Tuesday 15 April 2014

Kindred by Octavia Butler


Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


Wow! This was really good and so cleverly done and intelligently thought out. 

I loved the concept of Kindred, of Dana going back in time to make sure that the right history of events still unfolded. Octavia still kept to the facts of history, however harrowing and it really got me thinking, which I didn't think it would when I first started. What if you were in Dana's position and you were transported back to 19th century Maryland, where slavery was rife and their masters at their cruelest. What if the freedom you knew now was taken away. Would you rise up against it and get them to stop, or would you get used to it? Adapt and accept it as what happened at that time? 

Even though this is written in the fantasy genre, it did not feel like a fantasy novel as we spend so much time in Maryland and get to know what happened during that time. It is more like historical fiction, but I think it is written like it is  so that the today reader can experience what it would be like to go back to that time. This is why Kindred stands out so much and makes it so different to any other book I have read.

I could feel myself getting really angry whilst reading this at the treatment the slaves received; treated like they were lesser humans. It made it all the more difficult to read as these things actually happened and it really made me feel a hatred towards humans of that time. It also made me incredibly upset at what happened during that time and how the whites had so much control over the African American's lives. 

Octavia wrote in such a way that every time Dana found herself back in 19th century Maryland, I felt like I had gone back with her and felt the same anxiety and fear of what would happen on that visit as she did. I was completely and emotionally swept along with Kindred and it has actually made me look at things in a different light. The things we complain about or annoy us today, are absolutely nothing compared to the lives of the 19th century slaves.

This is the first novel I have read from Octavia and it certainly won't be the last.


Kindred is available from Amazon UK and Waterstones


  1. I got this from Bookbridgr. I was so intrigued not only by the fantasy aspect but by the concept of being a person of colour when it was one of the worse times to be one.

    I am gonna start this one next and I am glad you liked this so much. I looked in the back of the book and she has a lot more books out and an average of 4.6 stars on goodreads. If I like this one I am gonna get the rest of her books!

    I am glad you liked this so much and thanks for sharing!! :)

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

  2. 5 stars! Yeah! So glad you enjoyed this one Laura! Definitely adding it to my TBR list! :D Thanks so much for sharing, and, as always, brilliant review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf