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Lilith's Brood (Xenogenesis #1-3)

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,397 Ratings  ·  609 Reviews
Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected -- by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny ...more
Paperback, 746 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1987)
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Nicole A I found the collection on the shelf at a local used book store. Have read others by Octavia Butler in the past. I've only read "Dawn" so far, but I…moreI found the collection on the shelf at a local used book store. Have read others by Octavia Butler in the past. I've only read "Dawn" so far, but I think it's my favourite of her books that I've read yet. I did also notice the jumps in time, but figured this was to prevent the story from becoming too long - even though I would have loved to read more inbetween.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Jan 21, 2016 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO, Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit

one thing became clear to me as I read this trilogy: Octavia Butler is not partial to the human kind. oh, humanity: violent, vengeful, and vicious; petty, pitiful, perpetually proud. avaricious and all too willing to prey on their own. as a fellow visitor to this planet, I can only view Butler's perspective as one that is in line with my own. and so this was quite an invigorating experience given the overab
Ben Babcock
This is one of the scariest books I have read in a long time. Good science fiction, good posthuman fiction, challenges the idea of what it means to be human. Octavia E. Butler goes beyond that, way beyond, challenging not just what human means but how open-minded I am to such challenges. This book blew my mind.

As a huge fan of science fiction, and as a relatively erudite person, I like to think that I have an open mind. I like to think that I'm receptive to the idea of drastically alternate huma
Jan 09, 2008 Lex rated it really liked it
Okay, so, how dare I give anything Octavia Butler wrote four stars instead of five? I think that if I read some of her later stuff first, I would have understood this narrative to be part of her growing process as a theorist/novelist. Being that it was my first book of hers to read, after hearing so much about her gay genius and feminist protagonists, I was really disappointed with her tendency to fall back on tired notions of femininity/masculinity, imperative to breed, and the alien third gend ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Eleven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scifi fans, anyone interested in human behavior, fans of a good story
I wouldn't normally define myself as a straight-up science fiction fan - in fact, I'm normally put off by techno fairy tales and scary alien stories. But I finally picked up Lilith's Brood after my father (who is something of a purist) bothered me enough. I was instantly intrigued.

It isn't just a post-apocalyptic novel... or an exploration of other worlds... or other races of beings, for that matter. No, Butler decided to use the aliens that have taken control of the dying human race in order
Oct 01, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
OK here is my review for Dawn: Read it or not. I discovered as I jumped strait into Adulthood Rites and finished it a day later that I was unable to write a review. I simply kept reading and into Imago I went. It was seamless. I am not sure why we have 3 different books. For me it read as a grand story. What an amazing beginning.Profound. It sets the whole tone. The middle. I still don't know what to say. I felt myself changing, becoming like the ooloi, ...more
Bree Cheese
Nov 27, 2015 Bree Cheese rated it it was amazing
Octavia Butler has a way of holding up a mirror to humanity and showing us everything that is ugly and perhaps shameful. I have read every book Ms. Butler has written and this was not my favorite of her books in my first read, but it is the one that has stuck with me the longest. This is the closest to straight up sci-fi that her books get, but it still remains human. The Xenogenesis series is so fascinating on both a cultural and an anthropological level, in the destruction of one world and the ...more
Sep 22, 2007 Owen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
this is the first science fiction book i have read since i was a teenager, and it was so good, i fell in love with octavia butler, and my interest in science fiction was rekindled.

when i started to develop a critical consciousness in college i found that i couldn't read my formerly favorite science fiction books, i.e. stranger in a strange land by robert heinlein, because while they could imagine amazing technological and magical futures where the human mind could overcome previous boundaries,
Nov 03, 2013 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My personal favorite sci-fi trilogy. I have reviewed the individual volumes separately:

- Dawn
- Adulthood Rites
- Imago

Mind blowing, thought provoking, thrilling stuff. (Plenty more hyperbole in the above mentioned reviews!)

One thing I particularly want to mention about the author is I love how she embraced the "science fiction author" label. Unlike some "literary" talented authors who prefer to avoid the sci-fi label she took pride in it. Certainly I agree that it is an author's prerogative how
Apr 19, 2008 John rated it really liked it
Lilith's Brood is actually three novels: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago, which have since been published in one volume. The basic story is this: humanity has virtually destroyed itself and the earth in a nuclear conflagration. Just after we've done so, a strange and powerful alien race called the Oankali arrive to save us. Sort of.

The Oankali are strange in a number of ways. They have horrifying snake-like sensory tentacles all over their bodies, they have three genders, and one of those ge
Feb 08, 2010 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Octavia Butler is playing with fire here - these books probe the deepest topics that fiction can explore, and drive straight to the heart of many of the most important issues humans deal with. Fortunately, she's up to the task, and indeed the entire first third of this series is an extravagant setup; while Dawn is somewhat frustrating to read, it is completely necessary. Were Butler to have plunged straight into the kind of things she writes about in Imago, it would have felt cheap and crass, bu ...more
Oct 25, 2007 Jess rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: best-evers
I read Dawn a few months ago, and while I liked it, I wasn't blown away. After I read Fledgling and was newly impressed with Butler's creativity and way with language, I decided to finish the series. It absorbed me for two days, and I ended up absolutely loving it. This series reminded me of Vonnegut without the humor--where he uses absurdity to make a point, Butler lets that same point seep into you a little at a time. These books are about perception, violence, independence, and most of all, w ...more
Nov 12, 2007 Elise rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Octavia Butler uses this book to explore what makes us human by taking humanity completely out of its known context and giving it a whole new one with fundamental restrictions and specifically chosen opportunities. This allows her to put humanity in high-relief, and I have to say a lot of what she says strikes a chord -- her definition of the Human Contradiction, for example, is spot-on. I think she does get a little bit heavy-handed -- I feel there's a little more gray scale to human behavior t ...more
Aug 27, 2010 Hazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Sterling; Butler died too soon.

This is thoughtful, intelligent science fiction, with interstellar travel, but nary a blaster in sight. I think I'd still consider this hard sci-fi. Butler must have done a great deal of research into genetics, biochemistry, and neurochemistry. She clearly knew a lot about human psychology too.

Her writing is spare, and tight, with few extraneous words/ descriptions. Nevertheless, the world and the experiences she describes are immediate and highly sensual. On this
It's been a few months since I read this, but I realized I'd not reviewed it and wanted to put in a few words.

I can't express to you how refreshing it was to read an African American female protagonist who didn't speak with urban slang, who wasn't worried about finding a man and, in general, didn't fit the tired stereotypes that a lot of modern authors (both White and Non-White) tend to force Black characters into.

Dawn starts off in an intentionally confusing and intense way. Lilith wakes up in
Nov 20, 2007 Blaire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is actually a trilogy: Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago. Ordinarily, I avoid trilogies because if I don't read them all at once I lose the thread and if I do read them all at once I'm bored by the end. I only give 5 stars to books that I think are something really out of the ordinary, and this is; not just for its genre (sci-fi), but for any fiction. I love being able to lose myself in a richly imagined world, and this book allowed me to do that. Ms. Butler's vision is expansive and at ...more
Emotonal Reads
Jun 01, 2014 Emotonal Reads rated it did not like it
I don't like rape or forced behavior in my books and what happened to these people is rape.
how is drugging and sexually abusing the humans helping them? it makes no sense, and it made it so that they could not stand the touch of their humans mate. they were not given a choice, it's sick.
Lilith forced it on her human mate, of course she was sexually active with three of the alien monsters. I would of cried no tears if she died.

I care not what anyone says, what happened to them was rape because th
Cleo Wilson
Mar 05, 2013 Cleo Wilson rated it it was amazing
I love Octavia Butler and this trilogy is the best. I was totally engaged with the characters and the story line. I actually feel disappointed that Imago, one of the trilogy, was her last.
Nov 12, 2015 AJ rated it it was amazing
I. Can't. Even. Pure brilliance
Dave Creek
Jan 15, 2015 Dave Creek rated it it was amazing
It's often been said that "the" question much science fiction seeks to answer is, "What does it mean to be human?" It's a question often examined through beings who are other than human, whether STAR TREK's Mr. Spock or Commander Data, or R. Daneel Olivaw of Isaac Asimov's Robot novels.

LILITH'S BROOD is an omnibus edition containing Octavia E. Butler's novels DAWN, ADULTHOOD RITES, and IMAGO. All three books take an unflinching look at how to define humanity and the decisions that follow from a
Jan 08, 2015 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.A. Parham
Aug 24, 2007 S.A. Parham rated it it was amazing
This series covers an Earth destroyed by mankind but salvaged by the Oankali, a space travelling species who specialize in genetic engineering. Dawn features the story of Lilith, one of the few humans saved by the Oankali, and her slow and reluctant conversion to their goals. Lilith's an interesting character, who never quite relinquishes her strong individuality despite her deep attachment to her Oankali mates. Adulthood Rites changes POV to Lilith's son Akim, who is a cross-breed of human-Oank ...more
Mar 05, 2008 Melanie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: Angela
i just finished the first book of the trilogy: so far, i'm loving it. it combines some of the elements i find most fascinating about science fiction: strange, new worlds, strong characters who have to make complex choices, interpersonal relationships and the development of new societies, psychological warfare, morality, questions of what makes us human, space travel... chock full of good stuff.

book 2 was also a good story, interesting, a compelling story about lileth's firstborn son, who's stole
Doug Hagler
Aug 07, 2007 Doug Hagler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Butler does not let up. She presents you with the alien, and then doesn't let you flinch or look away. She is quietly relentless, and the tension in her stories builds and builds...and doesn't explode, like the cliche, but subsides. Along the way, you get an excellent story presented through the kind of excellent and innovative ideas that mark superb SciFi.
Abbey Harlow
Jan 11, 2016 Abbey Harlow rated it it was amazing
Damn, this was good, and unlike anything I've ever read. Dealt with almost every social issue possible, and also with the questions of what it means to be human as well as questions of free will. Also just a really well written SFI-fi story. Have read "Kindred" and can't wait to read more.
Jul 22, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
I've come to "science fiction"/ speculative fiction late in life, and so am still catching up on the "classics" such as the Lilith's Brood trilogy. I had previously read Butler's "Kindred," which is still my favorite, but the Lilith's Brood books are complex and written with her trademark visual richness, easily transporting you to these future worlds while retaining a grounding in the world (with its issues of race, gender, class, environmental degradation, militarism, violence) from which she ...more
Mar 16, 2015 Kristy rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a really intriguing series that really delved into what it means to be human. Each book was distinctly different in both style and perspective. Somehow, in each book, the author excels at making the reader identify with the new narrator. In the first book, I was completely for Lillith and her rebellious attitude toward this seemingly presumptuous alien race. In the second book, I was persuaded to see things from the eyes of her spawn, the first so-called construct male. And th ...more
Anna Livingston
Mar 31, 2016 Anna Livingston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need to spend some time really considering the three books this omnibus edition comprises, because I had to plow through them more quickly than I'd like in order to return the e-book on time. There are so many concepts and themes to digest: the xenobiology; the plural, interspecies marriages; the consent issues inherent in relationships in which one of the central members creates a chemical bond between potential mates, and in which that bond allows this same member to determine what its mates ...more
Apr 04, 2007 Brook rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: serious geeks (not nerds)
Shelves: freaky-deaky
I tried and tried. When it got to the alien sex part, I couldn't handle it anymore.
Rachel Fellows
Jul 16, 2016 Rachel Fellows rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
What can I say? This trilogy is fabulous. Butler deserves her spot as an influential sci-fi writer. This omnibus, which features the books Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago, make up Lilith's Brood, or the Xenogenesis Saga.

The Lilith in the title is Lilith Iyapo, one of the humans kept in suspended animation after the human race finally does itself and Earth in with another world war. The Oankali, an alien race that thrives on genetic manipulation, has kept the last humans alive on their ship whil
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Feminist Science ...: Lilith's Brood by Octavia Butler (September 2015) 12 42 Oct 18, 2015 02:48PM  
Women in Science ...: Octavia Butler 1 6 Aug 16, 2013 12:46AM  
What if the Oankali captured you? 6 63 Jul 18, 2013 11:01PM  
Best science fiction I have read in years 17 65 May 15, 2013 09:05PM  
Book Bin Science ...: Dear Octavia Butler 1 17 Dec 29, 2012 08:12AM  
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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)
  • Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2)
  • Imago (Xenogenesis, #3)

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“We’re an adaptable species,” she said, refusing to be stopped, “but it’s wrong to inflict suffering just because your victim can endure it.” “Learn” 2 likes
“I wouldn’t want to give up being what I am,” I said. “I … I want to be ooloi. I really want it. And I wish I didn’t. How can I want to cause the family so much trouble?” “You want to be what you are. That’s healthy and right for you. What we do about it is our decision, our responsibility. Not yours.” I” 1 likes
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