“Kindred” Review


Octavia Butler

Publisher: Doubleday

Copyright 1979

It took me a while to Kindred. I had to return it to the library then re-check it out, but I’m glad that I decided to finish Kindred. There are a couple of aspects to the story that I would like to share with you that I did and didn’t enjoy.

Dana is my favorite character. She has a strong spirit of survival and adaptation that I find easily believable in someone from the background that she is given by Butler. Not just any character can do what Butler put them through. The character must already be strong of will and self understanding. The fact that Dana is also reflective of her environment and its effect on her is key to her survival. Her ability to methodically evaluate each occurrence and how it affects her and the possible ways she can prevent it from happening made her character easy to route for.

I was really looking forward to a confrontation between Dana and Rufus about their blood relationship. I mean come on it was the precipitating event that caused this whole story.  Would it have changed how he treated her? Would it have stopped him pulling her through time? But even more importantly, would it have changed him to know what his interracial children would grow up to be like? For the last 100 pages, I was looking forward to that clash, but alas no such luck. The characters part ways never knowing what may have been.

Overall, I liked Kindred. It is a well written story with complex characters, a straight forward plot, and detailed setting. It was difficult to pick which character I liked the most because Butler develops each character. Since the story follows the characters throughout their life you watch them grow and experience the highs and lows with them. On top of that the plot didn’t get complicated or provide any leaps or twists that would have been unnecessary and distracting. Instead the story relied on the characters interactions with each other to provide the tension.  The setting was described in detailed and how it was included in the story that it surrounded me when I read it.

One of my favorite science fiction elements is time travel, I mean really what’s not to like? You don’t have to worry about the story getting technical or bogged down in science. Butler doesn’t try to explain how time travel works or create rules for. There is a reference made to rules in other movies but that is brief not even a whole page. I appreciate that. I also like the time distance between Rufus and Dana, there was enough time that it was impossible for any characters or actions to overlap.

I highly recommend Kindred.


One Comment to ““Kindred” Review”

  1. Kindred was a mind blowing ride for me. This book was one of my favorites of all time and I highly recommend it as well.

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