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Showing 1-10 of 131 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 224 reviews
on January 30, 2016
Unfortunately Sower set the bar so high it was almost impossible to match or surpass it. Butler continued to use the device of telling the story through journal entries and, in this book, an alternating first-person that expands the ability to provide context immensely. I was frustrated with the ending as it felt incomplete. This is possibly due to the fact that Butler was supposedly working on a third book or possibly just true to her vision of the story. In the end it does not take away from the fact that Butler is an objectively good writer and one of the most groundbreaking women of color authors in the Science-Fiction genre. Subjectively she a superb author and I learn from and enjoy every work of hers I encounter even if they are not OMG-my-favorite.
Butler is worth reading. Every time.
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on December 29, 2016
This book feels deeply prophetic. Often uncomfortably so. The writing is clear and straightforward. Not the most elegant prose, but it doesn't need to be because the plot is so gripping and the ideas so provocative. An important book especially today.
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on December 17, 2016
I wish I had discovered Butler years ago - I read a lot of science fiction but somehow she escaped me. Reading this book during the current Donald Trump campaign made it seem really prophetic, since it deals a lot with the effects of certain religio-political beliefs on people of varying races in an era of changing values. Now I've got to catch up with years of her writing that I somehow missed for so long.
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on August 18, 2017
I found the book very interesting. I kept finding myself comparing to today's (2017) problems. I have a son who lives in Humboldt county and for that reason the area for most of the story felt more familiar.
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on January 20, 2016
After reading Parable of the Sower I was expecting a different book. I think it was because of those expectations that it took me much longer to finish this one than it did the first. (Possibly because I stopped liking the lead character.) May not have been the sequel I wanted but given all that is going on the in the world today the plot line was definitely food for thought.
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on March 12, 2017
Along with "Parable of the Sower" these two books are a scary reflection of our current existence and where we could be headed if we don't pay attention. So good. So very good.
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on August 16, 2013
I love Parable series! I actually got a tattoo related to the series because that's how much I was enamored with the title character, Lauren. This book follows her as she is trying set up/found her group while also trying to remain safe from...well, everyone else! In this book you have traveling junkie bandits, cannibals, and religious nuts galore. Lauren's group is the safe middle-ground that people are wanting and needing. So, of course, everything goes pear-shaped and Lauren must ask herself what she is willing to give up in order to survive.

The novel takes place "twenty minute into the future," so one doesn't have to hand wave anything. A lot of the social and religious issues that are front and center in the novel, are also present today. So, I really liked how Ms. Butler took those issues and naturally progressed them as the economy of the book's US continued to nosedive. I also liked the duel perspectives the novel uses to progress the story. You're not only hearing about Lauren's life, but you're also hearing from her daughter. The reader gets to hear Lauren's child speak about the impact her mother's choices had on her.
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on January 9, 2010
I'm a big Octavia Butler fan, and consider her one of the most original and necessary SF writers of the past thirty or forty years. This novel, which really should be read after "Parable of the Sower" for maximum benefit, is nonetheless a hard book to get through in many ways. Without spoiling any specific details of the plot, let me simply say that it's a very upsetting story on a number of levels. Not hopeless -- while often unflinchingly grim, Butler doesn't write about people with no hope, but about pragmatic survivors -- but definitely bleak, as in Cormac-McCarthy-saying-whoa-lady-that's-a-bit-dark-isn't-it bleak.

Nonetheless, as a chronicle of the challenges would-be prophets and their fledgling religions face during hard times, or simply as a cautionary object lesson in the ways entrenched elites move to protect their power, "Talents" is probably exactly as cruelly honest as it needs to be. I heard Butler speak once, and she commented that in her opinion the problem with human beings is that we're both intelligent and driven by a hierarchical mentality -- but that hierarchy was a much, much older trait. I've been turning that insight over in my head for seven years now, and it remains one of the more useful things I've ever heard someone say.

If that idea provokes you too, and if you want to read a story exploring whether or not human beings can bring intelligence to bear without letting the struggle for dominance corrupt its fruits, then "Parable of the Talents" will challenge and engage you. I recommend it strongly, but not for days when you're already feeling depressed or misanthropic.

(Finally, it's also worth bearing in mind that Butler apparently had a third book in this sequence planned before she died, "Parable of the Trickster," and that "Talents"'s darkness may well stem from the fact that, while a complete narrative in its own right, it was intended as the second act in a three-act story structure.)
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on March 22, 2017
I'm not into Science Fiction ,but this story is so real and believable just like events happening in this world today.
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on May 23, 2017
As prescient as Orwell. A stunning cautionary tale of social collapse, a worthy read in these unstable times. A must read.
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