Patternmaster

by Octavia Butler

A year without a major Clayark attack on any sector of Patternist Territory. A luxury. Rayal had known enough years of fighting to be glad to relax and enjoy the respite. Only Jansee could still find reason for discontent. Her children, as usual.

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Patternmaster (Patternmaster, #4)Patternmaster by Octavia E. ButlerMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patternmaster is after the Octavia Butler’s intentionally “unpublished” Survior book (Patternmaster #4) So you read “Clay’s Ark” (#3) then on to Patternmaster (#5). (Survivor can be obtained… I have it, just didn’t read it. If Octavia hated it and didn’t want it in the series, I figure she would be the best advisor on the series)

Patternmaster is a considerable jump into the future of the series, chronologically. Clay’s Ark, the previous book establishes that time jump. In this conclusion of the series, every character you have connected with previously in the series is “history.” Just back story and not much relevant except YOU would know it.

The “Patternmaster” established in Mind of My Mind has evolved with even more zeal than Doro, (Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind) ever imagined. Doro’s evolved plans, carried on by “Mary” has swept the globe… with the exception of the Clay’s Ark “issue” which has become a war with another segment of the devolved/evolved species of humans. While this “Clay’s Ark Humans” vs “Patternmaster” people is a subplot is it barely worth noticing. Continue reading “Patternmaster”

Clay’s Ark

by Octavia Butler

She was terrified of Ingraham, certain that he was crazy, that he would kill her if she were not careful. If she committed herself to a poorly planned escape attempt and he caught her, he would certainly kill her.

Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This seemed a abrupt sideways twist of this series that had spanned a millennia following primarily one of the most interesting villains contrived in my thousands of reads. Since it is a series, including one book Octavia insisted never be published again (Survivor #4) and this being #3 in the series, I wouldn’t normally have anything to say except, “Yep, this series is still good.”

Here’s the deal with this one. If the next book Octavia wants you to read, “Patternmaster” (which I’ve read) wasn’t the book it is, this book could easily be a “Steven King” independent book, noting that King so frequently fails to “conclude” his stories. Continue reading “Clay’s Ark”

Mind of My Mind

by Octavia Butler

Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is number 2 in the Patternmaster series by Octavia Butler, one of the best all time of Speculative Fiction writers. So what do you say about book 2 in a series that would not be a spoiler?

I gave it 4 stars, probably deserves 5. I recommend it.

The first two books has “Doro” as a primary character and a variety of people are co-primary as you progress through these 2 books (Wild Seed & Mind of My Mind). It is relative to who is the focus of Doro at any given time. Oddly, the person who is the focus of Doro is usually the viewpoint character and the events of the plot are in relation to Doro. While I call Doro “the primary character”, he is definitely the antagonist.

Anyanwu was largely the main character in Wild Seed, and without spoilers I can say, she was very interesting to me. I was able to relate to her and feel like I understood how she felt or why she did the things she did.

Anyanwu is in Mind of My Mind as a very minor character, the focus is now on Mary. The book opens as Doro arrives to find one of his favorite projects, “Mary” bruised and beaten, in bed naked at age 3. Her mother Rina, is drunk and with a bum of guy. Doro arranges to move Rina and Mary next door to Emma (One of Doro’s favored from Wild Seed).

Octavia doesn’t spend a lot of time on the miserable life of Mary growing up, but it is easily imagined. Next scene with Mary, she is 17, nearly kills one of Rina’s John’s and leaves, takes a bus to Los Angeles. There she goes on a stealing spree (which Doro has forbidden).

Looking at my notes of the beginning of the book, then at the end, I see a massive transition of “Mary”, but reading it, the changes happen so gradually and naturally I barely noticed. So often protagonist type characters have an epiphany then a sudden change. I didn’t notice this until I started writing the review.

If you’ve not read the Patternmaster series, start with Wild Seed. You start thinking Anyanwu is the main character, and she is, but Doro shows up and from there forward near everything about Anyanwu is relative to Doro. In Mind of My Mind, even when Doro is not “on stage” you can feel his influence with what ever is going on.

I think it is safe to say that Doro is the antagonist and the primary characters, Anyanwu in Wild Seed, and Mary in Mind of My Mind are the protagonist. With great writers like Octavia Butler, her characters are real, and complex enough that saying “good vs bad” is possible but you’d have to add that phrase that is popular today, “It’s complicated”.

To those who have read the whole series. I have a question. Octavia hated Survivor, forbid it being reissued, and obtaining a copy isn’t the easiest thing… but I have it. It is supposed to be the 3rd book in the Patternmaster series, but in newer Omnibus editions of the series, Survivor is “gone”. My question to those who know… should I read Survivor?

These days, a large portion of my reading any book is in audiobook form. Survivor, I do not have an audiobook so it isn’t one I can “listen to” while doing other mindless tasks. Your comment or recommendation is appreciated.

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