This is a thoroughly enjoyable stand-alone novel with well-developed characters and a frightening premise: two immortals with roots in Africa go to America to build communities of people with superhuman powers. The more manipulative of the immortals is named Doro, and his immortality is based on death and destruction (he must possess and kill the bodies of others in order to sustain his deathless life). The other immortal, Anyanwu, is diametrically opposed to this kind of behavior, as her powers are based on an innate understanding of life (she is able to understand and manipulate each of her tissues and bacteria living within her body, and so she is able to halt aging and even shape change). Anyanwu is thus also able to sustain the lives of others since she is so in-tune with biological organisms that she can create cures for those without her special abilities. Thus, she bases her life in raising tribes of moral people around her, who she can help and protect, while Doro raises people as if they are livestock, to feed his hunger for the souls of others. Yet, Doro and Anyanwu do have one irresistible bond: they both know that their loved ones will inevitably die, but they will be doomed to live forever. Wild Seed is therefore essentially a character study of the relationship between these two very strange, yet strangely familiar, characters who hate and love each other at the same time for very good reasons.
This was the first Octavia Butler book I ever read. Now that I have read several of her other novels, I can easily say that this one is my favorite so far, but some of her others come close. If you enjoy this book, read her Lilith's Brood series; it is similarly based on genetics and biology as a background to incredible happenings.
Butler certainly rivals the likes of Orson Scott Card and others in creating believable, sympathetic, flawed characters; highly recommended.