Wild Seed (Patternmaster I) by Octavia Butler
One of the strengths of Butler’s writing style is that all of the fantastical and human elements are played completely straight. It takes a great author to write a story about history transcending shapeshifters in such a way that the premise is neither harped on nor glossed over. Butler puts in such a way that once you’re about twenty pages into the book it would never even occur to you that this is not a realistic premise. Really good, and suffers only from the feeling that this is the first part of a longer series.