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Lilith's Brood

(Xenogenesis #1-3)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  12,349 ratings  ·  908 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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Cherish I was working as an assistant librarian in 2006; while I was shifting shelves one summer day this book's original 3-book bound volume fell and nearly…moreI was working as an assistant librarian in 2006; while I was shifting shelves one summer day this book's original 3-book bound volume fell and nearly thwacked me on the head. (Seriously, it was massive.) When I picked it up, the cover intrigued me enough to skim a few pages. I read all three books in a matter of two days.

Now, over 12 years later, I'm picking it back up to reread it.(less)
Shane "Lilith's Brood" is the updated title of the trilogy that contains "Dawn", "Adulthood Rites", and "Imago". The title of the trilogy was originally…more"Lilith's Brood" is the updated title of the trilogy that contains "Dawn", "Adulthood Rites", and "Imago". The title of the trilogy was originally "Xenogenesis".(less)

Community Reviews

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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,349 ratings  ·  908 reviews

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mark monday
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 03, 2008 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 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
Sep 18, 2007 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,
Oct 01, 2015 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
Jan 09, 2013 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
Oct 25, 2013 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
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite worlds. I adored the Oankali and learning more about them throughout the trilogy. I love how this book is saturated in ethical ambiguity. You need to decide if you think the Oankali have the concept of consent in their culture. If you think they do, then this is a very disturbing series. If you think they don't, then this encourages you to look at the situation from a fascinating new perspective. This sci-fi family saga constantly questions what it means to be huma ...more
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I. Can't. Even. Pure brilliance! Check out my fangirly review here.
Sep 30, 2007 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
Oct 25, 2007 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
Feb 01, 2010 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
Emotonal Reads
Jan 04, 2014 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
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
Dec 08, 2014 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.
Nov 12, 2007 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
Apr 24, 2009 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
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This series was fantastic! I can't wait to read some more Octavia Butler.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have so many thoughts, each one of them individual pieces that are trying to absorb all I have read and mix and match it to form a perfect whole; like I am my very own Ooloi creating a construct of all that these book made me feel. Spoiler alert: I am human and I can't. This book made me feel it all: anger, sadness, rage, resignation, numbness, fatigue, pain, despair and finally hope.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans as expected have led to the destruction of the world due to our hi
Melissa Espiritu
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
If I could give half points, I would give this a 3.5. I do like the trilogy, but I wish I would have loved it more. The book definitely presents mind blowing concepts. And I have to hand it to her, Octavia Butler is the genius everyone says she is. The concept of the Oankali is the most unique fictional alien creation I have ever seen or read.

I really enjoyed much of the first book. How she presents Lilith's awakening, this alien world, and the plans to reinhabit Earth is fascinating. Lilith's
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is mind-blowing. Lilith wakes up from a nuclear war to find she, and all other humans, have been scooped up from a dying earth, frozen for long enough for the Earth to recover, and are now being awakened to be mated with and returned to Earth to populate it with alien, human hybrids. Classic B grade sci-fi stuff right? Wrong!

From that fodder comes a story of incredible complexity and existential horror, as the story's focus shifts through the generations of Lillith's own hybrid childr
Easily one of the best books I have ever read. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by Octavia Butler. The first book Dawn immediately drew me in. The second one Adulthood Rites did the same thing. Dawn, the third book in the series was great too. What really excited me was the mention of Neurofibromatosis, a disorder I myself have. Personally, if an Ooloi can fix that, I'll gladly welcome its healing! I loved this series. I want to read all of her books! I loved her writing style. I ...more
Nov 13, 2007 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
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it

The people of Earth have destroyed the planet with their wars. The humans who survived are rescued by an alien race with the promise they will help them one day return to Earth. But at what cost?

Lilith’s Brood is a trilogy that takes us through this journey and explores issues of gender, race, hierarchy, and xenophobia. I enjoy Butler’s writing style, her ability to draw the reader in, and the way she gently leads the reader through this crazy journey. If I were to rate this book on the writ
Doug Hagler
Aug 07, 2007 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.
Cleo Wilson
Mar 05, 2013 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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Heter
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Somebody mentioned this book to me. I don't recall who, but thanks.
Turns out I finished reading it on the author's birthday, and found her featured on Google. I took that as a sign that I should write this review.

The main character, Lilith, is a gal with an attitude. Possibly due to her Black heritage.
The book (actually a trilogy) was published in the '80's during the Reagan years. There was reason to fear WW III back then and in the story it has happened, with disastrous results for the entire
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Possible error 1 17 Jan 23, 2017 07:47AM  
Feminist Science ...: Lilith's Brood by Octavia Butler (September 2015) 12 59 Oct 17, 2015 11:48PM  
Women in Science ...: Octavia Butler 1 7 Aug 15, 2013 09:46AM  
What if the Oankali captured you? 6 72 Jul 18, 2013 08:01AM  
Best science fiction I have read in years 17 69 May 15, 2013 06:05AM  
Book Bin Science ...: Dear Octavia Butler 1 22 Dec 28, 2012 04:12PM  
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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.

Other books in the series

Xenogenesis (3 books)
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)
  • Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2)
  • Imago (Xenogenesis, #3)
“Intelligence is relatively new to life on Earth, but your hierarchical tendencies are ancient.” 5 likes
“Human beings fear difference,” Lilith had told him once. “Oankali crave difference. Humans persecute their different ones, yet they need them to give themselves definition and status. Oankali seek difference and collect it. They need it to keep themselves from stagnation and overspecialization. If you don’t understand this, you will. You’ll probably find both tendencies surfacing in your own behavior.” And she had put her hand on his hair. “When you feel a conflict, try to go the Oankali way. Embrace difference.” Akin” 5 likes
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