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6 Best Octavia Butler Books (2024)

Best Octavia Butler Books ReviewBio

Octavia Esteller Butler was born on the 22nd of June, in the year of 1947, in Pasadena, California, United States of America. Butler was a famous and beloved American sci-fi novelist. Over the course of Butler’s career, she received a number of awards, most notably the Hugo and Nebula ones. She was the first sci-fi author to be granted a MacArthur Fellowship, as well.

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, as she was the single child of parents Laurice James Butler, a shoeshine man, and Octavia Margaret Guy, who was employed as a housemaid. Sadly, Laurice passed away when Octavia was only seven, so she was raised by her mom and grandma.

Best Octavia Butler Books

Troubled Youth

In the period of racial segregation, Butler felt the diversity and the cultural differences in the heart of this era, as her mother, when she was at her job, was invariably treated in a demeaning manner by the white employers. This together with the timidity and slight dyslexia that Butler had, she was always on the radar of bullies. That is why she first started out writing about power; namely, because she had none. Now, having noted that, let’s take a look at the best Octavia Butler books.

Earthseed Series


Famous Series

The Earthseed series, otherwise familiar surely to readers as the Butler’s Parable series, is unquestionably among the most famous Butler’s works. It is a series comprised of two novels, which doesn’t exempt it from being one of the best Octavia Butler series, but only aids it because both books are so brilliant. These two Butler’s books in chronological order are:

  1. Parable of the Sower
  2. Parable of the Talents

A World In Chaos

The first of Butler’s parable books, Parable of the Sower, begins in the year of 2025. In the nearer future, which for the 1993 novel was quite the faraway one, the world is to spiral into a state of insanity and chaos, with only a single woman starting the journey that will make the world as it once was. Lauren Olamina along with her family reside in one of the very few neighborhoods that are still safe on LA’s outskirts.

Losing Everything

It is here than Lauren’s dad, a man working as a preacher, along with a number of the residents tries daily to maintain the culture and the humanity that has slowly been degraded and decayed by means of diseases, by famine, by conquest, by drugs, and by water shortage.

Lauren, herself, is afflicted with hyper empathy, meaning that she is overly sensitive to the pain of others. Soon enough, that which sparked the joy and the hope for humanity so long ago destroys the compound where Lauren and her family lived – fire. It is up to Lauren and a few brave survivors to make it safely up north. That is why this is one of Octavia Butler’s best novels.

The Fire That Engulfs the World

It is in the second and last book – there were plans for writing a third and capping off the trilogy, but sadly Octavia passed away too soon –, titled Parable of the Sower, that the tale of Lauren Olamina continues on as the world falls faster and faster into the insensible chaos that it brought upon itself.

Here, we continue with Olamina in the depressed, both in a financial and social sense, California in the 2030s. Slowly, we hope, our readers realize why we consider this to be one of the best Octavia E. Butler books.

All Alone

Lauren Olamina along with the people with whom she associates in her community believes that they ought to colonize the stars that streak the nighttime sky, so with time, they begin making some such arrangements.

Their road is not a kind one, though, as the fanatical forces slowly turn their attention towards Olamina and her followers. Her daughter is abducted, her followers are put into slavery, so Olamina is left to herself.

Xenogenesis Series



Butler’s Xenogenesis series is another great source for anyone trying to find the best Butler books. It is one of the best Octavia Butler book series, one that is comprised of three novels, in total. This Octavia Butler series’ order of books goes as follows:

  1. Dawn
  2. Adulthood Rites
  3. Imago

Saving a Race

Lilith Iyapo has just been bereaved of her spouse and her son as the atomic bombs fall upon the Earth. These are the final days of the planet’s last period of conquest, the Earth’s last war. It is centuries in the future that Lilith, herself, wakes with a start from her slumber.

She is on the enormous alien spaceship, worked on by the Oankali alien race, the ones that came to Earth just in the nick of time before all was lost. Lilith and some such survivors have been in slumber for hundreds of years now. The way that Butler wrote the novel up to this point cements its spot as being Butler’s best book or coming quite close.

Our Hosts

For more reasons than one, it is now the time for Lilith to lead the way back towards Earth, though living along with the Oankali on Earth will be completely different from what she and the survivors are accustomed to.

The Oankali, themselves, are able to continue living on by means of fusing with primitive civilizations, either by the volition of the host organisms, or not. That is a small price to pay for children to walk the Earth once more, but will they be human children? That is why this is one of Butler’s best-selling novels.

Staying Away

In the second novel, Dawn, Lilith has just birthed a boy that looks like a human boy would. The child’s name is Akin and Akin has a total of five parents – two human parents, two Oankali parents, and an Ooloi which is without sex.

The Oankali and Ooloi live together in peace. On a world that has recuperated slowly, this brand-new race that has come by means of xenogenesis, there are still humans that say no to the aliens and their ways. The premise alone should show why we think so highly of these books to put them among the best books by Butler.

The Adjudicator

The so-called resisters have with time been sterilized by the Ooloi so that they cannot continue the defect through progeny which inevitably brings about humanity’s end.

However, when the resisters abduct Akin, the Oankali see it as an opportunity for the most human of their race, Akin, to judge with time if they, the resisters, are worthy of the fertility they’ve lost. These are the most popular Butler books, too.

Patternmaster Series


Young Adult Series

The Patternmaster series, also known as Butler’s Patternist series, is a series that might be adequately expressed as having some of Butler’s novels for young adults, though by no means should the youngest be reading this series. The Patternmaster series is comprised of four books, so these particular Octavia Butler’s books in order are:

  1. Wild Seed
  2. Mind of My Mind
  3. Clay’s Ark
  4. Patternmaster

Two Sides of the Same Coin

It is no secret that the Patternmaster series can be read in a different order, altogether, but the one in which the novels are in a chronological order is the one we used above. There was also a tie-in novel, though Butler didn’t think much of it, so it’s gone out of print.

In Wild Seed, we begin in the year of 1390 in West Africa, where our protagonist Anyanwu first meets the quite strange, quite odd young man bearing the name of Doro.

The First Case of Fear

It is here that we learn of Doro and his ways. Doro is a being that goes between bodies and does this with such leisure that it’s like changing into a different set of clothes. Doro kills his hosts by doing this, but it is only when he comes by Anyanwu that something altogether bizarre happens.

For one, Anyanwu is a shapeshifter that is able to absorb any bullets coming at her, to destroy her foes, and to mend any wound with a kiss. It is only when the two of them meet that they first know any fear. Wild Seed is also among the best-selling Octavia Butler books.

An Old Favor

Mind of My Mind, the second novel in the series, follows Doro, the body-changer as he comes to visit Anyanwu, to whom he now refers to as Emma by her own behest.

Doro has come to find a way to coax and to cajole Emma to join him on a little mission that he has, namely, to take control of a certain special character named Mary. Mary, from what we learn, is a telepath with special latent powers, but ones that have yet to surface. So, it is the perfect time to take her now.

Just How He Likes Them

The plan of Doro is to make a race of mighty telepaths by means of controlled breeding and crossbreeding until the perfect subjects are right in front of him. Mary will allegedly become one of the most powerful telepaths ever, but even this is an understatement when she really becomes capable of wielding the dormant powers she has.

Mary is able to link herself with different telepaths until they make a sizable pattern – just what Doro has in mind. In our opinion, this is one of the top Octavia Butler books.



Time of Sorrow

Kindred is a standalone novel and one that ranks among the best-rated Butler books. By no means just another novel on Butler books list, Kindred is a potent and special tale that we adore. Kindred was published in the year of 1979. Dana is our main character in Kindred. Dana has only just finished the celebration for her birthday, her twenty-sixth.

It is the year of 1976 and she lives in California. The African-American woman’s life is going rather pleasantly, as she’s just gotten a new apartment and is getting things ready in it so that she can settle in. However, in the course of this settling into the new apartment, she feels a dizzy spell overcome and grip her. Kindred, for this entrance into the tale, ranks among Butler’s best books.

Back and Forth

Before she can make sense of any of what is happening, the late-twentieth-century surroundings go away into the void and she’s in Maryland – antebellum Maryland. What could have happened to bring her to a time before her own?

Dana can’t reason with any of this. She saves a young, white boy from drowning, an act that sees her at the end of a shotgun, but she is saved once more as she comes back to her own time. That, however, won’t be the last time she goes back in time.



One of the Last

One of the last novels that Butler ever published is Fledgling. Fledgling, in our opinion, if we were giving our picks for Octavia Butler’s books ranked, is a concrete example of a book that we couldn’t not put among the top ones. It’s not just another of the Octavia Butler book reviews, but a story well worth your time.

Who and What Is She?

Fledgling starts out with Shori. Shori is quite a complex being and an even more complex character. Shori is a rather young, at least if we were paying attention to her looks, girl that is afflicted with some form of amnesia.

Before long, we learn the truth about Shori, that is that she had some terrible craving and desire for humans, so we come to the truth about Shori – Shori is a fifty-three-year-old vampire that has been genetically modified to be just that.


As Shori begins piecing things together about the life that she used to lead in a reasonably comfortable way, she sees that something terrible must have happened to bring her to this point. Shori needs to find out who or what wanted to ruin her so.

On her journey, she meets Wright, a character with whom she has terrific sexual tension, and the two of them are so wonderful to read about, even if we grant the vampire aspect. Whether it’s one of the best Octavia Butler books or the best Octavia Butler novels, Fledgling still stands as a beautiful volume.

Bloodchild and Other Stories


A Progeny of Red

Bloodchild and Other Stories might just be the best Octavia Butler book, but it is also one of the few that we would openly recommend as an introductory to Butler’s fiction work. Now even if it is one of Octavia Butler’s best books, we still need to take a look at it.

Bloodchild and Other Stories has the titular story, Bloodchild, a tale that has received both a Nebula and a Hugo award. Bloodchild is a story that the reader really should not allow himself or herself to miss because even if one is a seasoned reader of Butler, the tale is such a grisly, frightening, and satisfying treat to read, that we couldn’t put it down the first time when we picked it up.

What to Expect

However, the book at hand is not one that just has Bloodchild, but a plethora of other titles such as Amnesty, Speech Sounds, and The Book of Martha. Amnesty is where we follow a lady named Noah that is forced to be the mediator between the negotiations of the humans and a race of invaders.

The Book of Martha is where Butler ruminates on the idea of whether if you had a God-given power to save humanity from itself, would you do it? For all these brilliant tales, we think that Bloodchild and Other Stories might perhaps be the best Octavia Butler novel. The Evening and the Morning and the Night is a book that we believe our readers will love, too.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)