Wild Seed – Book Review
As with many of the books I read, I found Wild Seed randomly on Amazon and I’m glad I did! I had no idea what a prolific writer Octavia E. Butler was when I looked at the synopsis but I was intrigued and have found another author whose work I’m eager to dive into.
The synopsis of the book introduces Wild Seed as the story of two immortals that together “weave a pattern of destiny”. Doro is formless and kills others in order to inhabit their bodies. Anyanwu is an ageless healer and shapeshifter. That was enough to spark my interest, but when you add the fact that the book is told from an African point of view I couldn’t wait to read it.
As I said, I had no idea who Butler was prior to picking up this book, so I knew nothing about her novels or her writing style. I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to read. I assumed I would get a normal fantasy story filled with some sort of grand struggle between the two forces, but it was so much more. There is a struggle between Anyanwu and Doro to be sure, but it’s a struggle with loneliness and power and about trying to keep ones humanity while faced with an eternal life. Wild Seed explores the constructs of gender, sexuality, religion, sexism, slavery, and what it means to care for others.
At first, I didn’t understand why Anyanwu stayed with Doro for as long as she did. Then I sat back and really thought about their relationship. From their perspective, they would outlive every single person they ever met except each other. After realizing that, It made more sense and I was able to understand both their motivations much more clearly.
While Wild Seed is marked as “Patternmaker #1” on goodreads, I found out it was actually the fifth book written in the series after I finished it. I felt like I was missing something while reading it and now knowing that this was more of a prequel than a first installment makes more sense. I’m not sure if I’ll read them in order of publication going forward or chronological order but it’s nice to have the option.
Wild Seed is a fantastic exploration of the many different aspects of what makes us human. Butler does a phenomenal job at making her characters strong and vulnerable in such a deft way. I cannot wait to explore this world and her others in time. Wild Seed is a solid four out of five stars and comes with a high recommendation to read it yourself!
I’ve included an affiliate link so pick up a copy of the book and tell me what you think!