begin it as soon as possible.
The story is addictive and the narration is excellent. I could easily tell who was speaking at any given time.
I recommend this title to anyone who enjoys a great story! I think you will understand it more, however, if you listen to Xenogenesis Book 1 first.

5 people found this helpful

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Great second part, Can't wait to finish the series

Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

First impression

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.

Final thoughts

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.

5 people found this helpful

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Very strange

I enjoyed the first book of the series. This book is completely different with a new main character. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first. It’s just way too weird and difficult to relate to any of the characters in any meaningful way (for me)
I will be listening to the next in the series because once I start a series I can’t stand not seeing it through, hopefully I will enjoy the next book more. The narrator does an excellent job.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Human Beings on Trial!

This second book in the series is even better than the first. The complexity of humanity is examined by an alien species who rescue mankind from extinction, only to be mistrusted and feared because they look so different. The flexibility of gender toles are amazingly current given the time this was written. As usual Ms. Butler explores topics of The Other, Racism, Empathy and Compassion through the lens of far out Eco-Sci Fi. I will definitely continue to the next book.

2 people found this helpful

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Better than the first

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.

4 people found this helpful

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A MASTERPIECE

Not a word out of place. A compelling story of kindness and humanity. I wish I read this earlier in life. The best book in the genre. It should be on everyone's reading list.

1 person found this helpful

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I can't stop listening to Octavia Butter's writing

Octavia Butter continues to amaze and engage me with the most interesting world's and characters. She has such a deep understanding of humanity, and can right characters that are so alien yet so human.

1 person found this helpful

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A wonderful continuation

This story steers away from Lilith and focuses on her first son, and first human-born male.
We follow his journey from being another oankali/human construct infant to adulthood. The conflict between his humanity and oankali natures are illustrated in unique ways that surprised me and kept me listening the whole way through in almost one go! I was sad when our time with him ended.
The narrator does an exceptional job all the characters and their subtle, yet identifiable, differences.

1 person found this helpful

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I'd listen to this again

I like the originality of the story and I will actually listen to this again. It was confusing for me at first, and I think it deserves a second listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Heisenberg
  • 10-28-19

Really enjoying this wonderful series.

Very enjoyable, intelligent, science fiction, well written and perfectly narrated. Have already downloaded the third in this wonderful series, and shall be listening to more from Octavia Butler.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Strayficshion
  • 10-19-19

See reviews of Books 1&3

I noted after reading the first book in this series that I'd been impressed enough to order the next two and so, while I wrote a preliminary review of the first book, the review of the whole would need to wait. If you're interested, that's attached to Book 3: Imago. They all merited 5*s from me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-01-19

Thoroughly enjoyable

Couldn't stop listening. The series is a captivating warning to humanity. Challenges preconceived ideas of gender. And offers a non confrontational storyline through the experiences of aliens and humans. Excellently read. Very soothing to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Minchin
  • 04-07-18

Great concept, over emotional.

A worthwhile read, yet found the inspired concept to be brought down by too much emotional angst and indulgence on relational reflection.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michela
  • 04-05-21

The beginning of change with a new generation

The first human-looking child, still an alien-human construct, is the protagonist of this novel, second of the Xenogenesys series. Early in his childhood he is abducted and soon adopted by a group of humans who rejected the alien proposition of "trading", their collaboration and their help, and chose to live in separate all-human communities. He learns much more about humans than his first environment could have shown him, and teaches the humans willing to learn so much about aliens and constructs. He will also soon learn that his years away from home were not entirely chance, and he develops a new purpose and conviction, that humans should be given the chance to rebuild their civilization as they please, separated from the aliens, even if it means starting over on a different world. An engaging and brilliant story, providing food for thought as well as emotions and entertainment.