Book Reviews

Review: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, Illustrations by John Lennings and Adapted by Damian Duffy

The graphic adaptation of the novel, Kindred, is a fantastic introduction to both the novel and the phenomenal works of Octavia Butler. Just like Nnendi Okorafor, my life was changed by Octavia Butler. She was a role model for me, not as an author, but as an example of the immense possibilities of what science fiction can be, coming from a female author. I enjoyed her Xenogenesis trilogy so much that I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis about the posthuman in the novels. I have read Kindred before in a course that focused on African American novels about the effects of the repressed trauma of slavery, generations later.

That being said, this graphic adaptation is a wonderful way to show people the power of Butler’s work, as well as the brilliance of Kindred. I hope it inspires a thorough reading of the original, with these images in the background. This adaptation and the original can be beneficial to each other, as the adaptation enriches the experience of the story. As an adaptation, the work is quite true to the story while highlighting important conversations so that the philosophical and thematic elements are not lost.


While I enjoyed the story, as I would, and the adaptation, the cartoon style was hard to enjoy. Preferring more fluid lines and fantast elements, the straight lines and exaggerated facial expressions were almost jarring. I got used to the style, but it never became something I enjoyed. All other aspects of the illustrations, such as the colors and layout, were pleasing (neither strongly positive nor negative in either direction).


It was great to be reacquainted with Kindred in a wonderful adaptation that I hope turns the fantastic original into a format that people can easily consume who, hungry for more, go on to read the novel. Because of the ease of reading and true-to-the-original plotline, I would highly recommend this story to anyone who is unfamiliar with Octavia Butler, is interested in books that deal with slavery, and those who are interested in looking at racism from a different perspective. If you want to purchase a copy for yourself, here is the link for Amazon, but I would recommend you either read it on a large screen, or get your hands on it in print.

But what about you?

What is your favorite graphic adaptation or comic book? I would love to read more of these in the future (I already have some on my wish list).


Disclaimer: I received this comic in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

Book Cover image from here.


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