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Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

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I lost an arm on my last trip home. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflic I lost an arm on my last trip home. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder--and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white--and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.


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I lost an arm on my last trip home. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflic I lost an arm on my last trip home. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder--and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white--and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.

30 review for Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    Kindred is the tale of a black woman who is repeatedly transported from her 1970s apartment to antebellum Maryland. The main reason I requested the adaptation was so that I would finally force myself to read the full-length novel. I'm so glad I did because it ended up being one of my favorites last year! Kindred makes such a great candidate for a graphic novel because there's much dialogue and historical fiction seems to work especially well in the format. John Jennings and Damian Duffy they did Kindred is the tale of a black woman who is repeatedly transported from her 1970s apartment to antebellum Maryland. The main reason I requested the adaptation was so that I would finally force myself to read the full-length novel. I'm so glad I did because it ended up being one of my favorites last year! Kindred makes such a great candidate for a graphic novel because there's much dialogue and historical fiction seems to work especially well in the format. John Jennings and Damian Duffy they did a fantastic job of adapting Octavia Butler's story. The review below is for the graphic novel adaptation only. My review for the full-length novel is available at this link. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. - Steven Biko THE INTRODUCTION What would you do if you were suddenly pulled into the past and had to find a way to survive? The introduction is written by speculative fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor. She writes about how Octavia Butler inspired her when she needed it the most. Learning about Butler's kindness and how she made time to mentor a gifted new writer gave me a whole new level of admiration for her! THE ILLUSTRATIONS The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural is one of the most memorable books from my childhood book collection. The scratchboard illustrations by Brian Pinkney shaped how I visualize the antebellum South (one of the illustrations). While the artwork of Kindred is unique to artist John Jennings, the earthiness of the illustrations made me immediately recall that book. Jennings's style somehow made me feel settled in both the 1970s and 1800s. There's a frenetic energy to the illustrations that convey the extreme stress that Dana's body is being subjected to. His choice of presenting the 1970s in sepia tones and the 1800s in full-color was brilliant and reminded of how differently Dana processed the two different worlds: Rufus’s time was a sharper, stronger reality. The work was harder, the smells and tastes were stronger, the danger was greater, the pain was worse … Rufus’s time demanded things of me that had never been demanded before, and it could easily kill me if I did not meet its demands. That was a stark, powerful reality that the gentle conveniences and luxuries of this house, of now, could not touch. I appreciated the art even more after viewing Jenning's Tumblr and seeing how the art for Kindred differs from his usual style. Here is a link to one of the Kindred spreads, but you can see some more of his process for his various projects if you scroll through his blog. THE STORY An adapted version won't include everything. The omissions are going to be harder for me to pinpoint because I read the two books so close together. However, I missed the part where one of the plantation slaves explains the reasoning behind her children's names. That part was probably easy to cut because many could probably make that connection on their own! While there are necessary omissions, there are also parts where the illustrations add so much emotional power to the text. Being able to see Dana's facial expressions tempered my only complaint of the full-length novel—that Dana seemed so detached, unusually accepting of her situation. At one point in the original novel, Dana has to put her copy of Gone With the Wind aside because she's unable to stomach its representation of slavery after what she has experienced. I mentally pictured her throwing it across the room. The illustration shows her tossing it in the garbage can, which I thought was an appropriate visual. Some of the most powerful spreads were the ones with the fewest words. One of the pages that impacted me most was after Dana convinces one of the slaves to submit to her owner's desires. "She didn't kill him . . . but she seemed to die little. Rufus mailed another letter for me. Payment . . . . for services rendered." (pg. 158, The Fight) Minimal words, but the illustrations pack such a punch. Another page that I found memorable is at the end of The Fall (pg. 99), when Dana is reaching for Kevin as the whip comes down and she disappears. The graphic novel is such an awesome format for Octavia Butler's classic book and would make a great gift for her fans. It would also be a great way to introduce yourself to the story if you're not ready to commit to the whole novel or you don't think you'll be able to make time for it anytime soon. I do recommend reading the novel first because it's a very fast-paced and action-packed experience! ______________ I received this book for free from Netgalley and Abrams ComicArts. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available for purchase! If you are interested in John Jennings's artwork, his Hoodoo Noir graphic novella Blue Hand Mojo: Hard Times Road (pub. date 3/1/17) is currently available in the 'Read Now' section Netgalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    I have been wanting to read Octavia E. Butler's Kindred book forever! Well, I finally did... kind of! I read the graphic novel form. One of my friends posted a photo of them reading this on Instagram and I was shocked to see there was a graphic novel version. Thankfully the school that I teach at has an amazing graphic novel section and they had this book. This book lead to the exploration of violence and the loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and how it has had a lasting im I have been wanting to read Octavia E. Butler's Kindred book forever! Well, I finally did... kind of! I read the graphic novel form. One of my friends posted a photo of them reading this on Instagram and I was shocked to see there was a graphic novel version. Thankfully the school that I teach at has an amazing graphic novel section and they had this book. This book lead to the exploration of violence and the loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and how it has had a lasting impact on today. This book covers racial and gender divides in the South through the 20th century. Dana is a young black woman, who randomly and unexpectedly time-travels from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. In the 1970s she is a free woman and when she is in the pre-Civil War time she travels back to her own complicated family history on a southern plantation. She becomes involved with the slaveholder's son, Rufus. He is one of Dana's ancestors and she does whatever she can to help him, while trying to change his view on slavery and what he does to other human beings. This book was great and showed how times had changed greatly, but not enough. It also showed what slaves went through and how a child's life and experience growing up can set up a negative mindset of others. I suggest this book to anyone that enjoys graphic novels and history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I just reviewed Octavia Butler's 1979 novel that I read in 1980, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... the first science fiction book I had read that deal with the issues of race and ethnicity. And slavery, as she depicts an African-American writer, Dana, in 1973 transported back to the nineteenth century South in order to intervene in the life of her progenitor, her great great grandfather, Rufus, who--could it be otherwise?--raped his slave, Alice, who would then become Dana's great great gr I just reviewed Octavia Butler's 1979 novel that I read in 1980, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... the first science fiction book I had read that deal with the issues of race and ethnicity. And slavery, as she depicts an African-American writer, Dana, in 1973 transported back to the nineteenth century South in order to intervene in the life of her progenitor, her great great grandfather, Rufus, who--could it be otherwise?--raped his slave, Alice, who would then become Dana's great great grandmother. How are--especially for Dana, but for all of us--whites and blacks forever "kindred" as a result of this "peculiar institution"? This fine graphic adaptation is adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings and introduced by another science fiction writer who writes compelling about issues of race and ethnicity and power, Nnedi Okorafor. It was awarded the 2108 Eisner Award for Best Comics Adaptation, and I think it's deserving. PS: It is an interesting coincidence that I happened to also be listening today to Ian Fleming's racist depictions of Harlem and Jamaica in Live and Let Die, and paying close attention to the Jason Van Dyke-Laquan McDonald trial here in Chicago (McDonald was shot 16 times in the back in "self defense" while running away from Van Dyke). I'm white, Dutch as is Van Dyke. I have worked in Harlem and other urban schools for decades and my Dutch ancestors attempted to colonize South Africa. Complicated? Kindred?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    I came late to Octavia Butler’s work and am making up for lost time. A friend in college suggested Parable of the Sower to me. I read that, really liked it… and then didn’t read any more of her work until recently. I was nervous going into this adaptation of Kindred— how on earth could the art do justice to the complexity (and violence) of the original? Reader, it did. The art is beautiful and captures the horror of slavery, Dana’s struggle, and the weird compression of time. At the same time, i I came late to Octavia Butler’s work and am making up for lost time. A friend in college suggested Parable of the Sower to me. I read that, really liked it… and then didn’t read any more of her work until recently. I was nervous going into this adaptation of Kindred— how on earth could the art do justice to the complexity (and violence) of the original? Reader, it did. The art is beautiful and captures the horror of slavery, Dana’s struggle, and the weird compression of time. At the same time, it doesn’t fetishize the violence that Dana both witnesses and experiences as an African American woman living under slavery. If you’ve read Kindred this is a great companion. If you haven’t read it yet, this adaptation is strong enough to stand on its own. — Ashley Bowen-Murphy from The Best Books We Read In April 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/05/01/riot-r...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tori (InToriLex)

    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex I did not read the book, this graphic novel was adapted from first. I can't speak to any differences or similarities to the original novel. I can speak to the horror show of slavery, eloquently described with nuance throughout these pages. Slavery is apart of American History that most American's would rather forget. But this graphic novel makes you face the ugliness without kid gloves. I had to take breaks while reading because human beings being system Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex I did not read the book, this graphic novel was adapted from first. I can't speak to any differences or similarities to the original novel. I can speak to the horror show of slavery, eloquently described with nuance throughout these pages. Slavery is apart of American History that most American's would rather forget. But this graphic novel makes you face the ugliness without kid gloves. I had to take breaks while reading because human beings being systematically oppressed, beaten, abused and mentally degraded brought to mind far too many examples of how minorities in America are being treated today. We have come a long way since slavery but the dregs and institutions that created it, persist in oppressing Black Americans through mass incarceration and police brutality.  "Slavery was a long slow process of dulling." I was uncomfortable reading it, but happy there are no sappy story lines or helpful white saviors. Everyone in this novel has a role to play in racism. Even Dana and her white husband realize the far lasting consequences slavery has on a person's humanity. Dana is forced to travel through time whenever her white ancestor Rufus puts himself in danger. She helps him because her very existence depends on his survival. While the premise seems fantastical, helping people in power who don't have your best interest in mind is how large segments of America live. "In his grief, Rufus seemed almost to want death. But he was afraid of dying alone." Throughout Dana's experience back in time with her Ancestors she shatters all of the myths we tell ourselves to make slavery more palatable. She has to face how much of slavery can not be rationalized and the brutality of everyone involved. . It is a detrimental practice to strip human beings of power and ask them to be grateful for the experience. This graphic novel is a great reminder that not talking about a reality doesn't change it, race relations will continue to suffer while people can with a straight face say they don't see color. I would recommend this to everyone because you have to understand the nature of racism to grapple with how to change it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Char

    3.5/5 stars! Kindred is a book I've been wanting to read for a while, but my hectic schedule, (read: my inability to stop requesting books from Net Galley), hasn't allowed me the time to squeeze it in. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation available on, (where else?), Net Galley, I had to have it. Luckily, they approved me and here we are. I enjoyed the heck out of this story-as much as a story partly about slavery can be enjoyed. Dana, (a young black woman), through some unknown mechanism, ge 3.5/5 stars! Kindred is a book I've been wanting to read for a while, but my hectic schedule, (read: my inability to stop requesting books from Net Galley), hasn't allowed me the time to squeeze it in. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation available on, (where else?), Net Galley, I had to have it. Luckily, they approved me and here we are. I enjoyed the heck out of this story-as much as a story partly about slavery can be enjoyed. Dana, (a young black woman), through some unknown mechanism, gets pulled back in time every time young Rufus' life is in danger. She doesn't know Rufus from Adam, but he's in trouble and she comes to his aid. As the story goes on, we discover that Dana has been pulled from the 1970's back into the time of slavery. The time travel aspect is never explained, so I tried to accept it as a given. After a period of time, Dana is sucked back into her current time and into her white husband Kevin's, loving arms. Upon her return, Dana explains to Kevin what happened. The next time it happens, Kevin is pulled into the past along with her and again, Rufus' life is saved. I don't want to say anymore about the plot because...spoilers. (In case there is anyone else out there who hasn't read the book, other than me.) I liked the story and I did like Dana and Kevin. However, the characters back in the time of slavery were not as well developed as I would have liked. (Perhaps they are more developed in the novel itself?) My main problem with this graphic novel is the illustration. I was not all that fond of the graphics. I did end up getting used to the illustrator's style, but overall it didn't work that well for me. Perhaps the graphic novels that I have experience with all have superior illustrations, (The Sandman Series, Preacher, American Vampire) and that's why I was disappointed? Or perhaps these graphics were just a bit sub-par. This was a great way to familiarize myself with the story so I'm not entirely ignorant anymore. It also did whet my appetite for the original tale. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel to readers like me-ones that have a hard time fitting a long novel into their reading schedule. Just don't expect the graphics to knock your socks off and you'll be fine. You can pre-order your copy here: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation *Thanks to Net Galley and Abrams ComicArts for the e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian Burmeister

    Crowned the “grand dame of science fiction” by Essence, Octavia Butler was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed science fiction writers of the 20th century. Her career spanned over a dozen novels and, among her many awards and honors, Butler was the first science fiction writer to win a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, before being cut short. In 2006, she tragically passed away at the age of fifty-eight. Thirty-eight years after its original publication, Butler’s best-sel Crowned the “grand dame of science fiction” by Essence, Octavia Butler was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed science fiction writers of the 20th century. Her career spanned over a dozen novels and, among her many awards and honors, Butler was the first science fiction writer to win a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, before being cut short. In 2006, she tragically passed away at the age of fifty-eight. Thirty-eight years after its original publication, Butler’s best-selling novel, Kindred, and by extension Butler’s own voice and vision, has been given new life. Considered by many to be her most accessible work, the novel has been adapted into a graphic novel by cartoonist/writer Damian Duffy and editor/artist John Jennings. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, like the history it shares, is haunting. At its core, it is a story of pain, a tale of survival. A twenty-something writer from the year 1976, living in California, is mysteriously and repeatedly pulled through time and space to early 1800s Maryland. This protagonist, Dana Franklin, an African American, is thrust into the all-too-real, all-too-horrifying realities of the world of slavery. The initial confusion Dana experiences is well felt by the reader. How did she get there? Why is this happening? As Kindred unfolds, Dana’s sanity and her very life are challenged. The art of Kindred reinforces the terror and panic often felt by the narrator. The sometimes dark, often gritty images set a serious tone and an intensity that the story demands. Discomfort, frustration, and anger radiate from the book’s pages: the physical, often sexual violence is not just spoken of, but frequently shown. The art and story work collaboratively to make sure the reader is not okay with what is taking place. Chiefly, Kindred is an ever-important reminder of how we think of and treat each other. The story explores not just the attitudes and actions of slave-owners and other whites towards their black slaves, and vice versa, but of slaves towards the educated black protagonist. The dynamics of these mindsets and the book’s events show the devastation that ignorance, jealousy, and sheer hatred can cause in the lives of many. As Dana says at one point, “People don’t learn everything about the times that came before them.” We know slavery happened. But we don’t feel it. And, I suspect for many of us, we don’t like to think about it. To assist with the lessons Butler wants us to learn, Dana, who is very much her own character, functions in part as a proxy of the reader. Butler could have simply written a story set in 1800s Maryland, but by having the realities of slavery not just witnessed but lived by a protagonist from the modern era, we are forced to feel and think about that tragic era of our history as though it were happening to us. Kindred does not ease that pain. Throughout its pages, the reader is confronted with brutal scenes. Whippings. Sexual assault. Rape. The violence depicted in Kindred is a necessary reminder of humanity at its worst. And the acceptance of these actions as “normal” by most of the characters is as troubling as the events themselves. One of the most haunting moments of the book shows two young child slaves playing pretend: these children—for fun—act out a slave auction. The buying and selling of humans is so normalized by these children that they even assign dollar values to their worth. A few pages later, Dana’s inner monologue addresses this horrifying scene poignantly: “I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.” Nearly four decades after its original printing, Kindred remains a valuable story and teaching tool. From its pages, we are reminded of the destructive consequences of prejudice.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donovan

    Octavia E. Butler's Kindred is a weird blend of biography, science-fiction, and historical fiction. Los Angeles, 1976. Dana and Kevin, black and white, wife and husband, begin teleporting/time traveling to the year 1819. The story mostly follows Dana's time on Maryland's Weylin Plantation, spent in the company of the owner's son Rufus and the other slaves. As a time piece it's incredibly brutal and accurate, but to be honest it doesn't seem to say anything new. American slavery was an evil socia Octavia E. Butler's Kindred is a weird blend of biography, science-fiction, and historical fiction. Los Angeles, 1976. Dana and Kevin, black and white, wife and husband, begin teleporting/time traveling to the year 1819. The story mostly follows Dana's time on Maryland's Weylin Plantation, spent in the company of the owner's son Rufus and the other slaves. As a time piece it's incredibly brutal and accurate, but to be honest it doesn't seem to say anything new. American slavery was an evil social plague that continues to fuel institutional racism and hyper-violent hatred today. 1819 was a terrible time of dehumanization, torture and death for blacks. And contrastingly, even 1976 maintained prejudice and social stigma against blacks as seen for Dana and Kevin who are a mixed race couple. But it's not really anything I haven't seen before on the subject. More importantly, my problem is with the story's fundamental concepts and science-fiction. Dana's time travel ability isn't explained. In that sense it's fantasy, a mysterious plot device to facilitate a tour of early American slavery from a 20th century perspective. Dana also knows how to control her time travel yet allows herself to linger in the past beyond her comfort, which I don't understand. I also don't understand why the "method" of time travel is fueled by pain and fear of death other than it's fitting for the story. Another convenient plot device? The primary reason we're told Dana continues to not only time travel but remain in the past is to assist Rufus, the plantation owner's son. But I have a hard time believing this motivation. It's explained that Dana was going to school to be a teacher and work in early development, teaching reading and writing, but she never finished school. So naturally she has this strong unfulfilled desire to work with children, which is obviously fitting for the story: when she travels back she's suddenly an unusually literate free black and she teaches Rufus and some of the slaves how to read. But why does she care for Rufus? He's rude, evil, and psychotic. He's a physically and verbally abusive rapist. My only speculative explanation is that Dana is suffering from Stockholm syndrome or PTSD and is trying to cure Rufus of the incurable. I don't know. Even that doesn't sit well with me. The other reason Dana continues to time travel is that she and Kevin are eventually (and predictably) separated. She returns to 1976 and Kevin is stuck in the past. So naturally a search ensues. And you can guess how that plot thread resolves. This was far too predictable. Getting lost or stranded in time in a time travel story is practically grounds for a drinking game it's so expected. At the "roots" this is a historically fictional, science-fiction biography of a black woman who time travels from prejudicial 1970s to slavery-era 1819. Because she's a smart, educated, modern woman, she gets in trouble and tries to historically revise the past and change its inhabitants. Which, as you can guess, goes horribly wrong. What's the moral of the story, what's the "why"? Racism is alive and it sucks. Slavery was awful. And even being educated and enlightened still isn't enough to survive in that brutal era. But the character's motivation seems lacking to me. Admittedly, I read a free advance copy of this book so the quality of the unfinished artwork is pretty terrible, like legitimate storyboard sketches in places, so I can't accurately judge the artwork. I imagine that it could be wonderfully rough or impressionistic, like Jeff Lemire. This, however, was pretty hard to look at in its unfinished state. All that said, Kindred is an interesting if mysteriously reasoned story. I strongly empathize with Dana and the blacks who died and suffered through slavery and continue to suffer hatred and violence, that goes without saying. But story wise I had a hard time connecting with Dana or other characters in this book because characterization and plot were lacking. And the artwork was a serious miss in this rough edition.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Having just read the novel of this book, seeing it in graphic formation was just wonderful. The comic rendition was drawn in a way that I feel keeps the feeling of the novel. It is shorter, but I feel it keeps true to the story nonetheless. I like the color scheme and the lines, there's a picture and on page 174 (of the Kindle version) where you see Dana transported between time and I felt like that was exactly how I pictured it in my mind. But of course since this is the graphic novel adaption Having just read the novel of this book, seeing it in graphic formation was just wonderful. The comic rendition was drawn in a way that I feel keeps the feeling of the novel. It is shorter, but I feel it keeps true to the story nonetheless. I like the color scheme and the lines, there's a picture and on page 174 (of the Kindle version) where you see Dana transported between time and I felt like that was exactly how I pictured it in my mind. But of course since this is the graphic novel adaption it's not AS graphic as the novel, but it's still really, really good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    It's hard to rate this without comparing it to Kindred, the novel. The source material is amazing. I enjoyed this adaptation, but it felt like in some ways like it was hitting bullet points.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    Octavia Butler is something of a hero among several of my friends and I've been told many times over the years to read her. I've tried before without much success. The prose just doesn't pull me in. This winter I finally got a little deeper into two Butler novels, Fledgling and Kindred. Fledgling I listened to about half of and then for the rest read a synopsis. Kindred I listened to a few chapters of and then read this graphic adaptation, and I'm grateful to finally have a little more of a conn Octavia Butler is something of a hero among several of my friends and I've been told many times over the years to read her. I've tried before without much success. The prose just doesn't pull me in. This winter I finally got a little deeper into two Butler novels, Fledgling and Kindred. Fledgling I listened to about half of and then for the rest read a synopsis. Kindred I listened to a few chapters of and then read this graphic adaptation, and I'm grateful to finally have a little more of a connection to her work She's definitely not for me in terms of style, but as a philosopher and a social critic, she's brilliant. Kindred is the story of a 'modern' biracial couple, Dana and Kevin, a black woman and a white man, that stumbles into a troubling dilemma. The woman is somehow time-connected with a white, slave-owning great grandfather whose life keeps falling into danger, and when it does, starting when he is a very young child, he somehow calls for her and she vanishes from her home and appears at his plantation. This puts her in all kinds of danger--a black woman of the 20th century landing on a plantation in the South in the 1830s. It's complicated by the fact that they find a way for Kevin to come with Dana, and his whiteness works sometimes as protection, but also puts them in some danger. And because he doesn't want to risk her traveling there without him, he winds up staying there while she returns home, where in contemporary minutes, years could go by in the time-travel-past. Dana and Kevin watch as slaves are bought and sold and brutalized. They try to find ways of fitting in, resisting, learning, being a support to the slaves and also to Rufus, Dana's white great+++? grandfather. The relationship is complex in that Rufus is in some ways struggling to break away from a culture in which men are taught to exploit and abuse. He vacillates between abusive rages, predatory sexual behavior, and a sensitivity and affection that gives Dana room for hope. All in all this book raises a lot of questions about relationships, history, responsibility and trust, and the ending is, I thought, brilliant, in terms of plot structure and resistance/courage. The art in this book I feel ambivalent about. I think it's just about aesthetic preference in terms of storytelling. The art is beautiful, but the style I find to be distracting. There are a lot of extra lines, a lot of bright blues. There is one section where everything is washed in a light violet, which was kind of cool. There are different color schemes in different parts of the book (past/present, etc) but there is so much going on visually that it's hard for me to make sense of it. I thought some of the extreme close-ups were beautifully done. The style can be cartoony and caricature-ish but also some panels have the richness of a painting. I found it hard to tolerate Kevin. I read him as arrogant and kind of uninteresting. I'm not sure if that is what Butler intended. If not, I wonder if it is the way he is portrayed in here. Or maybe Butler's fictional worlds value/have tolerance for characters I don't find appealing? Hard to say. I'm very curious what other people think of him--in this graphic version and/or in the prose novel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Good books make you cry. Great books make you think. Fantastic books stay with you long after you read them, and haunt you with their story. This book, this book has all those factors. If the story is this good in graphic novel form, it makes me feels I should run right out and read the original. I thought, when I got it, I would flip through a few pages, and then go back to work. Well, 200 something pages later, I had not gone back to work. Very moving story of a young, black woman from 1976, goi Good books make you cry. Great books make you think. Fantastic books stay with you long after you read them, and haunt you with their story. This book, this book has all those factors. If the story is this good in graphic novel form, it makes me feels I should run right out and read the original. I thought, when I got it, I would flip through a few pages, and then go back to work. Well, 200 something pages later, I had not gone back to work. Very moving story of a young, black woman from 1976, going back in time to save an ancestor. This happens several time, each time, returning seconds, or hours after she left. She only knows it is happening when she gets dizzy. And the time she is send back to has to be one of the worse times to be black, as she finds herself on a plantation in pre-civil war Maryland. And the ancestor she has to save, is the son of the plantation owner. Worse, then having to keep saving the white man, is that the woman who would be her great-great-great-something grandmother is black, and wants nothing to do with the son. And in between, we see a non-whitewashed, so to speak, story of life as a slave. This graphic novel makes this book available to many more people, people who should read it. This should be offered in schools, in libraries, and anywhere people need to read this, and understand the history of the black people in the US. Very sad, very moving, and very compelling. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sunny

    I got a free uncorrected proof at ALA. If you've read Kindred, you know that Octavia Butler's novel is not for the faint of heart. In interviews she mentions that she wrote the book to help modern people emotionally understand slavery but that she toned down the horrific realities of slavery. Reading the graphic novel is gutwrenching in a different way as you view Butler's storytelling unfold panel by panel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Kindred is one of my favorite books and it made a lasting impact on me when I read it last year. Reading the graphic novel version was a slightly different experience that I will try to explain. The first difference is that the story doesn't seem as personal as the actual book. The first person narration was much more complex in the novel, with no surprise, but I feel the graphic novel missed out on some possible great moments of introspection by Dana. Yes, all of the important scenes are in the Kindred is one of my favorite books and it made a lasting impact on me when I read it last year. Reading the graphic novel version was a slightly different experience that I will try to explain. The first difference is that the story doesn't seem as personal as the actual book. The first person narration was much more complex in the novel, with no surprise, but I feel the graphic novel missed out on some possible great moments of introspection by Dana. Yes, all of the important scenes are in the graphic novel but it just feels different. Another main difference is that the lettering and text bubbles in the graphic novel aren't really done to a degree of perfectionism that I've found in other graphic novels. Some of the text is a bit small and the spacing/positioning of some of the text bubbles make it confusing on which text bubble to read first. I think that the lettering was definitely the weakest part of the graphic novel. Do I think that art added anything to the story? Uhm, barely. There are a few scenes where I think the art really brought something new to the story and showed an emotion or connection that I might have missed in the novel. For the most part, the art just was there and didn't impress me much. What did impressed me was how well Damian Duffy and John Jennings was able to condense the story into a 230 some page graphic novel and tell the same story without much difference. Sure, a few of the panels jumped inexplicitly, but the story was really honest to the source material. I think that Butler would be proud of the translation to the graphic novel. I recommend the novel over the graphic novel but if you aren't going to spend the time to read the novel then definitely read this. If you love the Kindred novel, I feel like you are going to like this too. I'm glad I read it and it gave me a good reminder of why I should read more of Octavia Butler's work.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    #RWLChallenge: A graphic novel with a POC I like the storyline and am actually even more interested in reading the complete story. There are a lot of themes and I would love to see how they are fleshed out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    I have only read one book by the author to date, and really disliked it. That book, in case you are wondering, is Dawn. It's not that I don't like sci-fi/fantasy, it's that when I read a book I expect to either learn something, or be entertained, so don't get me started on my issues with tentacles in Dawn. That experience did not encourage me to read any more of her books, and it's a shame as so many people think she's one of the sci-fi greats. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation of one of h I have only read one book by the author to date, and really disliked it. That book, in case you are wondering, is Dawn. It's not that I don't like sci-fi/fantasy, it's that when I read a book I expect to either learn something, or be entertained, so don't get me started on my issues with tentacles in Dawn. That experience did not encourage me to read any more of her books, and it's a shame as so many people think she's one of the sci-fi greats. When I saw this graphic novel adaptation of one of her more recommended books I decided to dip my toes back into the water. Imagine my delight when I found myself swept away in this tale. The story centers around Dana, a young black woman who suddenly time travels between her home in 1970s California and the pre-Civil War South. I'm usually annoyed by time travel tales where a woman goes back in time, and happily decides to stay. This book wonderfully and painfully explores the perils of going back those so called halcyon days of old. Some of the themes explored include race, gender, slavery, and ancestry, and I love that the author does not shy away really looking at the multiple facets of these complicated constructs. I also really liked the art style and color used in this one. I plan to pick up the novel, and will keep my fingers crossed that it works as well in prose form.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Mans Mckenny

    Incredible version of this text. Instead of infantilizing Butler's work, this graphic novel elevates it. The images are stark and moody and the message still resonates. Some panels were chilling. A good partner with the original, but definitely not a substitute for it. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    An almost perfect graphic adaptation of a truly amazing novel!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    I haven't read Kindred and perhaps one should before reading this graphic novel. I feel that parts are missing that would have helped make this story smoother. The graphics were okay. The faces seemed a bit course at times. All in all, an interesting enough story but it had jumps in it that made the story seem disjointed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Mckelvin

    At first.. I was reluctant because I didn't like the colors of the illustrations. I decided to give it a chance and at first it looked just to "yellow and cabin like". Over all it was a great read even in graphic novel and it was nice seeing it come to life in pictures. I still hope they make it into a movie.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ivy Reisner

    I hate giving this story in any form less than five stars. It's one of the masterworks of speculative fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time. I highly recommend the original. The artwork cost it a star. It's just bad. There are these weird excess lines as if the face were drawn, then fixed, then the original line was just kind of left there. There are key points in the book (such as how she lost her arm -- no spoiler, that's mentioned in the first line) that are just unclear because I hate giving this story in any form less than five stars. It's one of the masterworks of speculative fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time. I highly recommend the original. The artwork cost it a star. It's just bad. There are these weird excess lines as if the face were drawn, then fixed, then the original line was just kind of left there. There are key points in the book (such as how she lost her arm -- no spoiler, that's mentioned in the first line) that are just unclear because of the way it's drawn and adapted. The story on the surface involves a woman pulled back in time to keep rescuing her ancestor from all sorts of mortal peril. For those who aren't used to speculative fiction, but are coming at this because it's a brilliant story for fans of any genre (really, if you like books at all, read the original) normal time travel questions abound, such as "how could she go back to rescue him if he died the first time before siring her ancestress?" It's the issue with the trope. Just go with it. The real story is of a plantation, as seen through modern eyes, as it passes hands and slaves are bought and sold, and put through the hell that is slavery. It shows the progression, and lack of progression, of a single slaveholder as he is torn between the norms of his time, his own weakness of will, and the greater angel that tries (sometimes successfully) to guide him. It is the story of a modern woman forced to face head on the reality of her many times great grandmothers and grandfathers and in the process learn what freedom means, what trust means, and what love means. She finds her strength to never give in to the horror of slavery, and more, when she feels she should doubt the person she loves most, she finds the strength to give in to trust. As a story, it is astonishing. As an adaptation, it falls shy. I guess I'm more used to the art style of Marvel and DC, but this looked clumsy. There are sections of prose thrown in directly from the book because the artist couldn't portray it in the comic form. There are sections made less clear in the comic than they were in the novel (it seems like she can't decide if she's trying to pass as Kevin's slave or a free woman in the beginning). I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    I'd like to say that this is a great adaptation of Butler's classic sci-fi novel, but I've never read the original Kindred. Regardless, Jennings and Duffy do an outstanding job of using the visual medium to (re)tell an engaging narrative that addresses profound issues of race in America. This is one of those adaptations, I would guess, where an awareness of the original isn't necessary to appreciate the translation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    3.5 stars I’ve not read Kindred, but I want to get more into graphic novels again, so I couldn’t pass this up at ALA. I struggled a bit with Parable of the Sower, the one Butler novel I read, but the graphic novel format worked really well. Reading an advance graphic novel is interesting. Take this review with a whole lot of salt, because the final graphic novel’s going to be in color, but the ARC is black and white and much of it isn’t close to final art. Towards the end, some panels are even jus 3.5 stars I’ve not read Kindred, but I want to get more into graphic novels again, so I couldn’t pass this up at ALA. I struggled a bit with Parable of the Sower, the one Butler novel I read, but the graphic novel format worked really well. Reading an advance graphic novel is interesting. Take this review with a whole lot of salt, because the final graphic novel’s going to be in color, but the ARC is black and white and much of it isn’t close to final art. Towards the end, some panels are even just very rough early sketches. The art wasn’t what I was excited about here, so that’s okay. Kindred‘s another one of those stories that’s compelling but really painful to read. Everything’s terrible basically all of the time. I mean, it’s about a black woman mysteriously time traveling to a plantation during the era of slavery. Butler does an amazing job highlighting how toxic that time period was and just how easy it can be to get caught up in horrible patterns. The way that Dana, a modern woman, adjusts to slavery is terrifying, as is the way that those attitudes affect her white husband, Kevin, after he ends up trapped in the past for a while. And, realistically, they actually probably had a better time of it than they really would have, which makes everything scarier. This release is happening at a time when we all need the reminder of what we can’t let America be again. There’s a sense at times that something’s missing. Particularly in the climax, there are a couple of panels where I’m not sure what actually happened. (view spoiler)[How did her arm actually get cut off? (hide spoiler)] The graphic novel’s much shorter than the actual book, and there’s less text, so obviously some things are simplified or removed. The story’s still effective, but I do rather want to read the actual book now and see what I missed and if some arcs work a bit better that way. Kindred serves as a fast-paced, easy reading, ouch my feels introduction to Octavia Butler. After reading this, I very much want to try more of her novels.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This graphic novel just did not do it for me. As most reviewers state, the artwork takes away from the story. It is truly distracting and not attractive at all. The graphic, in total, does not do Butler's book justice as it does not present the depth or urgency of the times.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ugh! Love this book, but it inflames me. Rufus was horrid. The dad was worse. The Mom wasn't any better. Alice. Poor Alice- she never had a chance. To know slavery isn't an isolated event that brings out the worst in humans. At any time humans have complete control over other humans the most deplorable behaviors will arise-effortlessly. And, of course, the Bible will be used to convey a lesser species of human to aid in the evil demonic behaviors. Rewrite later...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    4.5 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rich in Color

    Kindred is not generally tagged as young adult, but it will likely be a cross-over title and it was one I wanted to read for our focus on women in graphic novels this month. Dana, the main character, has just turned twenty-six when the main action begins so it’s not about teens, but Dana’s a young woman and is interacting with a variety of young people. It’s a book that deals with slavery through the eyes of a relatively contemporary person and it shows aspects of slavery and racism through mult Kindred is not generally tagged as young adult, but it will likely be a cross-over title and it was one I wanted to read for our focus on women in graphic novels this month. Dana, the main character, has just turned twenty-six when the main action begins so it’s not about teens, but Dana’s a young woman and is interacting with a variety of young people. It’s a book that deals with slavery through the eyes of a relatively contemporary person and it shows aspects of slavery and racism through multiple perspectives. Dana’s beliefs about slavery are challenged as she lives among enslaved people. Things are not as clear-cut as she had thought. Dana learns about what she’s willing to do to survive and finds herself doing things that go against her ideals. This book also deals with interracial relationships. The relationship Dana has with her white husband is simply incomprehensible to the people on the southern plantation 30+ years before the Civil War. A white man using the body of a black woman is accepted, or at least ignored by whites, but a white man loving a black woman is somehow shameful. Even in the 1970s, Dana and Kevin’s marriage isn’t fully accepted by some of their own family members. This issue, among many many others, highlights the fact that slavery affected everyone involved and those effects lasted throughout generations. In some ways, the graphic aspect of this adaptation added to the original story. The visuals keep the pacing quick and definitely bring the action to life. Some of the scenes are extremely painful to see and increase the emotional impact of the events and interactions. In other ways though, this format wasn’t quite as powerful as the novel. For this to work, the text had to be streamlined and while the overall story line remained intact and the main ideas are all there, some of the more subtle aspects were missing or just not as clear. I was glad I’d read both so my brain could fill in some of the blanks. For those who have never read Butler’s works before, this would be a great introduction that would likely lead readers to want more. Those familiar with Kindred will probably enjoy the adaptation, but may find it lacking a little of the depth. Recommendation: Get it soon. This graphic novel adaptation is one more way to experience an amazingly powerful story from Octavia Butler.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    This rating/review is based on an ARC from Netgalley. I'm pretty bummed that I didn't like this. To be fair, it's hard to compare anything to the brilliance of the original novel; but there's definitely something lost in the visual translation. Ok so more thoughts. I really hated the visual style. I found it super distracting and really broad and flashy in ways that the book was subtle and quiet. I hated Kevin in this version. In the novel I found him quiet and unassuming, where here he was non-st This rating/review is based on an ARC from Netgalley. I'm pretty bummed that I didn't like this. To be fair, it's hard to compare anything to the brilliance of the original novel; but there's definitely something lost in the visual translation. Ok so more thoughts. I really hated the visual style. I found it super distracting and really broad and flashy in ways that the book was subtle and quiet. I hated Kevin in this version. In the novel I found him quiet and unassuming, where here he was non-stop annoying. For me the novel packed way more of an emotional punch. The prose is really stunning and the characters are so well-drawn. But here I found the characterization very clumsy and nothing really hit me with the same emotional resonance. I'm not going to rate it because it's just not for me, and because it feels wrong to give any version of Kindred a bad rating. Just read the novel! It's so good!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Harper Miller

    2.5 stars. Kindred is my favorite book. It's royalty in the badass book hierarchy. I'd been anticipating this graphic novel for a long while, and I suppose my expectations were a bit too high. I wasn't thrilled with the illustration and some of the choices made by the editors. I wanted so much more from this but was left feeling unfulfilled. Super bummed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    paula

    [for 6-9 group] So glad to see a g/n adaptation of this important and gripping novel. Final version will be full color, and I think that will help with some character identifications - I find it hard to tell the two white men apart. Is the plot a little compressed?

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