KayKay #CBR5 Review #14 Patternmaster by Octavia Butler



My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

This is the last installment of the Seed To Harvest series (There is a fifth book, which is in the Patternmaster series, but not a part of the Seed to Harvest compilation).  The series has its highs (Mind of My Mind) and it’s lows (Wild Seed), where does Patternmaster fit in?  I thought it would be an epic showdown between Clayarks and Patternist, but Octavia Butler took this book in a different direction.  Here’s what I thought:


I expected a showdown between the Clayarks and Patternist, but the plot of this book circled around the struggle between Teray and Coransee.  These two brothers are the sons of the current Patternmaster (who is about to die) and his lead wife.  In fact, at the end, there was a one line note about how Teray killed “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of Clayarks, and that was it!  No showdown at all (Teray could just kill them with a thought, and once he linked with more patternist he had a pretty expansive range).

Plot Score: 3/5

Location, Location, Location

This was placed in a post-human world.  The only humans left are mutes that are controlled by Patternist.  The Clayark disease has pretty much wiped out humanity.  There are still ruins of civilization, but it’s a post-apocalyptic state.

Location Score: 3/5

Characters and Relationships

Teray- All he wants is to be the head of his own house, and not someone else’s slave.  Unfortunately his brother is really working to ‘tame’ him.  He refuses to concede to his brother, although he is forced to give up his wife to his brother (but he has no problems finding and proposing to another woman).  The important thing about Teray is that he has strength (not as much as Coransee), and the ability to heal.

Coransee- All he wants is to take over as patternmaster, and he is prepared to subjugate his brother to do so.  He has more strength than anyone, but he is unable to heal.  He also is not that caring for the people in his house.  The mutes are being abused (which Teray deals with when he comes).  I was surprised that his character is presented as a jerk, but he does not kill his brother, despite repeated opportunities to do so.

Amber- The healer that Teray falls in love with (after his wife decides to stay with Coransee).  She was living with Coransee (although she was independent and not a member of his house).  She decides to leave with Teray, as Coransee is becoming too possessive.  She was a great tough chick, and wanted to be the head of her own house, and not someones lead wife.

Characters Score: 3/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

As always, there are several variations of families.  Coransee and Joachim run their houses in a different  manners (Coransee goes with strength, where as Joachim goes on compatibility).  And this book basically picks a replacement Patternmaster in Teray, since Coransee doesn’t have the right balance to lead the Patternist family.

Bigger Meaning Score: 3/5


Opening Line: “Rayal had his lead wife, Jansee, with him on that last night.”

I love her writing style, but this book (and maybe this is due to the fact that this one was the first book she wrote in this series, although chronologically, it’s the last) left too many loose ends for me.  I liked when there are character threads between the books, Doro was apart of the first two, then Clay Dana was mentioned book 2 and 3, but I didn’t see any references to anyone I knew in book 4.

Style Score: 4/5

Final Thoughts? 

-If Rayal was blown up in the prologue, is that how he got the Clayark disease?  Did I miss something here?  At one point they were worrying about kids and laying in bed, then total destruction, then their grown sons are battling out to take over Rayals spot.

-It was a good character story, but I expected more action…

-I expected some bridge from when Mary became the first Patternmaster to Rayal (the current patternmaster).  I did not see any references to the earlier characters, did I miss something?

Total Score and Recommendation
16/25 – If you are in for the series then, you should finish with this book.

One thought on “KayKay #CBR5 Review #14 Patternmaster by Octavia Butler

  1. Jen K March 7, 2013 at 12:44 am Reply

    I was waiting to see what you thought – I, too, remember being surprised by where it went given the stories the other novels had told.

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