50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 18
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Shori appears to be an ordinary 10 or 11 year old African American girl, but she’s not. She is actually the member of a vampire like race known as the Ina and is 53 years old. However, after a brutal attack on her community Shori awakens without memory of her past, alone and afraid, everyone from her mother’s community dead. Shori doesn’t know what she is, or even who she is.
She is picked up by a young white man named Wright, who agrees to take Shori home with him after allowing her to bite him— and this is where stuff takes a turn for the disturbing. See Wright and Shori have sex. Not right there in the car, but several times and it’s described. Keep in mind that Shori has memory loss, doesn’t know that she’s really 53 and all Wright and their sexual activity go on is the fact that Shori says that she thinks he’s supposed to want to, that she thinks it’s okay to do so, and that she wants too. Yeah, so I’m already not a fan of Wright, who remains a prominent character throughout the book. Yes there are other symbionts (which is what the people who Shori feeds upon regularly and has a relationship with are called) but Wright sees her at her most vulnerable. Granted while reading the book it’s easy to forget that Shori looks like a child because she acts much more mature, but she still looks ten, and I’m still disgusted with Wright.
Anyways, Shori’s home had been destroyed, wounded and without memory she and Wright search for her people. She finds her father’s community, but that gets destroyed. She gains some symbionts and tries to determine what happened.
The plot of this book was interesting, don’t get me wrong. Butler does a great job of describing the Ina, how they live, the relationships between the symbionts and their Ina, and why humans allow themselves to live with the Ina. It’s a great read but I was completely and utterly disgusted with the way humans treated Shori as a sexual object.
I’d feel dirty if I gave this book anything other than 1/5