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Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
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Parable of the Talents (original 1998; edition 2000)

by Octavia E. Butler

Series: Earthseed (2)

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2,270574,777 (4.06)153
Laura Olamina's daughter, Larkin, describes the broken and alienated world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and an ultra-conservative religious crusader becomes president.
Member:trurl
Title:Parable of the Talents
Authors:Octavia E. Butler
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2000), Paperback, 464 pages
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Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
I both enjoyed and hated this book. It strikes a little too close to home. The distant but much felt bad guy has a literal slogan of "Make American Great Again," but his policies and voice are more that of Cruz. His followers however would do Trump proud, only instead of threatening brown people they're killing off "cultists.

Warnings for: rape, physical abuse, whipping, collaring (and not in the BDSM way), slavery, death and beyond.

The story just feels too possible, and it's dark and scary as Butler perfectly creates the atmosphere.

The one area I felt it truly lacked in is the development of the narrator. That narrator is partly Lauren Olamina, but mostly her daughter as she chooses bits and pieces of Lauren's writing and comments on them. While I understand that her daughter could feel angry and betrayed at the lack of a mother growing up, I see nowhere in her writing where she points out any evidence that her mother in fact betrayed her. We are left to assume her benefactor (won't discuss without spoiling) poisoned her against her mother but that's never made clear. I'm also a little confused how a young woman who clearly thought for herself was so easily dissuaded when she had her mother's own readings to look at, books that clearly could not have been altered to support a more positive view of her mother's thoughts of her and therefore had to be taken at face value.

Regardless the book has both a happy and terribly sad ending.

Not recommended reading before bed because if you're like me you'll have vague, gloomy nightmares you can't remember but that leave you pretty convinced the world is ending. Octavia perfectly predicted the direction the world might take, and while it's not nearly as gloomy (global warming is not quite so pressing, we're clearly holding our own), it feels like this could be happening in another couple decades: burned/dead crops, rampant poverty, crazed religious zealots going unchecked, seizure of all public assets so that they can be turned over into private holdings for a profit. Here's your dire warning people. Heed it well.

Now I'm going to go read a fluffy book, because whoa. Just beyond gloomy. ( )
  lclclauren | Sep 12, 2020 |
This was a brilliant book. I didn't enjoy it as much as its predecessor, The Parable of the Sower, but it is still in the top 5% of books I've read. This book follows the adventures of Lauren after she founded Earthseed. The story goes to some much darker places than it's predecessor, but I think it's actually better written. The framing device is that Lauren's papers are being published, and annotated, by her daughter: so we get to see an outside perspective on her and on Earthseed as a whole. The story added depth of character and complexity to the pre-existing universe;and continued Lauren's story in a very believable and human, if not entirely satisfying, way. ( )
  Rachel_Hultz | Aug 15, 2020 |
Reviewing both Parable books, I was immersed in the dystopian story and character development. What happens when catastrophic climate change and the pox decimate the country? We may find out in real life but Butler describes it brilliantly. I didn’t like the new “religion,” however. It was boring and in the Talents, way too preachy, when the story would have been just as good without it. Excellent narration. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Jun 28, 2020 |
Parable of the Talents is the second and final book in Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed duology. I have learned this was initially intended to be a longer series. Each of the two published books end with relatively satisfying conclusions though, providing a sense of both closure and of more possibilities ahead. It didn’t feel unfinished, although I do think I would have enjoyed the direction further books would have taken.

I don’t think I can say what this book is about without spoiling the first one, so I’m going to put that in spoiler tags. I tried not to go into enough detail to spoil this book. The group that decided to settle on Bankole’s land at the end of the previous book makes a home for themselves there and their group continues to grow. Meanwhile, a growing religious faction that refers to itself as “Christian America” takes extreme measures against people who don’t share their beliefs, ranging from petty criminals to annoying homeless people, and most especially cults. Of course, as we saw in the previous book, Lauren is starting a fledgling cult of her own, so you can imagine where the story might go from there.

I liked the first book better than this one, mainly because the story went in a direction I found less interesting. I think Butler was a great writer. Her writing consistently draws me into her stories quickly, holds my attention, and has depth and usually gives me things to think about. She has a way of writing challenging sorts of characters who I care about but whose choices I don’t always agree with. The main problem I had with the story was that it continues in a big way with one of the themes I particularly didn’t care for in the first book. So it’s more clear now where the author was going with that, but it led to a lot of content that I tend not to enjoy very much in stories in general and which I occasionally got tired of in this book. Despite that, there were still several aspects of the story I found more interesting and my desire to find out what would happen to the characters helped hold my interest.

I’m rating this at 3.5 stars but rounding down to 3 on Goodreads. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | May 30, 2020 |
As heartbreaking and human as all her work, this struck very hard right now as it hits very close to home. ( )
  ThomasPluck | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Butler, Octavia E.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Flaster, AnnetteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Sisi AishaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Ryn, AudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Here we are—
Energy,
Mass,
Life,
Shaping life,
Mind,
Shaping Mind,
God,
Shaping God.
Consider—
We are born
Not with purpose,
But with potential.

From EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING
by Lauren Oya Olamina
Dedication
To my aunts Irma Harris and Hazel Ruth Walker, and in memory of my mother Octavia Margaret Butler
First words
They'll make a god of her.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Laura Olamina's daughter, Larkin, describes the broken and alienated world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and an ultra-conservative religious crusader becomes president.

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Book description
Parable of the Talents (the sequel to Parable of the Sower) tells the story of how, as the U.S. continues to fall apart, the protagonist's community is attacked and taken over by a bloc of religious fanatics who inflict brutal atrocities.
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