Summary: A Woman wakes up to discover the Earth as she knows it is no longer, and the only hope of survival is an alien species that has questionable motives.
Dawn is the first book that I have finished reading from KindleUnlimited’s library. I actually already owned the kindle edition, but the audiobook is included in KindleUnlimited so I moved it to the top of my list.
Octavia Butler is known for her strong African American female leads, unusual in the science fiction world. Butler’s first real hit, Kindred, was semi-fantasy. A time travel book that takes a 1970s African American woman back to her 1820s era slave owning ancestor. Kindred is an excellent book, one that I highly recommend and the best of Butler’s books that I have read so far.
The other of Butler’s books that I have read is Butler’s last book that she wrote before she died, Fledgling, a vampire book that was written about the time of the Twilight vampire craze.
So Dawn, as an Alien abduction novel, is yet again completely different. Butler does a great job building suspense, letting you know what the main character is feeling and making the aliens, alien. It is one of the common thoughts of science fiction writers that if we do find aliens, that they will be so alien that we will have a hard time relating to them or even understanding why we don’t understand them.
It is hard to discuss the novel and maintain the suspense about the novel because the reveals are important to the story. So I am going to leave it at a brief thematic comment, a content warning and be done.
What I like about science fiction is that it can use different settings to put front and center ideas. Not all science fiction does this (space opera and military science fiction tends to be more about action and the sweep of the story), but some of the best science fiction is idea focused. The main idea in Dawn is focused on survival. Should you do anything to survive? Are there lines that must not be crossed? What is more important, your humanity or your survival?
As I glanced around at reviews on Goodreads, it is clear that many were not happy with the direction that it went. If you have read other Butler novels I think you would not be that surprised. Fledgling also needs a content warning because of the polygamous nature of the vampires that created a harem around themselves of humans (vampires are a different species in this book) to feed on (and have sex with). Fledgling has a lot more sex in it, but the concept of what sex and pleasure and desire have to do with being human are a part of this book even though the actual sex in the book is fairly limited.
I thought the direction was appropriate to the story and want to read the next book in the series, Adulthood Rites, soon. Unfortunately, even though there is an audiobook for Adulthood Rites, it is not whispersync enabled so the audiobook is not part of KindleUnlimited.