As with the first book in this series, Butler creates a world that is both alien and familiar. Akin, the hero of the story, has a human mother and an Oankali father which makes him able to sympathize with both cultures. Unfortunately, he is too human to live among the aliens, but too alien to feel comfortable with the humans.
This book is compelling, but difficult to understand if you have not read the first book in the series. The names alone are a challenge. However, it is worth the effort. Butler has many terrific insights into human nature. She also creates a lot of sympathy for the human/alien hybrid, Akin.
If you have never read a Butler book before, I would recommend beginning with the first book in the series; however, even if you are not a huge fan of science fiction, you might enjoy this book since it is more about culture than about technology.