My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read Imago first & while I enjoyed it, I thought perhaps that the Xenogenesis series would be like a proto-Fledgling. Dawn, however, completely changed my opinion for the better. Despair and loss resonates deeply through the book and the initial conflict between human kind and the Oankali is much more tense and, at times, horrifying. The novel imagines what our struggle to live would be like once everything familiar is stripped away (culture, environment, society, and how we connect with one another) and another species comes along to put the pieces back together. Despite being classed as sci-fi, there is true body horror in Dawn. The Oankali are completely alien and have decided to take charge of humankind, including breeding, in order to halt our self-destruction. Butler outlines her aliens so well, readers can appreciate their forensic-like study. But there is plenty of squirm-inducing sexuality, including the “your mouth said no but your body says yes” reasoning or Lilith being unable to decide for herself when she will have babies. Dawn is an opener to an amazing series that is still relevant and interesting and is begging for a mini-series adaptation.