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Ranking Author Octavia E. Butler’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

April 5, 2018
Octavia E. Butler Bibliography Rankings

“What are Octavia E. Butler’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Butler’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Octavia Butler and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Octavia E. Butler



16 ) Clay’s Ark

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 15

“Blake Maslin and his two daughters are driving to Flagstaff when bandits swarm their car. At gunpoint, the marauders kidnap one of Blake’s children, promising to keep her safe in return for medical care. Warily, the doctor goes with them, not realizing that he has just taken the first step down a terrifying path that will consume his life.

The gunmen take him deep into the desert, to a colony of people infected with a gruesome alien disease. It causes weakness, sallow skin, and birth defects so horrible that the children who suffer them cannot rightly be called human. The victims have quarantined themselves in the desert lest their illness spread and doom mankind. But as their willingness to accept isolation falters, Blake becomes the last hope for the survival of an uncontaminated Earth.”

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15 ) Patternmaster

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 16

“A psychic net hangs across the world, and only the Patternists can control it. They use their telepathic powers to enslave lesser life forms, to do battle with the diseased, half-human creatures who rage outside their walls, and, sometimes, to fight amongst themselves. Ruling them all is the Patternmaster, a man of such psychic strength that he can influence the thoughts of all those around him. But he cannot stop death, and when he is gone, chaos will reign.

The Patternmaster has hundreds of children, but only one of them—Coransee—has ambition to match his father’s. To seize the throne he will have to coopt or kill every one of his siblings, and he will not shy from the task. But when one brother takes refuge among the savages, a battle ensues that will change the destiny of every being on the planet.”

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14 ) Fledgling

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 13

This is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly unhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted-and still wants-to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself.

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13 ) Mind of My Mind

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 10
  • LibraryThing: 12

“The baby’s name is Mary, and her father is immortal. For thousands of years he has orchestrated a selective breeding project, attempting to create a master race capable of controlling others through thought. Most of his attempts have resulted in volatile mutations, but Mary—whom he has raised in the rough part of a Southern California town—is the closest he has come to perfection. If he doesn’t handle her carefully, this greatest experiment will be his last.

As Mary comes of age, she begins to grow aware of her psychic powers. And when she learns of her father’s plans for her, she refuses to acquiesce. She challenges him to a psychic war, battling to free her people and set a new course for mankind.”

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11 ) Dawn

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 8

The human race, now infertile, fights to maintain its identity when the alien species, Oankali, offers to trade genetic material and bioengineering at the price of metamorphosing a new kind of being

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11 ) Survivor

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 14

Survivor depicts the Clay’s Ark disease ravaging the Earth, and Doro’s telepathic descendants asserting control over what remains of humanity. One group of regular humans decides to escape Earth to a new planet, where they struggle to co-exist with the species that already lives there.

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9 ) Adulthood Rites

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 6

Told in the haunting voice of Lilith, the heroine of “Dawn”, this book is thestory of Lilith’s only son, Akin. Though he resembles a normal human, Akin isthe first “construct”–part man/part alien.

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9 ) Parable of the Sower

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 10

“Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, war, and chronic shortages of water, gasoline, and more. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is facing apocalypse. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.”

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7 ) Imago

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 10
  • LibraryThing: 6

The futures of both humans and Oankali rest in one young being’s successful metamorphosis into adulthood.

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7 ) Unexpected Stories

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 11

The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone.

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6 ) Parable of the Talents

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 8

Lauren Olamina’s love is divided among her young daughter, her community, and the revelation that led Lauren to found a new faith that teaches “God Is Change”. But in the wake of environmental and economic chaos, the U.S. government turns a blind eye to violent bigots who consider the mere existence of a black female leader a threat. And soon Lauren must either sacrifice her child and her followers — or forsake the religion that can transform human destiny.

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5 ) Bloodchild and Other Stories

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 2

A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and “Speech Sounds,” winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, “Amnesty” is a story of a woman named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is “The Book of Martha” which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself?

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3 ) Kindred

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 4

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

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3 ) Wild Seed

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 5

“For a thousand years, Doro has cultivated a small African village, carefully breeding its people in search of seemingly unattainable perfection. He survives through the centuries by stealing the bodies of others, a technique he has so thoroughly mastered that nothing on Earth can kill him. But when a gang of New World slavers destroys his village, ruining his grand experiment, Doro is forced to go west and begin anew.

He meets Anyanwu, a centuries-old woman whose means of immortality are as kind as his are cruel. She is a shapeshifter, capable of healing with a kiss, and she recognizes Doro as a tyrant. Though many humans have tried to kill them, these two demi-gods have never before met a rival. Now they begin a struggle that will last centuries and permanently alter the nature of humanity.”

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1 ) Lilith’s Brood

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 1

The acclaimed trilogy that comprises LILITH’S BROOD is multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best. Presented for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by Joan Slonczewski, Ph.D., LILITH’S BROOD is a profoundly evocative, sensual — and disturbing — epic of human transformation.

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1 ) Seed to Harvest

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 3

“In the late seventeenth century, two immortals meet in an African forest. Anyanwu is a healer, a three-hundred-year-old woman who uses her wisdom to help those around her. The other is Doro, a malevolent despot who has mastered the power of stealing the bodies of others when his wears out. Together they will change the world.

Over the next three centuries, Doro mounts a colossal selective breeding project, attempting to create a master race of telepaths. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, splitting the human race down the middle and establishing a new world order dominated by the most manipulative minds on Earth.”

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Octavia Butler’s Best Books



Octavia E. Butler Review Website Bibliography Rankings

Book Goodreads Amazon LibraryThing Overal Rank
Lilith’s Brood 2 3 1 1
Seed to Harvest 1 2 3 1
Kindred 5 6 4 3
Wild Seed 4 6 5 3
Bloodchild and Other Stories 11 3 2 5
Parable of the Talents 3 6 8 6
Imago 6 10 6 7
Unexpected Stories 8 3 11 7
Adulthood Rites 7 12 6 9
Parable of the Sower 9 6 10 9
Dawn 10 12 8 11
Survivor 15 1 14 11
Mind of My Mind 11 10 12 13
Fledgling 14 12 13 14
Patternmaster 13 12 16 15
Clay’s Ark 16 12 15 16

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