MOBI Octavia E. Butler ☆ Fledgling Epub ð ☆

Fledgling Octavia Butler's new novel after a seven year break is the story of an apparently young amnesiac girl whose alarmingly inhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion She is in fact a genetically modified 53 year old vampire Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life she must at the same time learn who wanted and still wants to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of otherness and uestions what it means to be truly human

10 thoughts on “Fledgling

  1. says:

    I admit that I wanted to like this than I did simply because I am a big fan of Kindred I was slightly ambivalent about another book on vampires however and while I tried not to take that into serious account when reading Butler it still crept inMostly however I liked the book fine Any major issues I have can be neatly summed up in my opinion on uasi pedophile literature in general It's designed to make us suirm If it doesn't make you suirm then maybe you're reading just a tad too much pedo literature Suffice to say I suirmed a lot I tried telling myself over and over that a 53 year old vampire with amnesia with the body of an eleven year old girl should be judged on the stated facts alone not by the super creepy visceral feel it evokes Putting that aside the rest of the novel doesn't break any new ground Far from it Can anyone else remember a novel that starts out with an amnesiac MC? Anyone? Is it one out of six novels? By proportion I do believe that about that many of us in real life must be amnesiac It makes sense doesn't it? That's probably why we keep forgetting how many times we've read novels with amnesiac main charactersMoving on Slow build discovery that we're dead Check Mind rolling all the first people we meet Check Falling into long term relationships with these random people Check Now let's have a little violence and ask the uestion of why Uh oh Vampire politics Check Voila One vampire novel to order It did have a kinda courtroom feel at the end no? sighI may sound like I hated this novel but no Like I said it was fine Not extremely creative just a tad or a bit than a lot of creepy The horror aspect went away pretty early and the novel fell into a comfortable settle in with her mind rolled lovers before it became Law and Order for bloodsuckers It just feels like I've read this book before Many times And the only thing that makes it stand out is the fact that it creeps my non pedo self out That's not exactly high praisesighNext please

  2. says:

    Vampires Sci fi vampires Octavia Butler While I love Octavia Butler I have been avoiding Fledgling for a while because Twilight and the “paranormal romance” genre that followed in its wake are anathema to me I knew of course that Ms Butler would never slum it with Stephenie Meyer but the subject matter is kind of spoiled for me Still I am running out of Octavias to read so I did not want to skip one of her all too few – novels just because of my disillusion with vampire fiction in generalOctavia Butler writes entertaining books but they are never mindless entertainments she always has her non pecuniary reasons for writing them So when she takes on the popular vampire genre you can be sure there is to the story than sexy neck biting To say that Fledgling is an allegory is to disregard Ms Butler’s love of storytelling for its own sake The book is not all about the allegory you can completely ignore the underlying message and still enjoy the finely crafted narrative Perhaps it will make you reflect on something you have experienced in real life perhaps not it does not matter As usual with Octavia Butler's books I found it to be compelling from page one There was no need to familiarize myself with the setting or the style no need to take a peek at the book’s synopsis just dive into it and let the lady work her magic Fledgling is about Shori a “young” 53 year old vampire At the beginning of the book she wakes up in a cave badly burned injured blind and without memory of who or what she is Fortunately some poor unsuspecting creature comes within her reach and she immediately eats it and starts healing rapidly though her memory remains lost She stumbles onto a road and a kindly unsuspecting chap picks her up in his car to take her to a hospital She refuses to go to a hospital he won’t hear of her objections and so she bit him A strange symbiotic relationship beginsThe main plot of the book concerns Shori’s attempt to find who tried to kill her caused her to lose her memory and as she later learns killed her entire family “It doesn’t seem fair that you can’t convert us like all the stories say” “That would be very strange” I said “If a dog bit a man no one would expect the man to become a dog He might get an infection and die but that’s the worst”As I mentioned earlier this is a sci fi variation of vampire fiction The vampires are not supernatural creatures but another species called “Ina” that have been living in secret among humans for as long as they can remember They do need blood but they do not kill humans for it Instead they form symbiotic relationships with selected humans and the symbionts benefit from the chemicals in Ina’s venom which extend their lives and cure their illnesses “His memory should improve because I was with him because now and then I would bite him injecting whatever I injected into people when I bit them”The sci fi aspect of Fledgling makes a nice change and the concept somewhat believable The novel is masterfully plotted and paced without a dull moment though some readers may be put off by the odd non explicit scenes of kinky vampire sex and moments of sentimentality Shori in spite of being a vampire is a fairly typical Butler protagonist strong willed compassionate and black The theme of being an outcast being lonely and having the courage and moral fortitude to overcome these issues in a positive manner is something Butler often returns to The author has some fun with the vampire tropes as can be seen from some of the uotes below but importantly she weaved in the perennial themes of tolerance dealing with racial prejudice and fortitude in the face of adversity There is some violence in this book nothing overly graphic or extreme; it would be nice to be able to resolve all conflicts without resorting violence but this is not really an option under the circumstances hereSo another very satisfying Octavia Butler book I think I only have a couple left unread and one of them is an anthology ╥﹏╥ Link to my cough “insightful” review ಠ‿↼uotes “I wound up eating most of someone’s little nanny goat I didn’t mean to take a domestic animal but it was all I found after hours of searching It must have escaped from some farm Better the goat than its owner”“Invite me in” At once she stood aside and said “Come in”This was a bit of vampire theater I knew it and I was fairly sure she knew it too She had probably been brushing up on vampires recently Of course I didn’t need permission to enter her home or anyone else’s“Tell me about the lawyers” “One of the ones I bit might be good for you” Wayne said

  3. says:

    35 – 4 stars Another vampire book review from the guy who says he’s not a fan of vampires? Yeah well I’m trying to find the good ones not the dreck that’s jumped onto the Twilight bandwagon And uite frankly I didn’t pick this one up because it was a vampire book per se but because it was one by Octavia Butler whose work I’ve been meaning to look into and this is the only stand alone that I’m aware of It turned out to be a good book though there are some possibly ‘problematic’ issues with itIn some ways there are superficial resemblances between this one and the last vampire book I read Let the Right One In both books have as their star apparently pre pubescent vampires who have ‘complicated’ relationships with their human companions In Lindvist’s case it was a Renfield like adult who was enamoured of the vampire child for whom he obtained blood and the young boy who becomes a part of her life In the case of Butler’s book the vampire in uestion Shori isn’t even only apparently pre pubescentaccording to vampire physiology she is in fact still a child though that still translates to her being much older than her appearance would suggest around 52 years old in fact Despite this fact the relationships she has with the humans around her bear all of the appearances of a pedophilic relationship at least from the outsideYou see in Butler’s take on the vampire mythology the Ina what vampires call themselves are not undead They don’t actually know what they are whether it be an off shoot of humanity or an alien race but they are incredibly long lived are harmed by direct sunlight and reuire blood preferably human blood to survive So far Butler follows the myth pretty closely Where she deviates to the greatest extent is around the relationships that they have with their ‘prey’ Far from being nocturnal hunters out to slaughter as many human cattle as possible to feed their blood thirst these vampires actually maintain a group of humans called symbionts who share their lives with the Ina and in exchange for the benefits that Ina venom provides to humans they give the vampire their blood as well as personal and emotional companionship What benefits does the venom in Ina saliva provide? Well longer life for one human symbionts live about twice as long as normal humans They are also immune to most illnesses and tend to stay young through most of their lives as symbionts depending on when they were ‘turned’ of course The sex is also great The mere act of being fed upon seems to provoke a reaction in the symbiont akin to the best sex you’ve ever had and the Ina also like indulging in sex play with their symbionts and the fact that they aren’t cross fertile is just icing on the cake right? The down side? Well symbionts become addicted to the Ina venom in their bodyactually to the specific venom of their personal Ina and will soon go crazy and die without it They also end up having an attachment to their Ina that is so close they cannot refuse a reuest or order made by them Also if they are the jealous kind they will likely have an uncomfortable life in the Ina’s family since one Ina generally reuires at least seven or eight humans to be his or her personal symbionts or harem if you will so there’s a lot of sharingof everythinggoing onHow does this all play out when the Ina in uestion is apparently an eleven year old black girl whose first symbiont is a white male in his mid twenties? I’ll let you decide All I can say is that I enjoyed the story from most angles Butler’s idea that vampires would be likely to shepherd the humans they reuire for survival instead of going on nightly and gratuitous killing sprees made a heck of a lot of sense I’ve always wondered what those vampires in stories where they are coming out of hiding and hunting down humanity are thinking who are they going to feed on once they wipe out the human race and why create an imminent resource shortage even if they plan on doing something about it in the long term? The story opens as Shori awakens in pain and confusion in a cave and immediately succumbs to her base instincts in order to survive As she continues to hunt feed and heal she comes to herself but still has no memory of exactly who or what she is Eventually she makes her way down to a nearby community that has been utterly destroyed in a fire There are no bodies and she has no memory of the place but thinks it may have something to do with her Deciding to look for other people in the hope that they can help her she eventually comes across Wright and finds herself instinctively attracted to him and ends up making him her first ‘symbiont’ Together they must learn exactly who and what Shori is and their uestions lead them into dangerous territory for it turns out that Shori was an experiment of some members of the Inavampire community an attempt to graft Ina with human African American genes in order to combat their natural weakness to the sun Not all members of the Ina community were in favour of this and so Shori’s uest of discovery also becomes a fight for survival as she slowly tries to regain a semblance of what she was before her ‘accident’Any ick factor aside I thought that Butler’s depiction of the relationships that developed between Ina and their symbionts was well done There are obviously uestions of freedom and choice involved here After all if you were basically chemically conditioned to love someone to obey them to be utterly devoted to them what would it mean about any choice any feeling you had for them? On the other hand most symbionts are made aware of the implications of their union with an Ina before any final step is taken in the bondingof course that might just be akin to saying they only give the addict a couple of doses of the drug and they aren’t yet technically dependent on it before asking them if they want any Still I got the feeling that most of the relationships between Ina and symbionts were loving and ‘real’ and it was apparent that the Ina were just as dependent on their symbionts as vice versa and not just for blood the emotional bond seemed to go both ways So does Butler turn love devotion and desire into purely biological responses and imperatives or could it be argued that even in human relationships they already are? How much of what we do and decide about those in our lives is truly ‘free’? How much is pre determined by our biology our experiences and our background? Who can say what’s really behind that ‘spark’ that attracts you to one person and not another? It may not be Ina venom but is it something any less chemically or physiologically induced? I don’t know I’m just rambling here but for some reason I just wasn’t as bothered by the venom element of the Ina Symbiont bond Maybe I’m just a submissive at heartThere is of course also an investigation of race and purity Not only is Shori visibly Black a member of a human minority though apparently to Ina that has no importance she is a hybrid a half breed mix of Ina and human genes whose end is to produce a better stronger Ina capable of overcoming the natural weaknesses and limitations of the traditional ‘pure breed’ So now we have Shori straddling an interesting dichotomy on the one hand she is basically the product of a eugenic experiment though one whose methods appear to have been benign whose end goal is something that might be called a ‘master race’; on the other hand she is the victim of horrific persecution and bigotry for not being ‘pure Ina’ and her life and that of those she loves is in danger as a result Will you like this story? I don’t know I did but I can see how many people would find it as I mentioned above problematic Butler’s prose is fine though nothing to write home about and I found a few instances where I thought she over described a scene such as adding details about the kind of sandwiches and other paraphernalia they packed for lunch in ways that seemed unnecessary Overall though I found myself carried along with the story and thought that she did a very good job of both keeping the plot moving and doing it through the development of well rounded and interesting characters Ultimately this was for me a story about just that characters and the personal relationships and growth that they experienced

  4. says:

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestI am shocked that this was published by the same Octavia E Butler who wrote PARABLE OF THE SOWER and KINDRED It felt like it was written by a totally different person If I hadn't looked at the publication date and seen the 2005 I would have thought that this was a less successful first novel That seriously bums me out because I love vampire novels and the idea of reading a novel about a black vampire that explores the themes of racism within a supernatural context sounded fascinating especially since I had loved what I'd read of this author before and how she explored similar themes within the science fiction framework Joining me in this buddy read was my fellow vampire lover Heather who doesn't seem to be into this book either for many of the same reasons I'm about to dive intoShori is an adolescent vampire who awakes at the beginning of the novel to find herself mortally wounded and in a severe amount of pain She's picked by a hitchhiker who intends to drive her to the hospital until she bites him and that makes him sexually attracted to her and crave her like she's a drug and he's an addict This would be fine if she didn't flipping look like a preteen It's mentioned several times that she looks like a child and while complaining about this in one of my status updates I had someone basically tell me that I shouldn't be so offended Well I am I think that's gross And I don't care if she's fifty three in human years even in vampire years she's prepubescent because it's mentioned several times that she's not fully developed and can't yet reproduce even if her sexual organs are functioning ugh and they are prepare yourself for incredibly gross sex scenesI don't have children so I can't imagine how gross and uncomfortable this would be for people who do I don't want to read about adolescent sex or sex with people who look adolescent especially not if it's framed as a functional and desirable relationship I get that Octavia Butler was a daring writer who pushed boundaries of what was socially acceptable in order to challenge the status uo something my critic seemed to be arguing albeit slightly less elouently but it's my right to say when I feel like an author goes too far for my own personal tastes I felt the same way about Bryn Greenwood's ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS which is basically a romance between an eight year old girl and a fully grown man One person's oh my god that's so brave and literary is another person's no god no why would you write that? what the hell?Apart from the grossness of the female character and her ahem relationships with other characters in the book I did like the way vampires were presented here they call themselves the Ina and they have their own rules and social hierarchies that reminded me of the Xenogenesis saga except that didn't have gross underage freakiness and I thought the trial at the end was interesting The problem with this book is that it's slow AF and while the human and compassionate part of you wants Shori to get revenge for the awful things that happened to her the reader and hedonist part of you is going to be bored off your ass waiting for anything resembling a climax EW no not that kind of climax get out of here you gross person to happen This is Butler's weakest effort by far15 stars

  5. says:

    this review has spoilers that will do irreversible damage to those who have not read the book is long and is i'm afraid rather academic in tone because i just think that way be warned Fledgling opens with a birth scene of sorts a little girl we don’t yet know that she’s a little girl but find out soon enough wakes up in a cave in tremendous physical pain her body is badly injured we gather from the description than a human being would be able to survive she’s covered head to toe in severe burn wounds she can barely move her skull is fractured in at least two places she’s blind she weaves in out of consciousness besides feeling in agonizing pain the girl is hungry in a way that feels life or death to her a large animal comes near her she immediately kills it and eats it raw a few days later she’s on her feet and well on her way to healing she hunts down deer kills them with her bare hands devours them on the spot the birth symbols – the cave the physical pain the blindness the total incapacitation the starving need the complete amnesia – seem to me to signify both sides of the birth couple the girl is both baby and mother; she gives rebirth to herself what the girl slowly discovers through well plotted and well paced steps of knowledge and self knowledge acuisition is that she’s a vampire who used to live in an all female community and that this community was wiped out in its entirety by humans soon she finds the male community formed her father brothers and older relatives but this community too is soon almost entirely wiped out by humansin the meantime shori’s instincts and deeply rooted needs and desires have led her to discover everything is a discovery for her and the amnesia never resolves itself the pleasure of drinking blood from humansthe rapport between the vampires or “Ina” not just a different race but a different species entirely and the humans they feed on is easily the most mesmerizing enthralling and to me frankly pleasurable aspect of the novel in the narrative i can detect – feel? – butler’s easy she’d been doing this for years and her novels always tread on the dark edge of the forbidden which is probably why she chose to write sci fi or speculative fiction dipping in her own unconscious into a pool of profound womanlesbian longing that is rarely represented in literature the whole book seems to me an answer to freud’s famous uestion “what do women want?” it seems both the representation of deep seated and therefore tabooed female desires and the luscious unbridled fantasy of their fulfillment butler needs to push the envelope of difference in the desiring subject as much as possible shori the first person narrator is uniue both in the cast of characters who people the book and perhaps importantly in the cast of characters who are likely to read the book in a number of ways as far as the former is concerned she’s black one of her brothers is also black but of a much lighter hue and anyway he’s uickly dispatched by the assassins who are after shori’s family; a small number of humans are black as well but their blackness is not a primary issue in the novel the way shori’s is she’s alone the Ina live in communities and return to communities shori is alone and wants to stay that way form her own family instead of joining an existing one she’s small for her age she’s remarkably poised wise and intelligent and above all she’s an Ina human hybrid this last trait alongside her blackness is key in the novel but since it raises interpretive issues other than the ones i have at heart here i’ll set it aside as far as the readers are concerned she’s uniue in being a sexually active sexually promiscuous child who’s eually attracted to adult men and womenthis is the thing that interests me most so this is what i’ll talk about from now on shori who looks like a human 10 year old and is a 53 year old Ina is and isn’t a child in both worlds from a human point of view she of course belies appearances because she has 53 years of life under her belt at the same time not only does she look very much like a little girl to the human eye but also she’s just undergone a pretty thorough and literal rebirth and her memory is wiped entirely clean when she gently bites her first human he a man of 23 experiences intense sexual never described as such but clearly that’s what it is pleasure and so does she soon she tells him that he can have sex with her if he wants to because of the bond they have created through her feeding the man may or may not feel instinctive reluctance to have sex what a small 10 year old but does nonetheless shori is apparently the sex scenes are not very detailed an experienced lover and this makes wright the young man feel altogether better so that they go on to being regular lovers for the rest of the novel this is of course intensely disturbing to the reader what is an adult male doing having sex with a little abandoned kid he’s just rescued on the side of the road? vampires and their humans though have a uniue relationship first of all vampires are incredibly powerful not only physically they live a long time are always healthy heal themselves from injuries are superhumanly strong etc but emotionally the moment they bite someone the person experiences a pleasure that makes him or her little than putty in the vampire’s hands what stands between this and exploitation is the profound love vampires have for their symbionst and ethics the vampires desire their humans just as much as their humans desire them their bond is pretty much absolute even though humans mate with each other and have children of their own and vampires do the same the bond between vampires and symbionts is stronger than any other – it is visceral and necessary to the survival of both since vampires live as long as four or five hundred years and human symbionts to whom vampires communicate a lot of their physical gifts to 150 to 200 years vampires are doomed to losing their symbionts and the experience is described in the novel as so devastating as to be barely endurable whereas though vampires can replace their symbionts symbionts will get sick and possibly die if they lose the vampire to whom they are bonded other vampires can and will take over out of ethical obligation but it doesn’t always workas shori chooses and makes hers human after human the reader’s pleasure deepens the first human wright has little to no choice both he and shori have no knowledge of what is going on between them but whatever it is it’s irresistible to both of them because she can’t feed on one human alone shori then creeps into a woman’s bed at night and feeds on her the woman is immediately profoundly in love and so is shori technically they don’t have sex but they might as well have these are the only two humans shori chooses the other three she acuires in the book are two of them left behind adult female symbionts of her father’s and brother’s and one an adult male child of another symbiont who falls in love with shori and wants to be with her and to whom shori is incredibly drawn in other words she has a profound attraction to three of her symbionts and only grows to love the other two two of her symbionts the young man and the young woman she inherits from her brother are also blackthe desirefantasy this book portrays so effectively is that of total control over the love object if not possibly over love itself i submit that this is the desirefantasy of those whose sexuality is chronically disempowered – ueer people women who else? vampires cannot help reciprocating their humans’ love but making this love authentic rather than exploitative is entirely a matter of ethical upbringing and ethical choices shori for instance has to do violence to herself at first to allow herself to learn from her symbionts some of whom have been living in vampire families for a long time and know way about her people than she does her willingness to treat her symbionts as eual is depicted as an act of great respect and humility on her part much as the symbionts long for her shori has complete control over whom she feeds on whom she has sex with whom she chooses to love they don’t she also is clearly the head of the family she decides what gets done when; the symbionts only suggest over she’s responsible for making the symbionts get along with each other this last trait is of course reminiscent of motherhood in fact the whole feeding as a sexual act thing is very much a symbol of mother love even though in this case it is the mother child who feeds on the adult children this role reversal is profound on many levels because it gestures toward the breaking of a primal taboo it shocks and pleasures at the same time the smallness of shori’s body is always on the front of the page she climbs into her symbionts’ laps is enfolded in their arms and when they have traditional intercourse which happens only with the men always needs to position herself and have her symbiont position himself carefullyinterestingly while butler describes with great intensity the pleasure shori derives from licking her symbionts’ blood she doesn’t always feed on them; sometimes she just tastes them because it gives them both tremendous pleasure she does not describe the pleasure she derives from having sex on the matter of sex while shori is allowed to have sex with her symbionts she is not yet allowed to have sex with other vampires even though there is tremendous attraction between young male vampires and herself i think she’d probably be around 16 in vampire age and she’s too young to mate for one she couldn’t reproduce for two she’s just too young the rules of proper age mating hold just fine in the intra vampire world which problematically sort of dehumanizes the humans as i was reading the book i kept slipping into a dissociative mode in which i perceived my dog as a symbiont she is profoundly bonded to me and loves me without any capacity for rejection she obeys me even when it deprives her of pleasure as when i ask her to go to her bed instead of staying on mine with me i am bonded to her too and i am as fiercely protective of her as vampires are of their symbionts with all probability she will die sooner than i and her death will devastate me if i die before she does someone will take her over out of ethical obligation to meif we want to eschew the suggestion that butler dehumanizes her humans we can say that at least she infantilizes them i cannot imagine reading this book if i had kids i can stand seeing my dog the way vampires in the book see humans but it would disturb me way too much to see my kids that wayat the same time seeing myself as a very powerful kid vampire who can control and attract so many adults significantly no one vampire or not is younger than shori in the book and has such wise command of her emotions and her body was tremendously thrilling to me i don’t know if the thrill i derived from this book is a conseuence of my history and some damaged part of my emotional makeup but i doubt all of those who liked it and felt disturbed by it have my same wounds as i said i think this book appeals to those – women ueer people maybe disabled people etc – who are at a social disadvantage in the domain of sex and love i admire tremendously what butler did here – the courage it took to write this on the surface reprehensible and distasteful book her artistic integrity her vulnerability

  6. says:

    One of the best books I've read is Kindred Octavia Butler's 1979 time travel novel Had it been published twenty years earlier I'm sure it would've put her on Rod Serling's radar as he scouted writers for The Twilight Zone Butler's use of dark fantasy to dramatize issues of social injustice and racism and explore our reaction to genocide wrapped me up in a spell I hesitated to read of Butler's work fearing it wouldn't measure up Fledgling doesn't measure up I scanned the second half of the novel so I wouldn't have to abandon it and pin it with one star but this book warrants a rating that low Butler's final novel published in 2005 a year before her death apparently came after a period of writer's block depression and health issues I can only speculate that the author wanted the book finished before her time ran out but this effort is a major disappointmentThe story is the first person account of an adolescent girl who awakens in a cave with no memory of who she is or how she came to be there She finds herself able to devour an animal that comes near her and though naked and covered with scars begins to heal herself She wanders through a small village that seems to have been burned down recently and stumbling onto a road lures a motorist to stop to helpWright Hamlin is a 23 year old construction worker renting a nearby cabin from his aunt and uncle The girl which Wright names Renee bites him on the hand but rather than feel pain he instead feels a strange ecstasy Knowing she's far too young for him to get involved with Wright nonetheless feels a connection to her He concludes rather uickly that she is a vampire He takes her homeOf the thousand different directions Butler could've taken the story I would've liked one focusing on the doomed relationship between Wright and Renee Butler instead has her characters launch into talking the sort speculation found in futuristic science fiction novels Poorly written futuristic science fiction novelsWith her physical and psychological control of Wright complete Renee leads him back to the ruins where she makes contact with a man who reveals himself to be her father Renee is really Shori Matthews a 53 year old being known as an Ina who has some of the characteristics which folklore attributes to vampires immortality the need of blood for sustenance feats of physical strength aversion to sunlight Shori who's black is an experiment by her family to develop a dark skinned Ina who can stay awake by day Ina being heavy sleepers This genetic kink may be the reason Shori's mother and aunts were wiped out in the village While the racial and hereditary makeup of Shori is intriguing it isn't a story and instead of telling the reader a story Butler devotes page after page of the novel to talking I don't want to read a novel about characters discussing vampires I want to read a novel about characters doing something about vampires This is the failure of Fledgling The book reads like a first draft a junk draft with a lot of ideas and concepts and family history that might've been useful to the author in later drafts but what's being passed off as the book isn't fit for publicationThe dialogue is atrocious worse than a Chinese martial arts film dubbed into English And no doubt that will make you feel better she said But it won't help you You've shown your teeth Shori They're sharp and set in strong female jaws You are now less the victim and the potentially dangerous opponent You begin to overshadow your deadThere's a lot of What did it all mean? and What had I done? rudimentary Young Adult novel writing which makes no sense if the main character is 53 The book is repetitive convoluted and poorly edited Worse it's boring The last uarter is essentially Escape From the Planet of the Apes with Shori being uestioned by a commission and talking talking talking about the differences between herself and her inuisitors The idea of a black immortal or one who resembled an 11 year old girl were uniue and ripe for exploration An idea I found repulsive and is explored ad nauseam is the symbiotic relationship between Ina and the human beings it gathers into a family unit to feed on injecting a venom that make their symbioants dependent on them both physically and psychologicallyThere's a lot of writing here about being paired being mated and being controlled Interesting ideas but I don't want to read ideas and I don't want to read about characters being forced to do things without their consent It's not only immoral it's boring Fledgling is not what I'd call a vampire novel The speculative aspect sticks much closer to futuristic science fiction and there's nothing remotely eerie about this For a book about an immortal predator and the impact it has on a community read Let the Right One In instead

  7. says:

    This was so disappointing I'm actually bothered by this I'm such a big fan of Octavia Butler's novel Kindred and this one her last before her unfortunate passing almost felt like it was written by someone else The book actually sports a really great concept that's ripe for tons of conflict and exploration of ideas and themes The story is about an amnesiac 11 year old looking girl and her rediscovery that she is in fact an experimental member of the Ina a vampiric species that live in a mutually symbiotic relationship with several humans She is one of a few Ina that have dark skin who's melanin might be the key to withstanding the sun rays There are so many cool ideas that can stem from these concepts and that's what kept me reading longer than I normally would have with this book But these cool concepts are totally betrayed by not only the blandest plot you could ever come up with from such a great idea but also some of the dullest and most lackluster writing I've ever come across While Butler's work on Kindred had such an urgent insistence to it and a great sense of personality and pace the work in this one was devoid of not only that but also lacked any flavor or style leaving nothing but dry awkward and totally redundant dialogue along with wikipedia like info dumps about Butler's ideas every two pages She should have taken a note from George R R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series for a good example of how to organically provide tons of exposition And I think it might have been a mistake to write this in first person Not only is it already tricky to successfully pull off an amnesiac protagonist in first person but our heroine's inner dialogue was laughable and sometimes cringe inducing at times with lots of annoying what have I done?'s and could it be?'s throughout like a bad YA book written for pre teen girlsI'll give the book a couple stars because it does bring up some great ideas about sex race and racism and free will but a better constructed delivery of these ideas could have turned this into an utter masterpiece And I keep bringing up her work on Kindred because it proves that Butler could have done better I read somewhere that she was having a hard time writing while taking medication later in her years and wasn't very confident about fledgling So she probably knew she was capable of as well

  8. says:

    Imagine that you are driving home one day and come across an interesting looking person by the side of the road You invite this person into your car and are immediately drawn to him or her in extreme ways – after only a few hours together you want to sleep with this person do everything that he or she says and give up everything in your life to devote yourself to this person's needsYou are attracted to this person above all others and heshe can give you the greatest pleasure of your entire life Maybe you have a few ualms and try to leave for a time – maybe this person even gives you the option to leave but in the end you can’t You love this personIf you’ve ever read a paranormal romance then you’ll be very familiar with this entire storyline – this person is a supernatural creatureNow imagine that this person is also a ten year old girlI’ll just wait here for a minute while you finish throwing upDone? Okay wellnow imagine that you’re a large hairy man in your twentiesGo ahead I’ll wait hereI’m not sure if I think that Octavia Butler is a genius or if this book is disgusting Every time a sexintimacy scene came up and it was uite often as the main character Shori basically has some sexual activity along with every single feeding several times a day I felt horrified nauseous traumatized I wanted to do anything but have to listen to this vampire who does find out that she’s 54 eventually but still looks exactly like a ten year old child have sex with various adults I was thoroughly thoroughly disgustedWhen I expressed my discomfort about the story my friend Kaethe posted this on my review “It's a black hole sucking the sexy out of the legend”And that made me realize isn’t this the way that we’re supposed to feel about vampires? About this whole scenario really? Isn’t it supposed to make us frightened ill and uncomfortable that a paranormal creature could enter our lives strip away even our most tightly held morals and bind us to her will? Vampires today have become so heavily romanticized so humanized that they are no longer alien no longer frightening They’ve become sexy and mysterious the stuff of fantasies But not here It took me the entire book to finally accept that this creature this “little girl” is completely and utterly not humanAnd I don’t think that I’ve felt that way about a vampire in fiction since well everSo I have to give major kudos to Octavia Butler for that However I do have to wonder – was it entirely intentional? The entire society of the Ina – the vampire race – seems to be idealized a bit too much for me The humans may suffer some minor jealousies but they’re all basically happy to give up their lives and join a communal type home with many other “symbiants” all devoted blood donors and sexual partners to one vampire And although Shori’s apparent physical age sucks every iota of potential sexiness out of this story for me she will grow up All of her uncles grandparents and other relatives who are grown seem to fit exactly with the romanticized humanized vampire stereotypeSo in the end I’m not entirely sure what I feel about this story but it gave me a lot to think about

  9. says:

    Firstly I wish there was a way to give this novel TEN STARS because like every single book she's ever written it is a masterpiece of surperb writing compelling characters and thought provoking themes like sex race and class issues seldom dealt with in even the finest speculative fiction Only in the hands of a skilled author could new life be breathed into the uickly becoming stale vampire genre and Ms Butler succeeds where so many others fail Anyone looking for Anne Rice will be sadly disappointed Shori the novel's protagonist is a complex creature She is no brooding Louis nor an amoral Lestat but a 53 year old woman who outwardly looks like a ten year old girl When we first meet her she is gravely injured and has no memory of where she is or even who she is Slowly emerging from her place of hiding she is picked up by a young man named Wright who takes her home and cares for her What follows from there is guaranteed to play with one's perceptions of age and sexuality and though as a reader we are than aware of Shori's true age and Ms Butler writes Shori with such skill there is no way to mistake her for anything but her true age as a reader we are gently nudged into accepting their relationship without any ualm especially when Shori and Wright make love Instead of playing to shock value or prurience the eroticism between Shori and Wright is handled wonderfully As the novel progresses Shori learns her true heritage that she is Ina a race of vampires whose beginnings are swathed in mystery She learns that she is the first of her kind her dark skin allows her to go into the sunlight something the other Ina cannot do She also learns the ways of her people of keeping humans known as symbionts or syms not merely as sustenance but as companions and lovers Kinship figures prominently in Ina and Sym society and both live together in a somewhat utopian existence There are uestions of whom needs whom the most Ina or syms and the subtle threads of what could be viewed as a co dependent relationship Ina may live long but they need not only the blood but the vitality of their syms to exist The syms become addicted to a toxin in the Ina's bodies that keep them young and free of disease As we learn later and not surprising there is also deep seated prejudice amongst the Ina who may pretend to have progressed beyond such petty concerns as racism and there are those who do not see Shori as being one of them merely a genetic experiment Fledgling is a multihued tapestry of a novel a world of darkness and light that I didn't want to leave Shori is a strong resourceful and yet manages to engage us readers with her humanity It's one of those novels that left me feeling as if Shori Wright and all of the characters truly existed

  10. says:

    Audacious radical it is basically a rebel literary monster thirsting for true blood innovation Tired of the same formula it breaks conventions as it establishes others That there is a hybrid vampire able to move in sunlight thus breaking with the status uo or our interpretation of the status uo you know in some parallel universe where vampires exist it is all just too majestically REALThe tragedy of FLEDGLING is that it invites us into a world that is so fully alive that right as the fun is about to start the death of the inventive writer a speculative fictional master without a doubt stops it from its rightful fruition This realization alone tingles the spine than any other vampiric revelation