Review: Kindred

by Octavia E. Butler

Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: March 27th 2014 (first published in 1979)
Received From: Headline via Bookbridgr

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


The idea of kindred spirits normally refers to people who are alike, have connections to each other in a way no one else could ever understand. However, could this link be unlimited throughout time? Butler’s Kindred is an imaginative combination of history and sci-fi.

Very much Tom’s Midnight Garden mixed with Noughts and Crosses.

The book reveals a great deal about how Nineteenth century slavery could affect us in the modern day. But more importantly, how would we be changed if immersed in that world, a world we now deem ignorant and primitive? Would we become excepting of the brutality that is slavery in order for ourselves to survive or would we stand up for what we know is wrong?

Kindred reveals a great deal about human spirit and the need to survive from its beginning pages to its tragic ending. Throughout the book one question is asked: To what point is madness and cruelty to be excepted and allowed to continue, is there a point at which it must be stopped? And what happens when the one who needs to be stopped is the one you can’t help caring about and wanting to protect?
Although admittedly, at first I struggled with the notion of time travel, the books imaginative and heart-breaking storyline won me over pretty quickly to the point that I couldn’t stop reading until I finished. I found myself needing to know what happened next.

Kindred is a must read book that is at times makes you smile, shocks you and angers you (and can do all this is one chapter). As the story develops, the underdog you loved in the first few chapters becomes the villain you hate. Like the main character, you find yourself asking Can I forgive him everything? And you have to continue reading in order to answer this.

For me the most impressive aspect of this book is the way it forces you to consider to what extend we are responsible for what happens to others, as the main character constantly battles throughout the book.

Overall verdict…. Tragically great story.

*Not for younger readers*

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 **I received this book as an ARC from Headline to read & review. This is a 100% honest review.**
Review from Holly at Holly's Book Corner

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