Wild Seed is the first novel in Octavia E. Butler's Patternmaster series, in the chronology of the Patternmaster world. It is actually the 3rd novel written in the series. If I had known that before I started, I probably would have read the books in publication order. Oh well. The edition of Wild Seed I have is collected in an Omnibus titled, Seed To Harvest. I hadn't fully decided until I reached the emotional end of Wild Seed, whether I would write about each of the four Patternmaster books individually or if I would write about Seed to Harvest as a whole. It was an emotional ending and a fantastic story. Wild Seed is definitely a story on its own, able to stand alone, not just as a part of a series. The power of the story decided for me, I had to write about Wild Seed (and now each subsequent story) on its own.
Wild Seed starts off with Doro. Sensing the presence of Anwanyu, Doro veers off his path to find her. That decision sets their immortal lives on a new course. I loved this story. Not only is the plot interesting and unique, it gives us a view of a world we don't often see in fantasy. Doro is a spirit, who's not a spirit; who changes bodies by first killing the spirit of the ones who own it. He can become male or female, black or white, anyone he wants. Anyanwu is an incredibly strong shapeshifter. She can become any living creature, learning all she needs to know about how a body functions by eating a bite of that animal. She can be a woman or man, make herself black or white or whatever she wants. Doro has lived for almost four thousand years. Anyanwu is young in comparison, only about four hundred by the time the book ends. They were both born in Africa, but their lives have moved to the new world, to a secluded part of New York.
I loved to hate Doro. I just wanted him to see what he was doing was wrong, not just because of convention or superstition, but because it can create bad people. Before finding Anyanwu, he lost most of his humanity. Anyanwu is a good (interesting) influence on him. I'm excited to see what kind of change will happen to him through the books in this series.
I liked that we got to know Isaac. Besides him, we don't really see much of the other people Doro and Anyanwu interact with. The rest of the characters flit in and out of their lives, though there are a few we get deeper glimpses into, like Stephen, Luisa, Thomas, Nneke, and Leah. I wonder who we will see in future books. I suppose with the unending lives of Doro and Anyanwu, the next book could start with the end of Wild Seed, or it could start a hundred years in the future.
I wonder about the other books. How much time will have passed? Where are we going to find this immortal pair? Will Anyanwu change Doro? I'm excited that I have started this series and I'll be reading the other books soon.
*I really like all these interesting covers from over the years. I had to share.*