- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 12 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: January 30, 2014
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00I58L4YU
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis, Book 2 Audiobook – Unabridged
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This second volume picks up a few decades later. Humans and aliens have been interbreeding (aliens have three "sexes," and reproduction is complicated--which is one of the really cool things about this series--it eliminates in a very believable way the gender binary) and a few "constructs" have reached maturity. We begin with one of those constructs, in the womb of their human mother. The construct has the alien ability to remember everything, but can (mostly) "pass" as human. As the construct grows, they mingle with humans--many of who have refused to mingle with the aliens, and ran off to form villages of "resisters."
My only reservation is that the story drags, especially compared to the first volume of the trilogy. Too much of the construct kid wandering around, not really doing anything interesting, while it learns about humans, and we learn more about aliens. But the story picks up in the second half, and I tore through the rest of the book.
Looking forward to volume three.
Even more than the original novel, this story told from the point of view of Lilith's son, Akin, reveals the underlying self-centered hedonism upon which Ounkali paternalism is founded. Perhaps it takes an Ounkali to see them as they really are - and a human understanding to grasp the extent of the damage that their smugness and condescension have wreaked upon the remnant of humankind, whether resistor or "trader."
The irony of a restored Earth where individual choice is illusory, since humanity's destruction is assured and each survivor's physical being is literally the eternal property of an alien will, is given greater depth by what Akin learns - not only humanity but the Earth itself will be cast aside like trash when the Ounkali have extracted from it all that they desire.
Even without this knowledge, Lilith and other accomodators ("traders") must live with and manage bitterness and grief as best they can, for the sake of family and children. One senses that it is not the five-way trisexual matings or their hybrid children they resent, but the fact that sterility is their only other option. Loving their Ounkali kin, and not daring to acknowledge their condition, they nonetheless hate their enslavement.
If "intelligent hierarchicalism" is indeed the fatal flaw of humanity (doubtful), the fatal flaw of the Ounkali is their unquestioning presumption of superiority. They do not listen, and so they cannot learn.
Come to think of it, that's the true fatal flaw of humankind as well.