Ian's Reviews > Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
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's review
Sep 03, 11

bookshelves: sci-fi, dystopia
Read in September, 2011

I've been told by just about everyone that I have to read this novel and it's such a masterpiece and so on, but in the end I couldn't quite get into it. There is a good premise and several good ideas, and it's interesting to see a dystopia where the world is still tumbling down and non a straight-out post-apocalyptic world, but most of the characters felt flat or rushed, and the story itself has an odd pacing, with the set-up for the "hero"'s journey taking up literally half of the book.
The made-up religion of the protagonist is also so generic and uninteresting that it didn't seem to need all the space and importance it is given. This is not to dis made-up religions in sci-fi, or an "I already have a belief so I can't get into hers" rebuttal: as an example, I loved the religious elements in Dune or the Myst/D'ni saga because they were complex. Earthseed is just poor.
I think Butler also couldn't find a balance between writing this story as a journal and the need for direct dialogue and a straighter narrative; it's hard to believe that the Lauren who introduces new characters as if we should already know who they are (I often thought my book was missing some pages) would spend so much time recording every single line of dialogue rather than summarizing it.
I must add I'm also not a great reader of the survival/dystopian genre. This book was bleak enough for me as it is and, after reading a synopsis of the sequel, I don't think I'm going to tackle that.

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