I can't with good heart give this less than four stars. I liked it as much as I liked A Handmaid's Tale and I don't think this is inferior to that. Th I can't with good heart give this less than four stars. I liked it as much as I liked A Handmaid's Tale and I don't think this is inferior to that. The writing style is about the same. The characterization is on par as well. As with A Handmaid's Tale, I suppose I'm rating it more for the premise and the message, and the fact that it was a classic that I was able to get through in one setting.
There was quite a bit of violence and gore, but I found the emotional environment to be a bit lacking. As with all of Butler's novels, she delivers on her premise, but the characterization is rather weak. Her prose, while minimalistic and descriptive, is somewhat dull at times. Also, as I make my way through her catalog, I'm noticing certain unsettling trends with the way she handles romance/rape/pedophilia.
That being said, she treats racial issues with a graceful hand without coming off as preachy or condescending. I'm surprised that I didn't read this book in high school. My first Butler novel was Dawn, which I read when I was ten.
While this isn't as good as Butler's other works, I feel like it deserves its place in literary canon. And, judging from some of the commentary I've seen on negative reviews, more schools need to teach it.