Parable of the Talents is the second book in a two-book series. It follows Parable of the Sower. You can read my thoughts on it right here. If you haven’t read Parable of the Sower, but want to, you might want to wait to read this review. There are inherent spoilers. Then again, similar spoilers are inherent in the text on the back of the book. You decide.
Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents: what a pair! What a complex, whole, fascinating pair. Butler could have just plodded along through the apocalypse (what characters in her world refer to as “the pox”) with a survival story about the people we meet in Parable of the Sowers. But no. Instead she takes it further, transitioning into what is very likely to follow an extreme crisis situation if the right (well, wrong) leader can take power amidst the chaos: a dystopia. It is so logical. Of course a dystopia is likely to follow a crisis. It has done so throughout history so many times. (Hitler, anyone?) And yet I haven’t seen another author handle a post-apocalyptic situation this way. (But please correct me in the comments if you know of other books that do just that. I’m all eyes.)
Like Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents is about religion, namely Earthseed, a religion/philosophy created by the main character, Lauren Olamina. As in the first book, we are given lines from the Earthseed text every few chapters. But now, instead of just getting Olamina’s perspective, we hear from her daughter, husband, and brother. The story is framed as Larkin’s exploration of who her mother was and adds an interpersonal layer to the story that is heartbreaking, beautiful, and real. The juxtaposition of societal expectations for a mother and the desires of the mother herself were handled particularly subtley. Go, Octavia, go!
Where I got it: Hugendubel, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Where you can get it: The Book Depository (Free shipping world-wide), Audible (Audio books), IndieBound (US indie bookstores)