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Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis #2)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,826 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews
In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear war, but the price they exact is a high one the aliens are compell ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1989 by Gollancz (first published 1988)
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Mel I think that despite the fact that they have no way of knowing if the humans will repeat their mistakes or be able to eliminate their problematic…moreI think that despite the fact that they have no way of knowing if the humans will repeat their mistakes or be able to eliminate their problematic gene's through mating, to me it seemed like she was saying that no group or species has the right to make that decision. It must be something earned by humans, or they destroy themselves, but it is no one else's choice to make. - That was my take on it, even though they already had that chance once, perhaps that would be enough to show them the severity of the problem.

I suppose I'll see in the next book!(less)
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Oct 06, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I find it oddly difficult to review an Octavia Butler book without filling it to the brim with cringe inducing sentimentality and hyperbole but I'll be damned if she doesn't make me all pensive and a touch maudlin every time I read her books. I get this feeling that her kindness and compassion always seep through her books and it makes me feel a little wistful that she is no longer with us.

Adulthood Rites is the second volume of the Lilith's Brood trilogy. In a nutshell it is the story of the la
Apr 21, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Apatt
This is a brilliant and mind-blowing apocalyptic tale published in 1988. Instead of a cataclysm like an epidemic or a meteor strike, the event that threatens human existence is a very unusual form of invasion by beneficent aliens after we have nearly done ourselves in.

Human warfare and devastation of the Earth nearly wiped out the species, and a superior starfaring race of aliens, the Oankali, have stepped in and preserved the human race. They keep enough in suspension on their ship so that when
Adulthood Rites: A human-Oankali child is torn between two species
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Adulthood Rites (1988) is the second book in Octavia Butler’s XENOGENESIS trilogy. It continues the story of Lilith in Dawn (1987), a human woman revived by the alien Oankali centuries after humanity has mostly destroyed itself with nuclear weapons. The Oankali offered humanity a second chance, but at a price — to merge its genes with the Oankali, who are ‘gene traders’ driven to continuously
Jul 15, 2011 Res rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Sequel to Dawn. The one where Akin, a human-looking child with a mix of human and oankali genes, is kidnapped and grows up among villages of human resisters.

This sequel focuses on the feelings of the humans who have chosen not to mix with or cooperate with the oankali, and so it's not surprising that its view of humanity is depressing as hell.

This re-read I noticed something that hadn't struck me the first time: The oankali don't have stories -- don't seem to understand why anyone would want th
Apr 23, 2015 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adulthood Ritestakes place several years after Dawn and shows life on new Earth as both humans and oankali have resettled some of the land and formed villages.

Thestoryfollows one of Lilith's sons, Akin, a human-oankali construct, as he grows to maturity. Akin is the first construct to be born to a human mother, and because he looks more human on the outside, he's easily accepted by other humans who have chosen to reject the oankali and the gene trade (from Dawn). Looks are deceiving though sinc
Lilia Ford
Jun 12, 2015 Lilia Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

With this volume, I thought Xenogenesis moved sharply in a more "speculative" direction. It had its interest, certainly, but the structure and narration consistently pulled the novel away from the more dramatic energies in the storytelling, towards the more conceptual. None of this was helped by having the main character and narrative POV, Akin, be an infant for roughly the first half--also those parts of the story that were most traditionally action-packed and "human" oriented. As we move to
Sep 19, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Adulthood Rites is the second volume of the Lilith's Brood trilogy. In the previous novel an alien species the Oankali rescued the last remaining humans after they had destroyed the Earth with war and pollution. The Oankali are a race who 'trade' genes with other species through matings involving a male and female of each species and a sexless being called an Ooloi who can select which genes to mix together to form a being with desired traits of both species. The Oankali have generated parts of ...more
Jun 05, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing continuation to the story started in Dawn. Though I was content with Dawn as a self-contained story it was fascinating to see how Butler expanded all of the concepts she'd put forward and looked at how different and mixed species would continue to interact over time. I enjoy Butler's quiet, meditative prose and her nuanced development of characters. The only major flaw was that this book really does feel incomplete - you really are going to have to read the next one to find out wha ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a sad, bleak and depressing continuation. And, yet, I cannot stop reading.

Seriously, could humanity get any worse? I love how Butler can take humans and expose their weaknesses so well. How utterly stupid, pointless, and unself-aware (is that a word?) do we (humans) look in this book? Really, it is saddening to think about. At first, as any person, I would deny that humans would act the way the resisters act in this book, and yet, the truthful part of me knows! I know, humans would act exac
Jun 23, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with the first book in this series, Butler creates a world that is both alien and familiar. Akin, the hero of the story, has a human mother and an Oankali father which makes him able to sympathize with both cultures. Unfortunately, he is too human to live among the aliens, but too alien to feel comfortable with the humans.

This book is compelling, but difficult to understand if you have not read the first book in the series. The names alone are a challenge. However, it is worth the effort. But
Scott Rhee
Apr 02, 2015 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The second book in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy, "Adulthood Rites," takes place years after the events of the first novel "Dawn", and it expounds more on the many social issues raised in the first book; namely issues of gender, sexuality, genetics, and humanocentrism.

In the first book, a peaceful alien race, the Oankali, has essentially saved humankind from extinction. Several hundred years after a global nuclear war has wiped out a majority of the world population and destroyed the pla
Oct 04, 2014 June rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience reading an Octaia Butler book. About halfway through, I realized I was reading a deeply personal statement of self-understanding and place in the world expressed in a unique and distinctive creative format.

I felt a kinship with this woman who knew she was different and not just on the outside. And, she knew the difference was scary to most people. She was smart. She asked questions. She wanted to do good in the world. Like the main character in this book, Akin, she mi
Jul 18, 2014 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Fun Fact: LeVar Burton says Octavia Butler is his favorite author.

That man has been telling me what book I should read next for 20 years. He has never been wrong.

Adulthood Rites didn't grab me as immediately as Dawn, probably because it was a lot harder for me to relate to Akin than to Lilith. However, the story is thicker and even more layered than its predecessor. It has themes of puberty, kinship, and the (in this case literal) story of the Phoenix, but it never oversteps itself. I read an in
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
I wavered between three and four stars for this one. I eventually decided on four because despite my annoyance with the constant talk of mating and the sexual function of the Oankali, I deeply admire the very fluid and ingenious way that Butler introduces her central issues and messages.
Much like Dawn, the first book in this series, we have been presented with moral and ethical dilemmas that do not have easy answers.
The Oankali have saved Earth and the few remaining inhabitants from a man made d
Jan 13, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of the Xenogenesis trilogy. Although each book could in theory be read alone, I cannot see anyone really understanding all of the issues and complexities without reading them all in sequence. As with the first book, this one leaves significant issues unresolved.

The problematic nature of the "deal" offered by the Oankali to the Humans becomes increasingly clear in this book, the story of Akin, the first male Human-Oankali construct born on Earth. This book further develops idea
Maggie K
Sep 17, 2014 Maggie K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy, Adulthood Rites visits with one of Lilith's children, Akin, the first human born male of the great genetic-trade experiment.

This book explores the issues raised in the first book regarding human right of reproduction: Just because humans are genetically doomed to render themselves extinct, does this make allowing them to reproduce moral or immoral?

Throughout the book, we see different scenes favoring both stances...

Philosophical themes can sometim
Dec 29, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adulthood Rites is the second in the Xenogenesis Trilogy. For me, it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first (Dawn). In Dawn, Butler, examined the relationship between slave and master in a way I found unique and interesting. In Adulthood Rites, Butler examines other topics. She asks if humans are destined to destroy themselves, if the very traits that allow humans to thrive may inevitably be their undoing. I wasn’t as interested in the questions that Butler took on in this second book.

As far as chara
Edward Rathke
Jul 03, 2015 Edward Rathke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book two of this trilogy is somehow unimaginably better than the first, which was already amazing.

Butler may be one of my new favorite writers. It's too bad she never put a lot of books out, so I may have to go through the rest of her books very slowly so as not to burn through everything she did too quick.

This novel picks up about thirty years after the first with humans and aliens settling on earth. Some humans refuse to have anything to do with the aliens. There are a lot of plot elements I c
Alan Baxter
Jan 26, 2016 Alan Baxter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely outstanding. Butler's ideas are incredible, her writing is beautiful, her storytelling compelling. And I've shelved this in horror too, because it is. Not only the horror of resisters trying to survive, but the true horror of the oankali slowly erasing humanity through assimilation. I don't know if it was intended as horror, but it truly is! And Akin's quest is the only ray of hope in it, though it seems doomed to failure. I'm diving straight into book three!
Alan Chen
Oct 12, 2015 Alan Chen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Lilith is now mother to children that is part human and part Oankali. Adulthood Rites is about the first male construct Akin. The humans that did not choose to join with the Oankali are prevented from breeding. They kidnap the construct children and hope to raise them as their own. When Akin is taken by one of these groups he learns about their plight and becomes the decisionmaker for their future. Will they be given back their right to breed? Describing Butler's writing is a study of cloying su ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
This book did not suffer much from being the middle of the series. After being somewhat disappointed that the main plot line no longer followed Lilith, as this book takes place 30 years later, but rather her son Akin, the first human born construct, I found this book to be filled with fast paced, page turning, fun. This book is very different in theme and in scope as it sets its focus on Akin. I really enjoyed where Octavia Butler took the series here but strangely found myself feeling a little ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books are unputdownable. I went straight from the first through the second and it's still utterly fantastic. If you are interested in hard sci-fi, apocalypse, post apocalypse, genetics, living on other planets, psychology or philosophy and human nature in general, you will be into these books. It covers that much more.

This book focuses less on lilith and more on one of her "construct" children, Akin. I won't say to much. It's better to just start the series. SO START THE SERIES ALREADY!!
Mal Warwick
Aug 18, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this worthy sequel to Dawn, the opening book in Octavia Butler’s much-admired Xenogenesis Trilogy, the focus shifts from Lilith Ayapo to her son Akin (“AH-keen”). The infant is a “construct,” the product of a Human mother and father, and the three other Ooankali individuals (male, female, and a third gender) who are necessary to bring Akin into the world. As a construct, Akin possesses many of the extraordinary powers of the alien species even though he looks very much like a Human: he begins ...more
I hadn’t expected to finish this book quite so early this evening, but the last 10% was a preview for the final book in the trilogy. I shouldn't have been surprised, because the table of contents did list it and there had also been a preview at the end of book one. I was just all wrapped up in the story and then suddenly I was at the end. In any case, I didn’t need the preview to decide I wanted to read the next book. I skipped the preview and downloaded the next book immediately!

I enjoyed this
Drew Mccutchen
Feb 09, 2016 Drew Mccutchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adulthood Rites picks up where Dawn left off with Butler poising fascinating question after question. I enjoyed this book almost as much as the first one. Its narrative is still tightly bound and moves at both a methodical and burstful speed. The complexity of the problems and thought experiments that Butler raises are so enjoyable to read and ponder. I think what I like most about this series so far is that no solutions or utopias are offered. There is no right decision or outcome. Everyone is ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Kamil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, s-f, 2016
Very good continuation of a very good series. I'd say the best stadium of xenophobia I've read in years. Gripping and addictive.
Feb 16, 2016 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, aliens, 1980s
Adulthood Rites follows Akin, the son of Lilith, and the Oankali. He is the first male born to a human female pairing with the aliens.

Akin is taken by the resistors when he is young. He is unable to bond with his new sibling, in the Oankali way, but he learns about the humans, and why they have such resistance to interbreeding with the Oankali.

This book still keeps the creepiness factor of Dawn. The tentacles, sensory arms, the Ooloi. That name alone just gives me the creeps, ugh! It took about
Oct 17, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adulthood Rites is book 2 of the Xenogenesis Trilogy (also known as Lilith's Brood). Book 1, Dawn, follows the story of Lilith, a human, who has been kept in some form of suspended animation for many years, then awakened by an alien race. Earth has been ravaged by years of war, and humanity is all but gone, save for the few that the alien race has rescued. It is their intention to restore humanity back to Earth as trading partners...the materials traded being of a genetic nature.

Dawn captivated
Reread: 7/13/15
After re-reading I think this book is probably the least enjoyable in the series. I still love it, but I really dislike the way Akin is treated and he seems so unhappy. He was like a sacrifice made for the mistakes of the oankali and humans. Butler seems to truly explore and present what being 'othered' really looks and feels like.

3/13/15 This book is the 2nd of the Xenogenesis trilogy, which I think was also republished as 3 books in one as Lilith's Brood.

This book, like the one
I liked this second book in the series much more than the first, Dawn. The survivor groups have been settled on Earth and those that choose to leave the aliens (the Oankali) are allowed to. However, they have been genetically modified so that they are sterile. The Oankali are convinced that humanity is genetically flawed and the species will always end by destroying itself.

The resister humans try to replicate the previous civilization as much as possible with no technology. However, the enforce
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Science Fiction A...: Xenogenesis 2: Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler 18 35 Oct 10, 2014 12:41PM  
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
More about Octavia E. Butler...

Other Books in the Series

Xenogenesis (3 books)
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)
  • Imago (Xenogenesis, #3)

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“Nothing. It just finds you a lot more attractive than it does most Humans. What can you do with a beautiful woman that you can’t do with an ugly one? Nothing. It’s just a matter of preference.” 11 likes
“The differences you perceive between Humans—between groups of Humans—are the result of isolation and inbreeding, mutation, and adaptation to different Earth environments” 7 likes
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