Best Octavia Butler Books

Best Octavia Butler Books Ranked

Octavia Butler is a renowned African-American novelist born in 1947 and died in 2006. She received numerous awards for her writing during her lifetime. She is known for writing dystopian stories dealing with global warming, women’s rights, Black injustice, and political disparity. 

Her novels and short fiction stories are now being used to teach in over 200 colleges and universities across the nation, and her stories had time settings that ranged from the distant past to the far future. Below are some of her most well-recognized stories.

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12. Clay’s Ark

Clay's Ark
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4.403.833.764.00
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Overview

When an innocent family is carjacked in the middle of nowhere and transported to a bizarre new world, they have to deal with all of its consequences. This includes a planet that has been invaded by a microorganism from another dimension, which attacks just like a virus does but which the survivors bond with once they recover from it. 

Survivors also develop extraordinary powers that include some unnatural desires and near-immortality and the need to spread the disease to as many people as possible.

Favorite Quote

They had clearly feared turn-of-the-century irrationality—religious overzealousness on one side, destructive hedonism on the other, with both heated by ideological intolerance and corporate greed.

11. Fledgling

Fledgling
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4.403.863.844.03
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Overview

When a young girl discovers she can’t remember her past, she sets out to find it regardless of the cost. Soon, she discovers that she is a 53-year-old genetically modified vampire, and she starts on her path to find out who stole her memory and wants to destroy her. She works tirelessly to find out where she came from and how she can save herself from the evil forces she believes are nearby.

Favorite Quote

Let them see that you trust them and let them solve their own problems, make their own decisions. Do that and they will commit their lives to you. Bully the, control them out of fear or malice or just for your own convenience, and after a while you'll have to spend all your time thinking for them, controlling them, and stifling their resentment.

10. Patternmaster

Patternmaster
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4.504.013.644.05
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Overview

The Patternmaster books are a series of books based on the union of a destructive male entity and a female demigod of fertility and nurture, which produces a nation of visionaries, psychics, and unfortunately, madmen. When Earth has to deal with a cosmic invasion, the new beings have to battle to rule the brand-new transfigured world.

The new beings were once hidden away until the day the Earth had its invasion, and now they are battling for control over a world they aren’t sure about but which they know will be better than the current one.

Favorite Quote

“When I meet a woman who attracts me, I prefer women,' she said. 'And when I meet a man who attracts me, I prefer men.' 
'You mean you haven't made up your mind yet.' 
'I mean exactly what I said. I told you you wouldn't like it. Most people who ask want me definitely on one side or the other.”

9. Survivor

Survivor
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4.703.863.834.13
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Overview

Survivor is the story of a group called Earth’s Missionaries, who set out to find a newer and better inhabitable planet to live on, but who end up getting caught in a war between the Garkohn and the Tehkohn. But only Alanna has the proper survival training to help them come out the winners. 

Earth’s Missionaries then become bound by the enemies and need Alanna’s help, but she is afraid that if she helps them, she will be saving them for the doom that is even more unpredictable and horrible than this one.


8. Dawn

Dawn
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4.404.134.034.19
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Overview

After an atomic fire consumes Earth, Lilith loses her husband and son and is then captured by the Oankali along with the other survivors and allowed to sleep for a few hundred years. When she awakens, she attempts to lead the survivors back to a new earth that is totally unlike her own planet.

Finally, she and the other survivors return to Earth because things are growing and thriving once again. The only difference is that the survivors’ children will not be entirely human – at least not in the same way as before the holocaust happened.

Favorite Quote

“Yes,” he said, “intelligence does enable you to deny facts you dislike. But your denial doesn’t matter.”

7. Mind of My Mind

Mind of My Mind
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4.704.123.864.23
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Overview

The second book in the Patternmaster series tells the tale of a young ghetto telepath who has stepped forward to try and rule an immortal who has been trying to create a master race for the past 4,000 years. It is a psychic battle she must fight if she wants to challenge her creator so that she and the others can be free once again.

Favorite Quote

“Could a creature who had to look upon ordinary people literally as food and shelter ever understand how strongly those people valued life?”

6. Adulthood Rites

Adulthood Rites
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4.504.174.094.25
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Overview

This is the second book in Ms. Butler’s Xenogenesis series and tells the story of Lilith, who has now given birth to a boy named Akin. The book is a sequel to her book entitled Dawn, and it tells the story of Akin’s five parents and what happens to him after he is kidnapped and forced to make some difficult choices. 

Favorite Quote

“The differences you perceive between Humans — between groups of Humans — are the result of isolation and inbreeding, mutation, and adaptation to different Earth environments.”

5. Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower
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4.704.164.044.30
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Overview

The first book of the Earthseed series tells Lauren and her family, who live in one of the few safe areas in Los Angeles in the year 2025. When her family is killed in a fire, Lauren sets out to make her way north to safety, along with a few others. On the way, she comes up with an idea that may save both them and the generations to come if only she can pull it off.

Favorite Quote

“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth Is change.”

4. Wild Seed

Wild Seed
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4.604.214.104.30
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Overview

This is the first book in the Patternmaster series and tells the story of Doro, an entity who frequently changes bodies and fears no one until he meets Anyanwu, who is just afraid of him as he is of her. Nevertheless, they pair up to create a destiny, unlike any others before them.

Favorite Quote

“In my years, I have seen that people must be their own gods and make their own good fortune. The bad will come or not come anyway.”

3. Imago

Imago
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4.604.194.124.30
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Overview

This is the third and final book in the Xenogenesis series and tells the story of an alien species merging with humans and the results that follow. It centers on Jodahs, who are being counted on to be the savior of what’s left of humankind.

Favorite Quote

“Humans said one thing with their bodies and another with their mouths and everyone had to spend time and energy figuring out what they really meant.”

2. Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents
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4.804.274.064.38
Average Star Ratings Out of 5

Overview

The second book in the Earthseed series continues Lauren’s story, which takes place in the 2030s. Lauren decides she and the others should colonize the stars, but it doesn’t work out quite like she’d planned, at least not at first.

Favorite Quote

“In order to rise 
From its own ashes 
A phoenix 
First 
Must 
Burn.”

1. Kindred

Kindred
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4.704.264.214.39
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Overview

Butler got her start writing novels with this debut novel, and remains one of her most popular works. Kindred tells the story of Dana, an African-American woman in California in 1976. The story is part historical fiction, part slave memoir, and part fantasy.

It includes numerous time-defying episodes that have Dana going back and forth between different events in history and being changed by all of them.

Favorite Quote

“Better to stay alive," I said. "At least while there's a chance to get free." I thought of the sleeping pills in my bag and wondered just how great a hypocrite I was. It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain.

Complete Rankings of Octavia Butler’s Best Books

RankBook TitleAmazonGoodreadsLibraryThingOverall
1Kindred4.704.264.214.39
2Parable of the Talents4.804.274.064.38
3Imago4.604.194.124.30
4Wild Seed4.604.214.104.30
5Parable of the Sower4.704.164.044.30
6Adulthood Rites4.504.174.094.25
7Mind of My Mind4.704.123.864.23
8Dawn4.404.134.034.19
9Survivor4.703.863.834.13
10Patternmaster4.504.013.644.05
11Fledgling4.403.863.844.03
12Clay’s Ark4.403.833.764.00

What’s Your Take?

Do you agree with our list of best Octavia Butler books? Would you rank any of these differently? Let us know in the comments section below!

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