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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing,…
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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I:… (2006)

by M. T. Anderson (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1961332,954 (3.79)171
  1. 20
    Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (VaterOlsen, legxleg)
    legxleg: Both are YA books about slaves during the Revolutionary War
  2. 10
    Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (jacqueline065)
  3. 00
    The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen (kaledrina)
  4. 00
    The Pox and the Covenant: Mather, Franklin, and the Epidemic That Changed America's Destiny by Tony Williams (Othemts)
  5. 00
    Somewhere In The Darkness by Walter Dean Myers (panbiot)
  6. 00
    Blindspot by Jane Kamensky (Othemts)
  7. 01
    Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Othemts)
  8. 02
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both books explore the oppression and resistance of a teenage protagonist, although Octavian's character is based in history.
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» See also 171 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
This book was eloquent and dark, and amazingly well written but I still wasn't a huge fan of it. It starts off like a gothic fairy tale an African prince and his mother are hidden away in an American mansion and given the best classical education, the finest clothes, the best instruments, all the while the white men study them and discontent grows in America. Octavian doesn't really understand how peculiar his circumstances are until he is older and filled in by the slave, Bono.

Interesting from a historical and literary perspective. For fans of American history and young adult literature. ( )
  ecataldi | Mar 3, 2014 |
For the first several chapters of this astonishing novel, the reader is unmoored in space and time, uncertain even of genre. And this is a good thing, because the reader must slow down and learn along with Octavian himself the circumstances of his life. Slowly, details are revealed, and the reader realizes with Octavian that he is the center of cruel experiment on the cusp of the Revolutionary War in Boston, making the book a historical novel…or is it? It covers so much, including history, philosophy, hair-raising adventure, and the cruelty of slavery, that it is limiting to confine it to one genre. Additionally, the format of diary entries, manuscripts, letters, and public notices keeps the reader engaged in piecing together the full story. A highly illuminating and engrossing read unlike nearly any other book, the descriptions of the physical and mental anguish that went into slavery are among the most visceral the reviewer has ever read; therefore it is highly recommended for mature younger YA readers and older YA readers. Octavian Nothing could be an excellent adjunct to studying slavery or the revolutionary war in the classroom. Highly recommended. ( )
  kahansen | Oct 14, 2013 |
Octavian is the son of an African Queen who was sold into slavery when she was pregnant. This wasn’t any ordinary slavery because they became a science experiment. When the funding for the experiment falls through, Octavian’s life is changed, and his true identity is soon revealed. The idea of growing up as something or someone, and then finding out you are someone completely different and have been used your whole existence, is a connection few, but some can make. ( )
  Backus2 | Sep 24, 2013 |
This is a very interesting work. It is about Octavian, son of an African Queen who was sold into slavery when she was pregnant. The type of slavery was not typical; Octavian and his mother are a science experiment; but when funding fails, Octavian's life is changed. I enjoyed reading this book, though it took a hundred pages or so to get into the story. It is full of unique characters and interesting twists. ( )
  Lschwarzman | May 27, 2013 |
11/08- Reread in anticipation of Vol. 2. My original review stands. This one is brilliant.


I thought Anderson's Feed was great. This beats Feed all hollow. Anderson here takes on the American Revolution, but gives it an unusual twist and a distinctive tone. Excellent writing, superior plotting, and a hell of a story. Anderson's promised a sequel, to which I look forward. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anderson, M. T.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, Peter FrancisReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was raised in a gaunt house with a garden; my earliest recollections are of floating lights in the apple-trees.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763624020, Hardcover)

A gothic tale becomes all too shockingly real in this mesmerizing magnum opus by the acclaimed author of FEED.

It sounds like a fairy tale. He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother — a princess in exile from a faraway land — are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments — and his own chilling role in them. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson's extraordinary novel takes place at a time when American Patriots rioted and battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Candlewick Press

Two editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763624020, 0763636797

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