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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
peter sharp
This was an interesting read. Not as captivating as her other novels, specifically, Lilith's Brood, and perhaps a bit redundant after reading that book...but otherwise I never regret reading Octavia Butler. I will use this format to suggest reading Lilith's Brood. It is one of my favorite series of all time. Her incredible imagery and nuanced writing about Ooloi and surviving humans is absolutely breathtaking. I think I may have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't read that one first. It is a 10\10 and she could only go slightly downhill from there in my humble opinion. That said, this book isn't disappointing per se, perhaps just a bit repititous in its themes when compared to her other works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
terena scott
a very interesting twist on the vampire genre, quite unique in many respects. not quite as well developed as some of her sci-fi tales. this was clearly intended to be the first of yet another trilogy by Butler, cut short by her death, so reading it is a bit like falling in love with a TV series that was suddenly cancelled at the end of the first season. as a result, very little is resolved and you are left wanting more, much more. still well worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tone
Another excellent choice and purchase from the store. What a shame the author, Octavia Butler, died leaving us wanting for more. Fledgling is an exceptional "vampire" tale with a twist. Butler's use of Africa-American characters, interracial love and vampire tales is excting reading. This one rates right up there with Anne Rice for adults who like to dabble in the macabre
Lilith's Brood :: An unforgettable sci-fi novel from the multi-award-winning author :: Parable of the Sower (Earthseed) :: Parable of the Talents (Earthseed) :: Bloodchild and Other Stories
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cannon roberts
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a bookclub read and I wasn't excited about it because it deals with vampires and I have not hopped on that band wagon just yet. But this was an excellent read. I didn't see the characters as vampires but as actual people trying to save their own kind. This was the first book by Octavia E. Butler that I've read and I'm very excited to read more of her work.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
do an
I am a die hard Butler fan and this book starts off wonderfully. Butler addresses issues like Race and gender in her usual intriging way. The problem that I have with this book is that it seemed to die at the end. It felt like Ms Butler was in a rush to complete the story so it left me feeling more than a bit unsatisfied. To sum it up The reader will like what they like about the book but they will definitely hate how it ends.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
donna mcgee
I love all of this author's books. However, in this book, the main character's sexual experience was a bit uncomfortable for me. The description of her body being of a nine or ten year old made me think about putting the book down, but her age, at 53, appeased me to where I could continued reading. Her age white washed what I would normally think is sexually inappropriate.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ronny bowman
Let me just say I am biased. Octavia Butler happens to be one of my favorite authors. She wrote a series of about 4 or 5 novels that were WAY OVER MY HEAD. But this book did not disappoint at all. I was sad to hear that she passed away a little while ago, so this being her last novel (I believe) really made this one special. If you're into science-fiction and the human tale, this is a good one.

I would like to suggest that if you have never ready anything by her check out Clay's Ark. It's how I became such a huge fan of hers.

The Fledgling is a great book that deals with so many issues. Octavia is a master at weaving everyday things into her world of aliens, genetic altering, vampires and the like.

You owe it to yourself to make at least one her novels part of your library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brie kennedy
I really really enjoyed reading this book...i had to read it for a class i have in college...that i nearly failed because i never recieved this book from a seller on here....vana11??? FAH Q ...i sent you an email asking where it was and you said it was sent out promptly yeah well i never recieved it and i never had a problem with the store before...but this is an amazing book that puts a whole new face to the vampire and brings it into a whole new view, makes it more believable than ever.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
patricia burker
Came across Octavia Butler by accident. Read a number of reader reviews of her writings before deciding to go with this book. Needless to say, this book is GREAT. Held me prisoner from 1st page. Awesome writing.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kelly morrison
Fledgling is one of those disappointing books that has an interesting premise, but is poorly executed. The writing is tedious and flat, and the characters, including Shori, have no emotional pull. My copy also had the typos others have mentioned. I'm left with a memory of pointless descriptions of humans making sandwiches, and no further interest in the Ina. I won't even get into the looks like a child/sex with adults debate - you can skip this one on boringness alone.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lausanne
It's an interesting idea, but runs way too far to the left for me to really recommend to anyone. It's Sci-Fi and I did read the entire set. The last book of the series is way too far fetched to be able to stay involved.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sanna
I chose this rating because even though I loved the storyline and the main character, it got kind of tedious at times, but I would be interested in a sequel of Shori as an adult Ina . So an okay read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
miktro
This book was as amazing as I had hoped it would be. Butler has great voice and intelligence. She makes a real vampire story. I loved it. I truly recommend anything by her. some is more sci-fi then others but all are well written. If you think Dracula or twilight was good......This is WAY BETTER!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
allison riechert
I never knew there were any female African-American science-fiction writers. This book was wonderfully written and kept you in suspense from beginning to end. I think this would give the Twilight Series a run for it's money!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tanisha daugaard
An alright book, although I feel like the author did her best to make it controversial at every turn. Firstly, this story is filled with people having sex with children. Nope, you read that right. throughout the whole story the main character, who is basically a vampire who looks like a very young black girl, has sex with adults constantly. A lot of this seems unnecessary to get the point across and is just overkill. In general the writing seems kind of bland and boring. I really didn't like this book very much.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
maegen
I had to read this book for English class, and I have to say, out of the dozen or so books we read this semester, this one was the worst. Outside of class, I read a lot, and I happen to be a fan of vampire fiction. Out of the many vampire novels I have read, I think this is actually one of the worst. Butler's writing is almost as poor as Stephanie Meyer's, but her plot is not nearly half as entertaining. Her prose has been called "lean;" I would call it simple to the point of childish. Another problem is that the characters are unconvincing. The main character's relationships seemed forced and unbelievable; her romances felt lifeless. Look elsewhere for good vampire fiction!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
barron
I ordered this book because I really enjoyed Kindred and I like Octavia Butler's writing. This book was riddled with errors and I was hoping that it was an issue with the Kindle format. At the end of the book I found myself wondering what was the point? For anyone who reads my reviews you know that I need to find a point .... Was the book a little about sexual mores and how even vampires have some standard in that regard that is different than the human standard. Was it about racism being an issue even for a species that are supposed to be more evolved. There was a thousand different themes running through this book but none of them compelling. In sum, I didn't like it and would not recommend to anyone else.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
sofia
I have been a Butler fan since the early nineties. This book should never have been published. This is evidenced by the horrible editing, easily one mistake per page. I believe the telling line for me was "I long for a shower..." . The language is stilted, unbelievable and shallow. I thought the story might make up for the other shortcomings but that was not the case.

As a vampire novel it's bland and flat. As a Butler novel it's hard to believe it's even her writing this. Her previous novels have depth and were truly thought provoking. This has none of those things.

Don't waste your time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
david hack
I really really liked this one. I mean, its main character is a black female vampire in an interracial polyamorous coven, whose dark skin is actually an advantage because it lets her burn more slowly in the sunlight than other vamps. What’s not to love? And it’s got great vampire politics – like, the stuff Stephanie Meyer was going for with the later Twilight books, only done much better. This is probably my second-favorite vampire book, to be honest… Maybe even my first-favorite; I’d have to reread Of Saints and Shadows (Peter Octavian) (my current top pick) to decide between them. Both are excellent for how they interrogate and interpret the vampire mythos; I might have to give the win to Fledgling for the brilliant ways it tackles race as well. (In other words, the author who’s a black woman writes more insightful social commentary than the one who’s a white man. Surprise surprise?)

I do have to mention some trigger warnings alongside my endorsement of this book, though. For one: the main character is 53 years old, but she’s regularly described as looking like a ten-year-old human girl. That made it very uncomfortable for me to read the love and sex scenes between her and the adult human characters. There’s also some rather dubious consent issues, in that a vampire’s bite makes a human want them both sexually and emotionally, and it’s pretty clear that at least initially, some of those humans would not have wanted that contact. This is a thread that weirdly gets raised and then dropped in the narrative, but again, it can make for some uncomfortable reading.

And finally, there’s just the racial aspects of the story. The main character is the world’s only black vampire, and the main storyline is about her being attacked by others of her kind who think she’s an abomination that should never be allowed to breed. So all throughout the book, there’s racism and promotion of eugenics and even the occasional slur. It’s a powerful story, and the racists are clearly the villains and clearly in the wrong, but still. Tread carefully if any of this is not something you want in your escapism.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
linda alvarez
**WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS**

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler is the story of a young vampire who loses her memory in a horrific murder attempt. The book follows Shori as she tries to piece her life together, stay alive, and bring her family's murderers to justice.

I wanted to like this book. It's been on my to-be-read shelf for years, but there was a lot about the book that turned me off.

First off, Shori is a young vampire who has the body of a child. In the vampire world, she's considered a child even though she's in her 50s. In the human world, she appears to be around 12. As Shori collects symbionts (humans who form her family), most of the ones she chooses are ones she's intimately attracted to. She has sexual relationships with these human symbionts. Ick. She looks 12 and hasn't hit puberty. This is not okay. I couldn't read this and not think, "Pedophiles, ew. Yuck." I don't think glamorizing pedophilia was the author's intent, but I couldn't move past it.

Second, the writing was just mediocre. It didn't suck me in. I didn't grow attached to any of the characters. It felt very basic.

The plot itself was interesting. The author did a great job of making you care about solving the murder mystery. Tragedy after tragedy struck Shori, so it was nice to see justice brought to the wrong-doers in the end.

I also appreciated the author's different spin on vampirism. Some of the same nuances existed--sleep during the day, needs blood--but they were sympathetic vampires. They co-habited with humans, forming symbiotic relationships and caring for the humans as though they were family members. I thought this was neat, and I liked this spin.

Overall, this book wasn't for me, but if you enjoy vampire novels, check it out. You might like it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
peter gerdes
I think the main thing that sticks in my mind about this book is the weirdness about Shori's maturity level. She's portrayed as looking young, to the point where her sex scenes seem more than a little questionable. She's also considered young by the standards of the Ina, her vampiric species. Yet they also consider her old enough to have her own human family, which includes a common sexual component. It just leaves me unsettled. Butler tries to justify things, but it feels a little off.

Butler tries to re-imagine vampires, which was perhaps a good narrative investment back in 2007, at the beginning of the "Twilight" craze. And it might have seemed fairly original, back then. Unfortunately, ten years on, things have been done over so many times that I can't see this as being a stand-out. Butler was certainly working on this before "Twilight" was published, but she just put the book out with poor timing.

Overall, it's a bit of a disappointment, after hearing so much about Octavia Butler, but not enough to steer me away from her works. Just away from this one.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
taymaz azimi
This review will be brief, and perhaps some of you might find my critique somewhat silly. While I am a huge fan of this author, I found Fledgling to be a big disappointment. For one thing, I was very uncomfortable with the main character having sex with grown men and women while her body was that of a 10 year old girl. The only saving grace was that the sex scenes weren't explicit, Thank God!
I was blown away by all the typos that littered the pages of this book. It made me wonder if the publishing company even had an editor on staff. I also agree that the writing itself wasn't the best by this otherwise very talented writer.
Last but not least, I really didn't like the theme of racism in the story. When I think of otherworldly beings and their worlds, I think of these creatures as not having the same stupidity as human beings, and that goes for vampires as well with their lifestyles of easy sexuality and the many world experiences that immortality gives them. I personally found it hard to believe, almost laughable, that vampires could be racist to the main character. I know that Ms. Butler was trying to give a different spin on the vampire genre, but it simply didn't work for me. I love the idea of a vampire who was a viking in their past hunting alongside, say, a vampire who was a New York City born Puerto Rican from the 1970s. Get the idea? I found these vampires uninteresting and repugnant, rather like too many members of the human race.
All in all, this book was a major fail. If you haven't read any of Ms. Butler's other books, you'd be in for many treats as her other works are among the best in speculative fiction. But as for Fledgling, I would emphatically recommend you skip this one.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amy heeter
I like most of Octavia Butler's other work more than I liked this, but it had me noticing how regularly Ms. Butler writes about humans and nonhumans having sexual/romantic interactions and how consistently she relies on instant chemical bonds to tie her characters together in powerful, passionate relationships. It weirds me out a little that several completely different works of hers are rooted in humans being charmed by an invasive alien process they did not choose and are forced to desire the one that did it to them. I think it's a really intriguing relationship dynamic--especially since in this case one of the main character's lovers kind of dislikes what was done to him but makes a choice to stay even as he acknowledges that he's influenced by a sort of biological hypnosis. But it does creep me out a little how many ways Ms. Butler has thought of to make humans dependent on and sexually attracted to nonhumans whose influence they are sentient enough to resent.

One thing that got a little heavy for me was the backstory and exposition. I did frequently feel like conversations, actions, and plot points partially happened as a way to lead me to learning about the Ina race and the history of protagonist Shori's families. With a protagonist suffering from permanent amnesia after beginning the book with a near-fatal head wound, we have quite the cornucopia of delicious vampire facts to devour that are suddenly unfamiliar to a person who nevertheless has history and existing relationships in the book. It's an inventive but sort of frustrating situation because not all of the information is what I'd call interesting. And though the frequent infodumps also usually felt like the type of thing an amnesiac with a complicated history WOULD ask about, talk about, and think about, I could have lived with seeing her curious about her history and her people without sticking around for the answers. (People who enjoy SF/F partly because they just like neato worldbuilding will probably enjoy that more than I did.) Shori also remembered things occasionally at convenient times, and that kinda bugged me.

Here's another interesting thing: Shori is dealing with several levels of otherness in this book, including being a stranger in her own world, being a black person in a white-majority society, and being a genetic experiment whose human genes made her stronger in some ways but alienated some more traditional members of her race. I liked that some of the prejudice she experienced for one thing was easily read as a metaphor for the other. For that reason I feel a little uncomfortable saying I occasionally found it hollow sometimes; specifically, when Shori and her allies find out who is behind the attacks on her families and take it for anti-human prejudice, the enemies' shrieking "hisssssss she is not like us *ABOMINATION* she is impure she must die" felt flat and uncomplicated, though sometimes that's how racism is too. The motivation didn't feel as complicated as what I usually expect with this author (who certainly gave complexity to, say, her families' relationships, their history, and who likes whom).

The thing I probably liked the most was that the human "families" built up around each Ina were appropriately complicated. Human men bonded to the same Ina would sometimes be territorial and jealous while not harboring the same hatred for women. Humans in symbiotic relationships with the vampire-like Ina (called "symbionts" in the book) often mated with each other or with other Ina's symbionts. They had complicated feelings about their relationships with these nonhuman creatures and they sometimes made conscious choices to become symbionts despite knowing what they were getting into. And I very much appreciated that there was not a noticeable difference between how Ina related to their same-sex humans in their feeding and lovemaking situations. Shori never acted like it was unnatural to desire a woman in a similar way as she desired men (and let's not forget that they're not just bedroom companions; they're food). It was neat that Shori didn't know much about how to be the "leader" of her group of dependent humans (on whom she was, of course, also dependent), and that her humans got to talk to other humans about what their life would be like.

The main reason I'm rating this as low as I am, though, isn't the worldbuilding chunks or my heebie-jeebies over the weird mating. It's mostly that I was moved almost not at all while reading this book, even though there were certainly high stakes and emotional things happening to people who seemed sympathetic. It felt sort of hollow to me; there was a LOT of telling and not much feeling like I was there. I cared about Shori more in an intellectual sense, like oh, is she going to succeed, is she going to get what she wants, what's going to happen to her, but it was more like a puzzle than an investment. I felt a great deal of distance between the words on the page and my heart. Even when I'm told there is feeling, I didn't feel it myself. Part of that might have been from the lightning-fast attraction and sudden *I'd die for you* bonds that develop between many characters in the book; if it could happen so fast and suddenly mean the world, how real could it be?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erynlucette
This is a new take on vampires. It is quite innovative to me.
A girl wakes up suffering from all sorts of problems – she can not see, she is hungry, she does not remember who she is, etc. Something comes along, she kills it and eats. She gradually recovers her physical abilities, but the amnesia remains. She eventually gets up and about, finds her way to a road, and a driver picks her up. They begin the dissembling of her life, and it is wild and crazy.
I have tried to organize my electronic library by genre, and so have a whole part of literature labeled 'vampire.' This book belongs there. Ms. Butler is known for her science fiction, so I put her, and this story there.
The girl's parents were developing genetic engineering to modify vampires in various ways. There were those who did not like the notion, so began the war, which this girl was the victim to. Ultimately, she was the one who ended it, as well.
This is an amazing story. As I said, it is not your ordinary vampire story.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
eliana
Audiobook

I cringed throughout this book. The main character is 53 but looks 10 years old which for some reason really turns on both men and women because she's so small that they can't help themselves. I just could not get beyond this because just when I start to get interested in a part of the book, this is mentioned over and over again.

The book itself - any reader could figure out why the beginning happened pretty quickly in the book and about halfway through who did it was very obvious. No surprises really throughout the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cheyenne ellis
Octavia Butler's Fledgling, is a masterpiece of a novel. It is a totally fresh, original, story of a hidden species that lives along with us. The young protagonist is an interesting and worthwhile character that immediately captured my sympathy, and kept my interest to the very last page.

The writing, as you would expect from late Butler, is excellent, and the atmosphere is unique and powerful composed anxious suspense. There are surprises as the story unfolds and proves to be quite complex. Butler, once again shows us that we humans are never all good or all bad, but form a continuum. Greed, hatred, and jealousy are never absent whenever one finds a large group of people -fortunately loyalty and kindness are never totally absent either.

There are thousands of incredibly bad, totally dumb vampire, paranormal, superpower themed books these days, be assured that Fledgling is not one of these. If you are looking for well thought out seriously original works, look no further.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aj oakes
Nobody writes like Octavia Butler, she is in a class of her own and her spin on a world with vampires was amazing. There is a taboo sexual sub story in this book but its written so well that its not overly offensive, although it really should be horrifying (I cringed but didn't toss the book sooo).

Now let me be transparent and say I love vampire books (huge paranormal romance fan) so if you don't like vampires in general or you lean more to Sci-Fi than Vampire Fantasy this may not be the book for you. It does get slow in some parts but all her books are like that to me. Its no Kindred but I enjoyed it and wish she'd had time to create a series with this unique world of vampires.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christopher fan
Absolutely loved this book. Octavia Butler is a genius, obviously, and I loved seeing her take on vampires. It's a really interesting take on the concept, and definitely shows some shared DNA with her Patternmaster novels. There are some of the same themes of community and domination as in the Patternmaster series, but with pointy teeth, and biting, and something that walks a line but doesn't quite cross into pedophilia. Shori looks like she's 10, and isn't fully sexually mature by vampire standards; and yet she is chronologically 53, with maturity and decision making skills to match her age instead of her body. After the first shock I was ok with it, but others may find such blatant sexuality in such a young body uncomfortable, and I would understand 100%. It's all up to personal opinions, and in this I truth Octavia. In any case, I loved this book, and if you want a different kind of vampire story, or loved Butler's Patternmaster series, I recommend you check it out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
annalee
I don't remember where I came up with this book on my reading list, but I am aware of the notoriety of Octavia Butler. Fledgling is an interesting novel and I have admittedly very mixed feelings about it. I do have some reservations about being totally frank about my feeling about this book because of her place in literature and as a cultural icon. And the reality is that they are my feelings and needn't be representative of anyone else's.

Fledgling is a dark fantasy about a race that exists with humans and either evolved at the same time or prior to humans. Octavia has redefined vampires as a creature that lives symbiotically with humans, mostly forming a lifelong family with their symbiots and only taking when needed but also giving long and healthful life to the humans. However, the Ina bite also gives something akin to a drug that the symbiots become addicted to. Its sort of a addictive/poly-amorous vampire story.

The main character, Shori, is a product of genetic engineering by her family. Bred with human DNA so that she could remain out in the daylight and not fall into the deathlike slumber of her kind during the day. The human symbiot whose DNA is blended with her parents Ina genes is of African descent which gives her a much darker skin tone than the rest of her kind.

Shori's mother clan and father clan are all murdered by what is believed to be another clan of Ina. As she begins to collect a new group of symbiots and learn about herself and who and what she is, she begins to solve the mystery of who murdered her family. She begins to relay what she comes to know to her first symbiot, Wright as she pieces things together. They begin to travel to a clan that she learned has the Ina sons she was promised to be wed to with her sisters before her family was killed. Yeah, that made it a bit more interesting trying to figure out how that one works out. Sisters of one family marry the brothers of the other. Takes the polyamory concept to a rather bizarre level. Interesting, but bizarre.

With her newly found family, her growing family of symbiots, they begin to piece together an investigation into who, or what, is killing off her people.

I mostly liked the book, but did find that it drug a bit in a lot of places. The concept was intriguing though, portraying vampires as being in a symbiotic relationship with humans. Though, there was one area where I did have some issues and that was in Ms. Butler's insertion of racial bigotry into the story line. Though I do understand the importance of such an issue, I felt it detracted from the story line she was developing and did nothing to aid the story. In truth, I felt it weakened it. I think that if she wanted to create a bigotry illustration, she would have been better served to have done it within the Ina people. Much like was done in Enemy Mine when the alien race was used to show inequality. But, that is just my personal opinion.

All in all, it was a very interesting novel that challenged ideas about conventional morality, norms and lifestyles. Its a shame that it will be the last of what looked to be on the way of becoming a very interesting series.

SephiPiderWitch
http://sephipiderwitch.com/the-fledgling-by-octavia-butler/
05/06/2015
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
robert lester
Shori appears to be an amnesiac girl but is actually a young vampire, reconstructing a circle of symbionts to feed from while investigating the destruction of her family. The vampires here, called Ina, are more science fiction than fantasy, and Shori's amnesia makes her an outsider to their culture and biology. The exploration of both is talky, compounded by utilitarian prose and stiff dialog. Under the infodumps, the plot is small; in many ways, this feels like Butler's least refined work. But its issues of consent are phenomenal. It doesn't matter that the characters are indistinct and that the relationships are plagued by heteronormativity and gender essentialism: the way that intense intimacy is played against power imbalances raises complicated, unresolved questions about coerced consent and responsibility. It's a confrontational, alien narrative with real repercussions--Butler's specialty. Fledgling isn't her best, but it's memorable. I wish we had been able to read sequels--I particularly would have loved to see a symbiont reject their Ina.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
sky griffin
I got this as an audio book from the library. It started off good with good voice acting.... Then all of a sudden this pre-pubescent girl, maybe 9 or 10, is describing, in very graphic detail, having sex with a grown man! The fact that she's a vampire didn't remove the shock factor. I returned it to the library so fast my heart pounded. Now I'm planning my defense when the police come knocking at my door for downloading this to my phone. I'm freaked! How did this even get published?!?!?
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mark weddleton
Ah vampires...
Sexy sexy vampires...
Octavia Butler used the last of her considerable writing talents to leave us with the Ina, an interesting new culture and species of vampire.

The author decided to make the MC sexy vampire female.
Yes, good choice.
And black.
Great, love diversity in stories.
And ten years old.
You've lost me.

By the third sex scene where this little girl is joyfully plowed by an enormous hairy white twenty year old man I decided the author had lost her mind.

If this is where Octavia Butler's writing was headed then I'm glad it ended. We don't need more pedo fantasy writing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katy kay
I was taking an English class back when I was studying for Early Childhood Education, which I got my associates on. Kudos to me! :) Anyways, back to my review, we had to pick a book to do a paper on from any genre, I picked Sci-Fi. Researching through Google for different authors, I came across Octavia E. Butler and I came across this book as if it fell right on my lap. I read a review and it seemed interesting enough. Mind you, I took that class after the whole twilight saga hype (which I read ALL books). No shame. #teamedward.

A book about vampires, would it be cliche? <- My thought process.
I started reading Fledgling, and when I TELL YOUUUUU that I could not put it down, I could not. It was not your typical vampire story and I loved it. No I have to invite you in before you can come inside the house nonsense, no sparkling in the sun BS, none of that bulls***. I wrote my paper and got an A on it.

My thoughts were "why haven't they made this into a movie yet? wait a second, it should not because this book is too amazing for a movie to ruin the whole story line." Since that class which was about 3 and half years, I've read this book about 4 more times since lend it to my best friend who is currently reading it.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE LOOKING FOR A GOOD READ!!!!!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
molly grube
I feel like most people are over vampire novels but this is a truly unique one. That's one of the few things I liked about Fledgling. The novel has its own take on vampire lore and Butler creates an entire society of unique creatures who apparently live without most of humanity recognizing their existence. We're introduced to this community by an amnesiac who can't remember what much less who she is. Though it was an interesting approach, I can't say that I'll be tempted to pick up this book again or recommend it to anyone.

The entire novel is very eerie and not because of the otherworldly creatures within it. The main character appears to be around eleven years old and yet she begins a relationship with a man in his thirties, within the first few chapters. My edition didn't have the little fact that she's actually much older than she appears, around fifty-something. But that doesn't matter because she can't remember all of those years, and the human she's with should definitely have known there was something extremely wrong with that situation. While I'm fairly willing to assume that the relationship was more created for shock factor and to show another side of the vampire life, I definitely didn't want or need any part of that.

Another aspect of the lore that I found incredibly creepy was how the humans became addicted to the vampires and wouldn't be able to survive without them. I tried to imagine myself in that position and how stifling it would be. I wouldn't be able to survive like that . . and yet these humans were acting like it was no big deal to abandon their jobs, homes, and families so they could stay with these vampires. No, thanks.

Overall, I think that the novel made a few interesting critiques on society. By looking into the vampire culture, it's fairly easy to see what's wrong with the world today and how society has changed and still needs to change. Yet I don't feel like the plot was strong or interesting enough to pull me through the story. The ending was bland and left me wondering what might have happened next, if it had ended on a more interesting note.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meghan newell
This is the best story involving a complex character: a young Ina (vampire) woman who has had her family annihilated and who, as a characteristics her consequent amnesia, must learn the life of herself and her people again. As Shori recovers her life, the reader is exposed to the fascinating life and culture of the Ina—a race of vampires whose presence on Earth is rendered real in a very good way.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
nadia mostafa
After reading Kindred, I was looking forward to another novel by Ms. Butler . I was intrigued by the idea of a new race of vampire, but was unable to finish this story. Shori, the main character, is a 53 year old vampire in a 10 year olds body . She was badly injured and as a result has amnesia (and we are constantly reminded of this every other page ), over and over. It would have been helpful if Shori had been a likable character, but as many reviewers mentioned, she seems a little cold. I could not relate to her or any of the other characters . The sexual relations Shori had with adults was very disturbing , Perhaps it would've been better if she had appeared older and not like a 10 year old, having sex with men (and women) . The premise of Fledging ( a race of vampires able to bear sunlight ) is good, original, but unfortunately, this fell flat in so many ways .
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maddy lu
Fledgling is going to be a hard book to write a review about. It's very complex and different that many books I've read before. It's a very different take on vampires and holds deeper thoughts on gender, race and community.

The novel's premise is very simple: it follows Shori, the young vampire on her quest to regain her memory and avenge the murder of her family. This is essentially how Butler sets the story up: we, like Shori, are learning the ways of the Ina (the vampire species) and also uncovering the mystery of who is killing other Ina.

The favorite part of this book is the world building. Butler creates a unique take on vampies: they are Ina, another species, who needs to co-exist with human symbionts (who likewise rely on them) in order to live. They live in communities together seperated by gender (although the human symbionts can be of any gender). Butler has thought through this whole history and evolution of vampires that it really becomes a joy to read. They have a history, culture, and some scientific background. I felt like Butler was also writing about other things through the idea of Ina, such as gender, sexuality, race and community.

Most of the time I felt uncomfortable reading about the Ina. For example, they need humans to live, but they also have a lot of control over them. Humans do get huge benefits for being symbionts such as living longer, but I could never resolve the idea that there wasn't much free will. I also felt weird about Shori looking like a young girl but being 53 years old and how this effected her relationships. I think Butler was purposeful in writing in this way, that she wanted us teeter on the edge of comfort and never be quite okay with the Ina (which is interesting, since in many other vampire books we are meant to be attracted, almost without question, to the vampires).

Since this is my first Butler book, I was really pleased with the writing. It's simple yet full of substance that makes it very light yet satisfying. However, I feel as if Butler's writing is anything but light; there is always something deeper to think about.

My main issue with this book is that not much happens in way of the plot. It's mostly a journey of discovery, which is great, but I would have liked to have more things going on plot-wise. I think this would be great as a first in a series for this reason.

Overall I would defnitely recommend Fledgling to a reader who is looking for a very interesting and different take on vampire lore, who loves Butler's books, or is looking for smart science fiction that makes you think. I will definitely be reading more of Butler's work soon.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lois sanders
[Contains Spoiler] I wanted to like this book, which started strong for me and then became a struggle to finish. This ended up reading more like a Utopian novel than a Vampire novel. That would be fine, and a supremely interesting twist on the vampire trope, but I got bogged down in the extensive rules for the vampires and their symbionts. I also couldn’t buy into how happily and without conflict all of the humans and vampires coexisted in their communes; whenever the narrator eavesdropped on all of the humans going about their private, everyday lives, all was total harmony, never a shred of realistic grumbling; I found this almost harder to believe than the existence of vampires. I loved what this novel was striving to be, but it didn’t hold together for me, and [SPOILER] at the point where an ancient, intelligent vampire stupidly comes out with guns blazing like a bad Western, I had to shake my head at the absurdity. I admire what she was trying to do with this book, and Octavia Butler fans have encouraged me to try more of her books. (The bad copyediting in this one didn’t help me to suspend my disbelief.)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
desireah riley
As usual, Octavia Butler tackles the issues of racism in unique and thought-provoking ways. In this book, racism crosses over species in that vampires are a completely different species than humans but still have the same human problem of discrimination against darker-hued people. But I think the issues of racism and species purity got conflated a bit. Shori, the main character, is a genetic experiment who through genetic modification has darker skin and therefore can be awake and alert during the day. This is bothersome to pure "Ina" (vampires). And I couldn't say I blamed them. If it's true that the fittest survive, Shori represented the ultimate "evolution" for the Ina and in time, I could see how Shori's offspring could eventually wipe out pure Ina. Now, the fact that the modification is that she is Black, I think, complicates things in an interesting way. This aspect of the story stays true to Ms. Butler's style and motivation. And honestly, it is quite nice when the protagonist is Black but doesn't really need to be for the story to potentially work.

I guess this is the question that begs to be asked: Is Shori really Ina? She's been genetically altered, her genes mixed with human genes? What percentage of you has to a certain thing for you to qualify? Half? 1/3rd? 1/8th? This question has been posed time and time again in U.S. history as African-Americans have struggled to find their place in this society. And as this society struggles to place (or displace) those of African descent, i.e. Black people. How do you perceive and categorize someone who is a mixture of races? Especially if your treatment of people depends entirely on how you have perceived and categorized them?

I liked the story for other reasons: Ms. Butler works hard to break up the mythology of vampires and re-makes them as the victims of bigotry, hatred and misunderstanding. It's interesting then, that any Ina would then engage in the same kind of thing toward a darker Ina and I wonder if Shori had been pale like most Ina yet still had the same ability to be alert during the day, would the Ina still have objected so violently? I think so. It's also interesting to note the varying attitudes the Ina have toward their symbionts, that is, humans who they have bitten and need in order to stay alive. When humans become symbionts, they live much longer than ordinary humans and also do not get sick or hurt as easily. Symbionts, in my opinion, do not get a real choice because once bitten, most get hooked psychologically by the Ina venom and then eventually they get hooked physically. If their Ina dies, they will most likely die too. It seemed to me a form of slavery where the enslaved didn't seem to mind too much because of the pleasure and perks they derived from being symbionts. However, some Ina are condescending to or think nothing of symbionts and this brought up many issues and questions in my mind. This is what I love about Ms. Butler.

There were two little things that bothered me in this novel though I must say. Shori supposedly looks like a pre-pubescent girl. Yet grown men are sleeping with her. Now, I know she's Ina and actually 53 years old but still . . . a little disconcerting to me. The other thing that really annoyed me with this novel is that is poorly, poorly edited. There are missing words galore. Well, maybe not galore but to me, it was enough to get an eye roll.

All in all, this was an excellent (and quick) read like all of Ms. Butler's work. I am yet to be disappointed although I don't think I ever will be.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
caroline berry
Fledgling is an amazingly innovative vampire tale. In this story, humans and vampires have a symbiotic relationship: vampires need human blood to survive, but they do not kill when they bite. Vampires secrete a venom which gives humans intense pleasure; more than one or two bites, and the human becomes addicted, chemically bound to vampires for life -- and chemically forced to obey. Vampires and their bitten humans thus live together in secretive, cooperative communities, with the humans free to pursue their own occupations and interests -- but never free to leave due to their addiction. It's like being dragged to a happy commune and kept there with an electric fence.

Shori is a vampire. When she awakens, severely injured, with no memory of who or what she is, she must slowly piece her life back together. It isn't long until she discovers that someone, for some reason, has tried to destroy her and her entire family.. and that they are not done trying.

Fledgling touches upon ideas related to family, community, and love. Butler portrays racism within the vampire world, different from human racism yet equally destructive. This book is a parade of provocative ideas.

Unfortunately, despite all that Fledgling has going for it, it left me cold. I don't know if Shori was supposed to be likable, but I did not much like her. She came across as cold and detached, and I think this is more a product of Butler's narrative style than of her actual intent. The narrative takes us through Shori's attempt to protect herself and her companions, and lands us smack in the middle of a courtroom drama, albeit a courtroom run under the rules of this vampire world. To me, it felt like a clinical, static way to work through the plot.

Finally, I was uneasy with, even irritated by, this world that Butler imagined. Symbiotic or not, vampires essentially addict humans and force them to abandon their families and lives. How convenient that the humans in the book seem to grow content after a short period of confusion and distress. I guess if I was being injected with addictive venom, I'd be compliant, too.

Clearly, I have some unease with the world Butler presented here, but my three star rating is not due to that. It's due to the fact that I never really came to care about these people and their conflicts, all presented through a narrative voice that I can only describe as cold.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stanislava dryankova
I loved this book. I've been a voracious reader for more than 60 years and this is the most original worldview I have ever seen. The characters and culture Ms. Butler wove were both believable and beautiful. This book is well worth reading. If you love intense suspense, great action, and strong, relatable characters in a unique worldview, you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tammy maltzan
I have never read anything by Octavia Butler, and as she is a prominent writer in the Sci-Fi genre, I though it would be interesting to read one of her books. This is also the last book she wrote before she died. Overall it was an interesting take on vampire communities; and discussed issue of racism, sexual freedom, and immortality. I listened to this on audio and the audio production was of excellent quality; my only complaint would be that the narrator's voice is very dispassionate which lends a coldness to Shori's character.

Shori wakes up in immense pain, not knowing where she is or who she is. As time passes she heals; later she is picked up on the side of the road by Wright. Shori herself seems to be an 11 year old girl; but Wright is strangely drawn to her in very inappropriate ways. Shori realizes she needs his blood and after she takes blood from him the two of them cannot be separated. As time progresses Shori finds that she needs more than just Wright to satisfy her; she needs the blood of many. Eventually Shori finds that she is actual a 53 year old Ina; a very long lived (possibly alien) race that have a symbiotic relationship with humans. They need human blood andcompanionship to survive. For some reason someone wants Shori dead; it may be because of her dark skin and the fact that Shori is a genetic experiment to make Ina able to withstand the sun.

I didn't find any of the characters in this book to be particularly engaging, and the plot plodded along at times making it difficult to pay attention. This book is very outstanding though in the complexity of the Ina community and the mythos behind that community. This book and the race of the Ina are intricately detailed and very well thought out. This book also touches on issues concerning societal beliefs. Shori, as the only dark-skinned Ina, deals with a sort of racism. Shori appears to be 10 years old (but is really 53) and her sexual relationship with Wright may be disturbing to some readers. Shori and her Symbiants (humans that feed her) also have a very complex relationship; and Shori loves them emotionally and physically without any thought as to their gender or age.

All in all I enjoyed this book. It is an interesting take, actually a unique take, on vampire-type society. It make you think a lot about societal issues and introduces you to a whole new complex world and race. It is definitely more of a thinking book and the slow deliberate pace may put off some readers; I think that the creativity andthoughtfulness of the plot more than offset this pace though.

I am not sure if I will read more of Butler's works or not. Her writing was good but it was a bit too political for me at parts; she also seems to write book to inspire thought and as such they aren't great entertainment as much as food for thought. I would have to be in a particularly thoughtful mood to enjoy her works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maggie wear
In Fledgling, renowned science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, who sadly passed away last year, reinvents the idea of the vampire and their existence in history, putting her own original slant on it. While the book is complete in its rounded story, one is left wanting more of this very original creation on an archetype.

The book opens with what can only be termed an uncomfortable situation, at the very least. From the viewpoint of the main character, Shori, who has been horribly disfigured by some terrible accident, the reader learns she is a vampire as the character comes to realize this herself, feeding off another, and healing incredibly fast. She has also forgotten everything about herself and her history, and with the reader, slowly learns about this. She then finds herself what is termed a symbiont, which is one who provides a regular blood source to the vampires known as Ina. The man, brought under the power of Shori and the hypnotic venom in her bite, essentially falls in love with her and their relationship begins at full steam, even though Shori appears no older than a ten year old black girl, and he an adult. The reader is left feeling very uncomfortable about this Lolitaesque relationship.

Eventually, when Shori confronts the place of her accident and meets other Ina, the full story is revealed. It is thought that she and her whole family of vampires and symbionts were all killed in this terrible attack. The reason was that she was the result of a genetic experiment to make it possible for vampires to brave the sun. The result was successful, with Shori being able to travel during the day - although she must remain fully covered and will suffer burns. Nevertheless, there is someone who feels that Shori is an abomination and must be destroyed.

It is when this second group of Ina are killed with two symbionts surviving, that Shori and her group flees to another Ina family in California where she finds further answers. And when this group is then attacked, but due to Shori's preparation, thwarts the attack and captures three of them, all the answers are revealed. Behind the attacks are a large family in Los Angeles who have always hated the idea of meddling with the pure race of the Ina. The book pushes forth its message here with the idea that these ancient Ina are angry not so much at Shori for being black, but at her genetically engineered nature of mixing human genes and Ina genes; they no longer consider her Ina, no longer pure.

Then in a three-day ceremony that harkens back to every form of town government and religious ritual, a judicial gathering is convened with members of many families of Ina represented, while the complete family of those who are supposedly behind the killings are put on trial. The question is whether the jury will side with a small black girl who remembers nothing of her past and heritage, or with the proud and ancient Ina family who have helped so many.

Butler skillfully and subtly asks questions of race and genetic alteration: what it is to be human, or in this case Ina, and how we as people see that, and what value we place on it. In a time when a cloned and/or genetically engineered human is not so much a future nightmare, but a worry we all wait to read about in the newspapers every day, Fledgling certainly does its job in helping those who are unsure on these matters make decision.

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★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bill cassinelli
FLEDGLING has one of the best opening chapters I've read in years. I was hooked on the spot as the mysterious narrator tried to figure out what had been done to her. And why. From her descriptions of her injuries (a smushy head with the skull shattered), I knew immediately someone had tried to kill her. I also wondered how she'd survived such a thing, but I chalked that up to the willing suspension of disbelief required of a reader.

But then things got seriously weird.

Given the mystery of who had tried to kill her, I was suddenly confronted with the even deeper, richer mystery of who this mysterious narrator was. And WHAT she was. Because she definitely wasn't human. I knew that at once from the injuries. When she ran down and killed a deer with her bare hands and ate it raw, I was even more convinced.

Besides having a killer opening, FLEDGLING also serves to open a whole new world of vampirism that readers will truly never get to see the rest of. As it turns out, the novel was award-winning science fiction writer Octavia Butler's last book before her death.

Butler was the author of several science fiction books that focused on the relationships humans might have with alien cultures. Her world-building skills were sharp and keenly directed at the social problems that might crop up, as well as the individual's struggle to remain alive against desperate odds.

FLEDGLING maintained Butler's story interests as she explored the world of vampires she created. Obviously from all the backstory she included in the novel, there were plenty of other stories to tell.

Shori Matthews, the first-person narrator of the book, is a stand-out character. Her voice rings true from the first page to last. One of Butler's gifts as an author was the ability to focus entirely on the character and bring the world to life through that character's eyes. She did that again with Shori.

However, Butler obviously chose to be extremely provocative in her choice of characters. Shori is physically a twelve-year old child. Meaning that she is the same build and size as a human pre-teen. In actual years, she's 53, they even then she's counted as being young among the vampire culture.

I struggled with some of the graphic sex scenes that were written in the book. Although Butler dismissed the age and size difference between Shori and her human lover, I found I could not for a time. It just jarred too much, and felt wrong. Gradually, I distanced myself from that feeling and concentrated on the mystery and the threat that surrounded Shori and the vampire culture that was at risk.

Butler's tendency was to acknowledge that the events she was writing about were world-shaking, but she always seem to choose to reveal that story on a small stage rather than a large one. FLEDGLING could have been epic in scope, sweeping from Shori to several other characters that were involved in different actions. A choice of multiple narrators to tell all the story instead of just Shori's piece of it would have been welcome. I would have liked to have seen more of the worldview. However, Shori's story is immediately compelling and draws the reader in almost effortlessly.

The book was a fast read despite the number of pages involved. Shori is one of those characters readers can identify with almost immediately. There are some rough edges - regarding the age issue and a few other things - but Shori feels human and real.

Butler's fans will have to take this one to complete their collection, and vampire junkies will definitely want another, fresher look at their favorite species.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
paul ponzeka
`Fledgling' was a brilliant book melding the vampire mythology with racism and mystery.

The story involves a vampire named Shori who looks like a black girl of about 10 or 11(but is really in her fifties) who wakes up in a cave with amnesia and is found by a 23 year old white male named Wright.

Wright helps Shori to find out about her origins, and why her home was destroyed; and, as the pieces slowly fall into place, what is discovered is that vampires also harbor some negative qualities that also harbor in some humans.

I've known of author Octavia Butler for the longest time, but I haven't really read her books, and I think what drew me to the book was the bold subject matter:

Octavia Butler has Shori and Wright share not only a symbiotic relationship, but a sexual relationship, which one of the older vampires comment on. Shori also shares a similar relationship with another female character in the story.

The vampires, called Ina, gain control over an individual by a bite (which is highly pleasurable instead of painful); the humans are able to live a few more years than normal humans, as well as disease-less...and the Ina get fed.

Interestingly, I mention that the humans are `controlled' by the Ina when bitten, but the Ina also make it possible for some humans to have a choice on whether or not they want to be in a symbiotic relationship or not.

I understand the symbiosis is a motif in Butler's work such as her short story `Bloodchild'--although, in that story the symbiotic relationship was not necessarily on a choice basis; and it was painful for the human characters, and chilling for the reader.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
emily walker
Fans of Anne Rice (B.C.), would want to check out this 'vampire' novel, that takes the myth, and turns it on it's head. Shori looks like a young (nine year old) African American girl, but has already logged over fifty years of life. When she "awakes" her head is pounding, she is in a cave, and has no recollection of how she got there, or worse, who or what she is. In the most simplistic terms she would be considered what we know as a vampire.Yet Butler takes this idea, and morphs it from the traditional garlic and stake fearing blood sucker, to a race of people that eventually die, but only after a long life that involves multiple human partners both male and female called symbionts who lead productive and fulfilling lives, each party enriching the other. This pansexual nature of the character favors Rice's world, but the story feels much more modern, and I'd even go as far to say a supernatural allegory about race relations on the world. Much has been said about Butler's beautiful prose. I thought it fine, but nothing spectacular, with minor quibbles on character inconsistencies, like how she can't understand how to open the glove compartment in a car, yet can walk into a room and give detailed descriptions of what's in it? The downside to the book is that it ends opening a whole world that begs to be explored but will never come to fruition because of Butler's unfortunate death. I wouldn't say it's a complete cliffhanger, but as I neared the end I was wondering how she'd ever wrap it up. The answer is, she does, and doesn't. An entertaining if not wholly satisfying read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mae dahil
fledgling is a brilliant re-imagination of the vampire myth by one of the most creative writers in the genre of "speculative fiction."

The story begins with a young woman who wakes up, bruised and burned in a cave. The woman leaves a cave and discovers a razed village nearby and meets a young man who she bites, feeds on and then has sex with. One of the many unusual aspects of this tale are the details that the young woman appears physically as a pre-pubescent, dark-skinned female while the man is white and in his 20s.

Eventually we learn that the name of the young vampire is Shori Mathews and although she looks like a 10 or 11 year old she is actually 50-60 years old, which is young (but equivalent to an adolescent or teenager) for her kind, the long-lived symbiotic, vampiric species known as The Ina.

Butler weaves a suspenseful plot around these basic story ideas, as we learn more about the unusual nature of Ina culture and society while the book progresses to a pleasing conclusion.

Some of the idea this "genre fiction" novel grapples with are miscegenation, gender-stratified societies, the nature of addiction and racism. As always, in creative and enthralling ways Butler excites and intrigues the reader with her vision and insight of her final book. It's one of the sadnesses in life that we will not have the opportunity to experience any new works by this gifted author, one of the few African American females writing speculative fiction.

GRADE: A.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
devowasright
Butler's writing was always elegant and humane, even when describing inhuman subjects. In this case, it's a culture of modern-day vampires, living quietly with the little flocks of humans that they feed on. But, as always happens when people (in the broad sense) are involved, emotions both drive and hinder the people involved. And, as happens also, even people who are very close aren't always driven in the same direction or at the same time.

This, like many of Butler's stories, is about close groups, the kind that look equally like large families or small villages. They're assembled from disparate parts. The parts don't always fit well, at least not at first. As a result, the groupings often change the people involved, not always in ways that they want to be changed. There are other analogies to her earlier work, too, but this novel stands wonderfully well on its own.

In fact, it gave me a reading experience I haven't had in years. Once I really got into it, I just couldn't put it down, no matter what else demanded my attention. The central characters are complex and largely believable, even with a few unbelievable premises to get the story going. And, despite some very tragic events, there's a core of strength and optimism deep inside - another thing I see far too rarely.

//wiredweird
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tony peltier
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 quickly 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 more 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 qualm, 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 questions 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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tom velasco
A young girl wakes up with no memory, serious burns, very serious skull injuries, an aversion to daylight, and some very strange needs and abilities. Gradually, she recovers some memory of how the world works and what she needs, but her memory of herself and her family is completely gone.

Shori is a 53-year-old vampire (still a young girl, by vampire standards), genetically modified to be able to wake and walk during daylight (but not enough to love it; she burns very easily), and the sole survivor of a vicious attack on her community, which consisted of her female relatives and their symbionts. With some help from a human man who stopped to pick up the lost little girl by the side of the road, she finds her father's family, and, after they're attacked, too, other vampires. Gradually she discovers both the reason for the attacks, and her own history and the history and culture of her people. As you'd expect of Butler, it's very well-written, and both logically worked out and emotionally compelling.

Recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brittni lundie
Octavia E. Butler has created a world of vampires that differs from my former experience with this fictitious species. She has softened the previous viciousness of a vampire (Ina) by making their victims willing vessels of nutrition--symbionts as she names them. Rather than being fearful and unwilling targets of vampires, Butler's "symbionts" are grateful and more than willing to be members of the Ina's family.

Butler uses amnesia as a method of informing her reader of the world of the Ina--which, by the way, draws the reader in as if a spell has been cast. As her protagonist, Shori Matthews, relearns about the life of the Ina, so too does her reader share in this education.

I found the book fascinating and a quick read...one that I was hesitant to put down until completing it.

As another reviewer mentions, however, the editing of this novel leaves a lot to be desired. There are numerous errors which do indeed "interrupt the flow" of the reading. I am an editor by profession and if I had let this book go on to be published with this many errors, I'm sure my supervisor would have had a serious talk with me. Shame on the editor for not catching all these errors! Octavia Butler and "The Fledgling" deserved better. However, I hope you won't let these editorial errors keep you from reading this book. It is worth the irritation of the poor editing to add this novel to your reading experience.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kapil
I like Octavia Butler. I pretty much like anything she's written and I am sad she died last year. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a while. It's very easy to get into and the characters are quite likable. I had some reservations about the meeting between Shori and Wright early on but it was explained well later.

That said...I did enjoy the book but I have that Chinese food feeling about it. It just left me wanting more. What happens next? How does Shori proceed with re-educating herself? Does she successfully manage to set up a household and resurrect the Matthews name? How do Wright and Joel manage? How do Celia and Brook manage? Does she become the potent ally Joan Braithwaite believes she will?

I know that with the death of Ms Butler those questions won;t get answered. Or at least not for some time if someone gets hold of any notes she may have left.

Anyway, it's an excellent read, just...vaguely unsatisfying due to the "unfinished" feeling.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa febos
This is one of these books where the subject material is so abhorrent that you don't want to do anything to 'promote' it, but the intent and/or underlying ideas produced is where the artistry glows so powerfully with messages that it deserves to be studied, regardless. There is a documentary that was made by a Nazi sympathizer in WWII for the purpose of praising the Nazi Party that is so brilliant and innovative in its design and production values that film makers study it today for how the director worked her medium and message, while discounting the actual philosophical admiration of Nazism that was its subject. On the surface, this novel features a black little girl who has crazy sex with adults. She may be a 50 year old vampire, but her appearance is that of a tiny elementary school child, that bites. For me, the cringe factor is HUGE.

Butler is a Black American who has written for decades books with strong themes of Race and Being Other getting you killed; her vampire is Black, Other and a victim of a genocidal attack. That is the underlying fact propelling the reason for this book's existence and plot. Plus, the core of the created communites in the book is the vampire's enslavement of people in order to create a 'family' of substitute moms and dads, uncles and aunts, all of whom she loves and has an obligation to take care of, guide and control like any 'moral', paternalistic leader. She is an 50 year-old in a little prepubescent child's body.

On the symbolic, metafiction level, this book is LOUD.

If Butler was white and not an American, I would be giving this one star and I wouldn't have finished it or bothered with it again, writing it off as disgustingly salacious and pornographic trash. But given I've read other Butler books and I know the issue of Race and Otherness is ever-present in her books, often a force of strong cause and effect propulsion to the action, I had to look at what I know a serious Black author was trying to do here.

Butler's books show her to be an imaginative and serious intelligence, and she uses dystopias to demonstrate how animal-cruel and wolf-territorial humans are once the veneer of civilization is stripped away. As many Jews do in their writings, she never seems to forget the experience of being forced to stand out and be separated and attacked because she is 'different', no matter how harmless to others, and thus be made to protect herself, in her writings. She also has pointed out over and over in her books how sex is an underlying motivation for men's violence whatever else a pack of men may have organized themselves for - ideology, protection, survival. Her writing seems to be always bleak and dystopic. Most of her novels are a demonstration that the fine art and ideas of community and fellowship of civilized democracy are easily thrown away under pressure of basic instincts set loose in times of war and breakdown of law and order, those instincts being defined as sexual domination, territorial ownership and tribal identification, and as of destroying competitors for sex, territory and resources.

On the surface, this book is a creepfest of disgusting, stomach-turning sexual pandering. A less than one star rating is deserved.

But on the metafictional level, it 'feels' like a work of genius to me, albeit one of bleak, horrific vision, where people always lose the battle to overcome Darwinian instincts from our monkey-brains, while at the same time we struggle to save our better selves though love and affection for individuals.

I've read four of this author's novels and listened to one satiric radio play she wrote about the 'war' between the sexes, another of her interests. She always writes of Race, Otherness, sexual prejudices and subjugation. However, I've looked in vain for a positive spin or solutions in her fiction. Her fallback position appears to be that the problems of Otherness are genetic, thus insurmountable, and all we can do as a society is promote those bits which reflect the feminine side of nature (she definitely is pro-feminine nature as a productive, creative, nurturing environment, a Darwinian nursing of our better attributes as Homo sapiens).

She used child abuse for several levels of understanding here, but ultimately, I don't question she did it with shocking purpose, like burning a house down because you didn't like the style of the drapes on the windows. But that's her style. I'm repelled by that style, but I can't help under my critic's hat noticing the artistry. So I want to give it both one star and five stars. I wish I could run a star gif or video that keeps flashing one then five stars on top of my review.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
saylee padwal
I am a little torn about this book, and not for the reason that most were. I did not have a problem with Shori being or looking like an 11 year old child, but still having men be sexually attracted to her (isn't that part of the allure of a vampire. And it reminded me of Anne Rice, pre saved, and Interview with a Vampire, there was a child vampire in that story too.). Any way, I think Mrs. Butler did an excellent job explaining her appearance and her allure/senuality. So I won't discuss that issue anymore because I think enough reviewers already have.

My dilemma arises because I think (LOL) I enjoyed the first part of the book, more than the second....well, maybe not necessarily liked it better, but I think that it was easier to understand. It was a clearer story. The plot appeared to be simple. I think Butler spent a great deal of time building up the story about Shori and all of her symbionts only to kind of gloss over the topic later. I mean she did emphasize how they are necessary for her survival, but they were not critical in the story towards the end, except for the fact that some Ina do not care or love their symbionts, but use them for their own end. I know that I am not explaining this well, and it is difficult to explain. Be warned, this is how the book will leave you...kind of dazed and confused. (LOL) And some issues were carefully laid out and never resolved. Maybe it would be easier to critique if I go through a few things...

The novel began with Shori, who appears to be an African American child (of about 11) awakening in a cave. She has been burned, left blind and suffers from severe head injuries, that has left her with no memory. After killing and eating a man, and several deer, she begins to look for others to help her discover who and what she is (although you can guess it, she is a form of a vampire). Along comes Wright, a man in his 20's who is immediately draen to and confused by her allure (afterall, should he be sexually attracted to a child). He takes her in, and protects her. It soon becomes clear to the readers that Shori is an "Ina" (similar to a vampire in that it feeds or takes blood from humans.....known as symbionts).

To make a long story short, Shori has been genetically engineered to do things that other Ina's can not do. She can stay awake during the day and walk in the sun (she has darker skin than most Ina, who are pale with blond hair). And she soon learns that the reason both of her families have been killed is because of it. Someone doesn't like the fact that her Ina blood has been diluted with African American or even human blood.

So in conclusion, the first part of the novel dealt with Shori discovering who and what she is, while the second part of the novel dealt with her attackers and the trial that followed. There is a trial that seeks the truth behind why the wrongs were done to her family. This part of the novel was filled with explanations of the Ina and their ways (i.e., mating habits, language, history and customs), but it was missing something. However, the overall theme appeared to be that there are just as many bigots in the Ina race, as the human race. And while the Ina feel that they are so evolved (better than humans), they have the same prejudices that we do. (That is what was the most interesting.)

So, in conclusion (because I think this is the first review that I have written that appears to be rambling, like my mind after this book)....did I like the novel, yes. Would I read a sequel if there was going to be one...probably (but unfortunately Mrs. Butler died) just to see what happens to Shori, Wright, Brooke, Joel and Celia. But did I love it....No. Is it worth reading...yes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debbie wenk
Fledgling was a wonderful find! It takes the classic vampire story and makes it a contemporary tale. Ms. Butler's final book will surely become a classic in it's own right. This book delves into the prejudice that occurs when two cultures collide, or in this case, when changing ideals collide. When Shori, the 53 year old "child" vampire, recovers from serious injuries sustained when other of her kind, Ina, try to destroy her because she is the result of human and Ina DNA combined, she seeks justice for her suffering and the suffering of her family. Shori's entire family and history are taken from her, but she follows the Ina traditions, laws, and customs to reign victorius in the end. I am saddened that Ms. Butler is not alive to continue Shori's story and the message it has to tell.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
khaled dewan
This isn't my first Octavia Butler book (those would be "Parable of the Sower" and "Parable of the Talents", both of which I loved), and I think in this case that hurts the book. Butler has some themes that she returns to a lot, including racism, gender relationships, and unusual (especially with regards to age gap) romantic relationships. I think she handled these themes with more dexterity in her earlier books than she did in "Fledgling".

"Fledgling" follows Shori, an Ina or vampire-like being. Shori has been genetically modified to be different from the rest of her society. When the story opens, her family has been killed and she's been so badly hurt that she can't remember anything. The narrative follows Shori as she tries to rebuild a family and relearn the society she was born to.

Overall, "Fledgling" has some very interesting ideas. I really enjoyed learning about the Ina culture. Shori was interesting, and her frustration at the willful ignorance her people could muster felt very real.

Despite being a good piece of literature, this book failed to grab me. I didn't fall in love with the characters, and I didn't cry when bad things happened to them (as opposed to the "Parable" books, where the horrific things that happened to people earned a very visceral gut reaction). I still would have given it four stars (not all literature is gripping--frequently ideas can eclipse story-telling) except for the fact that the ideas didn't feel as fresh or as well-thought-out as in other Butler books.

Themes of addiction and themes of social power (can there really be love if someone can control your thoughts and actions, or is it just need and eventual acceptance?) are introduced but not, I felt, fully explored. This seems to be partly due to the first person narrative perspective, but the relationship between the Ina and their symbiotes was one of the more interesting parts for me, and I would have liked to see more done with it. The racial aspect also felt rather clumsily handled--no need to beat us over the head with "they are racist idiots who hate her because she's *black*". I appreciated the subtlety of the racial theme when the complaint voiced was just "she's not one of us, she's *human*", especially since it would have delved deeper into the issues of loving vs. controlling vs. needing, and where the various lines are. As it was, it just felt very derivative and like beating a dead horse. Also, I'm not sure what Butler meant to do with the thread of pedophilia and sexuality that ran through the book. When I can't tell why an author has introduced a very hot-button topic, or even what their stance on it is (is there some message about sexualizing children? giving children the option to choose what they do and not ramming "sex is bad down" their throats? is it just to include the sexual aspect of the vampire mythos? what?), I get rather frustrated.

So, overall, a good book. Certainly worth reading, and it does make for some food for mental thought. There's some fun cultural construction with the Ina. But definitely not Butler's best work.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
a j bryant
The sad thing about reading this book was knowing that there will never be another one written by Ms. Butler, who died tragically earlier this year.

Since the plot is well covered in the description and by other reviewers, I will simply give my own brief impressions of the book.

Ms. Butler has always excelled at telling great stories while making significant social commentaries about our world, and "Fledgling" in no exception. Issues of race and genetic engineering are at the forefront of this tale, and the unique way Butler deals with these issues here is handled skillfully, albeit not so subtly, as some readers might prefer. But then Octavia Butler was always an author who tackled such social commentaries within her writings head on, while stil creating a compelling read.

For me, the story is at its best the first half to two-thirds of the book, when Shori and her symbiots are on the run from the mysterious assailants who are on her trail. But the story seems to flatten out once she finds a safe haven and begins to learn who may be responsible for the murder of her families.

The story becomes more about revealing the ins and outs of the Ina culture, the vampire like race to which Shori belongs. Even the death of someone close to Shori, and the eventual "showdown" between Shori and the guilty party, lack (for want of a less punny word) bite. I just felt more like an observer to the events and not emotionally involved in them. I believe this is due to the lead character's memory loss, which has left her far less emotionally affected by the tragic events around her. And what strain she does feel are more told than shown in any empathetic fashion.

I wish I could say that this book, apparently the last ever written by a widely respected author, was her best. But I think there was much that was left unsaid, and much more story to tell.

Knowing that Shori's tale, along with that of Ms. Butler's, has come to a far too early end makes this book one I will always keep, not as a greatly treasured addition to my personal library, but as a remembrance of a writer I greatly admired, respected, and will sorely miss.

- Gregory Bernard Banks, author of "Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death & Life"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elias
For those who thought that Anne Rice and Joss Whedon

had the last word on the vampire saga,this story

will come as a startling and innovative revelation;

one full of romance and peril, high drama and

suspenseful intrigue.

For those who yearn for some Science Fiction with

a more multicultural range, with strong, relentless

questions about gender preference, community-

building and the folly of indulging intolerance

at any level, this book represents the literature

as true Speculation about the nature of humanity;

where we've been, what we are, and who we can

be.

Welcome to the imaginative visions posed by

world-renowned author Octavia E. Butler in

her groundbreaking latest novel, FLEDGLING.

Setting precedents is a Butler trademark, one

which has drastically altered and expanded

every literary field she's tackled for over

30 years. Before Butler, Science Fiction and

African American Culture never crossed idioms

in so boldly upfront a manner. Before Butler,

for that matter, African American authors were

rarely seen or recognized in any type of genre

fiction other than what was deemed "Black enuf",

often by the most narrow-minded of standards.

Butler's steadfast persistence in forging her

own literary perspective has long defied

institutional stereotypes from all sides, and

has come to represent a major, long-overdue

expansion of African American authors into

the varied corridors of American letters; from

multimedial mavericks such as Thulani Davis

and Dwayne McDuffie to singular trailblazers

such as Mystery master Walter Mosley.

FLEDGLING establishes a whole new facet in

the Butler landscape. Expect no Draculas or

Lestats here. No leering post-Victorian ghouls,

no curse of lust-crazed, cancerous demonry, no

forlorn predators taking to wing and commanding

gross vermin lurk within these pages. In this

take on the vampire saga, the focus is on family,

tradition, and transition between the blood-

nourished Ina and their equally life-nourished

chosen humans; a focus broken when Ina communities

are suddenly the targets of mindless, genocidal

slaughter.

Just who is responsible for these hate crimes,

and the reason for such wanton terror, is at the

heart of a thrilling odyssey which centers around

an amnesiac child named Shori... and what she

represents to all involved.

The two-time Hugo and Nebula award-winner is known

for her crisp dialogue and meaty characterizations,

coming straight to the point and taking the reader

into intricate scenarios of thought-provoking

adventure.

In FLEDGLING, the questions abound with gleeful yet

sobering energy. Community or captivity? Evolution

or eugenics? Vigilance or aggression? Erotic need,

narcotic fixation, or simple loving? Those who have

seen Butler weave these and other topics into the SF

field over the decades will, nevertheless, be stunned

by the sheer virtuosity and seeming ease with which

she dances her points into the reader's eye here.

Make no mistake about FLEDGLING. The Seven Stories

Press presentation is a major thematic summation of

Butler's life and career, a signature statement from

an acclaimed artistic pioneer.

This is the work of a MacArthur Foundation grant-

winner, once more sharing her formidable genius with

the world. Encouraged by her mother early in life,

and bolstered at the start of her career by the

multifaceted Harlan Ellison, Butler stands tall as

a writer's writer.

Her stunningly credible wordscapes of other worlds,

other species, and often-unimagined compatibilties

bring an uncanny, unimpeachable credence to her

frequent commentary on the human condition. Small

wonder, then, that she can communicate the tragedy

of an innocent lover's senseless murder with mute

shock and gnawing melancholy; making us deeply

outraged, perhaps just a bit more fragile and

thoughtful about what we dare to risk -or think

to withhold- in our own relationships.

Small wonder, too, that one of the most quiet

points of the story holds what has to be one of

the author's most intensely personal reflections.

Later in FLEDGLING, an Ina tests the range of her

hearing, and takes in a myriad blend of sounds,

and the emotions behind them.

One of them is a woman "reading a story about a

wild horse to a little girl" (pg. 184); a tender

moment adding further texture to what poet Margaret

Danner once characterized as the varied-patterned

lace of a true society.

That Butler, in one fell swoop, has paid loving

homage to her own mother's encouragement, and fond

remembrance of the very first book that she -herself-

ever purchased, is a bonus to those who know something

of her history. For those who never read her

autobiographical essay "Positive Obsession" from

the collection BLOODCHILD, the moment stands,

nevertheless.

A sweet capper to a fleeting interlude, it poses

a pivotal springboard for the tribulations and

contemplations to come.

Bearing witness to the power of one person's

integrity, and her drive to bridge the gaps in

our experience, FLEDGLING is Octavia E. Butler

at her most challenging; setting her sights on

nothing less than the myth and folklore which

can either shroud us in fear and ignorance,

or bolster our struggles to break free, gain

wisdom, and encourage compassion.

The choice, of course, must be made by each and

every one of us... freely, and of our own will.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
molly jin
Most reviewers have pretty much summed up the premise of this book. As a long-time Octavia Butler fan, I also saw the shortcomings of the book, but saw it for what it was. This book is similar to some of Butler's previous books in that it's setting a foundation for a long-term series--it's almost like a short story. It is very much like Imago, which also had an unfinished feel. I found myself longing for the next book in the series as soon as I read the last page. The fact that Ms. Butler will never be able to continue the series, is only another sad part of her tragic, early death. Perhaps Tananarieve Due, who was a friend of Ms. Butler and reportedly saw her as a mentor, might consider continuing the series as a tribute. That would be a truly dynamic duo.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
veronica bailey
I've loved Octavia Butler's books since I read "Bloodchild" in 1990. I'm always curious about how she will treat her recurring themes of difference, genetics and the response people have to these things. Fledgling isn't really different in this respect...Her use of genetic manipulation in this book isn't really different from what she did with Lilith's Brood (aka Xenogenesis) or with the Patternmaster novels. What makes this book so interesting is the way she uses the vampire myth to mold a whole new (possibly alien) race that lives alongside humanity. This is not your typical vampire novel.

When I first started this novel I was a bit horrified at the scene early on that seems to be about an adult having sex with a preteen child...this put me off the book for about six months. I'm glad that I plunged forward and finished the book. It was well worth it and Butler does an exemplary job of explaining it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
simeon
This book is the best vampire story I've ever read. Octavia Butler's approach to the vampire narrative is surprisingly original and refreshingly detailed. The intermingling of world history with the well thought out vampire history made this world seem tangible and real. The characters are robust and well developed, and can easily be the subject of a full series of movies to eclipse the Twilight series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
matt crimp
I've alway been a fan of Octavia Butler, but haven't read anything recently.(in fact, I just learned of her death)
The Fledgling is her most intriguing tale. I'm sure you've picked up the whole amnesia aspect of this young phoenix. Ms Butler has shown us the love and caring between races (of human and Ina)by using the tiniest details. Shori's "first" symbiont is jealous of her need for other food sources. He is allowed to feel jealous, instead of being put down as an insecure man. The newer parts of her "family" have their own issues, each of which are admirably revealed and valued. In fact, valuing family is what this story is all about, in many diverse layers.
My description is vastly ineffective, but this lovely tale is a wonderful read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alicia tse
I'd only read one of her books before. Kindred (an amazing book in itself).

I don't remember why I picked this one up to read but I was thoroughly enchanted from beginning to end. I avoid most of the newer vampire fictions because it seems like they're all of the Twilight bent. And Twilight to me was a comedy.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that does like vampire stories but would like to see a *different* take on them. I'll refrain from saying anything about the story itself. Part of the fun for me was the reveal of all the aspects to Octavia's take on vampires.

I read often more than 100 books a year. And for the sheer sake of sanity, I let go of my big library of books. I kept only the ones that I treasure and will re-read several times more in my life. This book? Is one of them.

I mourn Octavia for she was a wonderful writer. I'm rationing out her other books for reading. I also mourn that there will never be a continuation of this story. Not that it ends on any loose ends that I recall.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah jarboe
If you're sensitive to gore, there's some of that in this book. But, the book isn't built around the gore/fear like so many "horror fiction" novels seem to be. In fact, I would almost classify this book as a study of culture and social psychology with a splash of erotica and mystery. These vampires have laws and cultural norms where they can co-exist in symbiotic relationships with willing humans. I read the author's "Lilith's Brood" and "Kindred" before this one. Then, this one really showed me how versatile the author really was...and keenly aware of human nature and how to create very believable characters. It is a tragedy that this author died. She had more to write!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zeenah
Octavia Butler is obviously one of my favorite authors of all time. I decided to read Fledgling after I finished Parable of the Talents. I had no idea it was a vampire novel. I also had no idea I would find so many similarities with some of my own writing. It's amazing how deeply some things run through black experience and how we cannot let it go in our writing.

From the first few chapters, I found myself cringing at some of the content, for the protagonist Shori Matthews is a 53-year-old vampire but looks like a 10-year-old child. However, this is something I actually like about Butler's writing. She frequently takes me as the reader out of my comfort zone, but it is never for titillation or shock value. Rather, the reader must see the events unfolding from Shori's point of view as she tries to regain her memory and find out why she found herself alone and naked in a cave as a community of seemingly abandoned houses have burned around her.

This is tied to one of the themes of her work here: the importance of memory and not only what it means to be human but also what it means to be a family. Many people may not like the construction of the communities as they are here, but there is a logic for everything.

There is something very interesting about Butler's construction of a child who is actually much older than her appearance suggests, especially after seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild and thinking about black girls in childhood. Fledgling is not a story for children and the reader may get to see Shori relearning what she already knows, but she is never really allowed to be seen as a child. Those who are interested should be warned that there are many situations in which it is necessary to think about a girl who looks young in the middle of very adult situations.

Still, Butler writes this one beautifully and follows through with her usual insight and clarity. Unfortunately, there are proofreading errors throughout this book, but that is not the fault of the author as I have noticed that many books coming from "traditional" publishing houses now contain many more errors these days. Fortunately, these errors do not take away from the power of Butler's story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
laura tallent
I liked this novel alot, the plot is pretty well written, semi-driven by what we need to find out for the novel to work-but not forcibly driven, it flows well.

Shori -the main character-wakens alone-blind, badly hurt and starving-in a cave where she is hiding from sun light and seeking food. Eventually she heals enough to find her way out of the cave. She can not remember who she is, what she is or where she comes from. She wanders until she finds a familiar landscape and finds the burned out remains of a community. She can not remember specifics, but she believes this was her home and wonders if others of her community made it out of the fire like she did. Down and out by the destruction of her community, depressed and confused by her inability to remember anything about her previous life-even her name-she is wandering by the side of the road when she is picked up by a young man on his way home from work. Wright, a hairy white man of 23 sees what appears to be a 10 yr old black girl wandering aimlessly and picks her up to get her help. In reality, Shori, is a 53 year old Ina and Wright is the one who needs to be seeking help. Shori bites Wright in the car which forms a bond between them and begins to feed on him as well as others in the small rural area he lives in. Eventually she contacts her father and learns her name and then name of her race-Ina. Ina's are an ancient race of beings who form a relationship with humans-the humans are the Ina's "symbionts". Symbionts provide blood, companionship and family for Ina's. Ina's provide their humans with longer, healthier lives as well as companionship. These types of relationships are a common theme in Butler's books. Ina's are the basis for modern Vampire legends. They can not be out in sunlight-it burns them, they survive largely off of human blood, they seduce and bewitch and are able to control the humans they feed off of. The major difference being that the Ina can not reproduce by "making" humans into Ina-in fact it is impossible to do so. Ina's are born into that race. Shori-is a result of genetic manipulation on the part of her Ina parents. Ina's are largely Caucasian in appearance-but Shori is black like the human female who contributed to her DNA. She is also a "day-walker" able to stay awake and function during the daylight hours and she represents years of genetic research into improving the dying race of Ina.

A good novel, definitely feels like the first of a series. I found myself surprisingly uncomfortable with idea that Shori looks like a 10 year old girl but is having sex with a 23 year old male during the first 50 pages of the novel. Even when it comes to be known that she is no child-it still felt like molestation. Shori is described as flat-chested and hairless-a molesters wet dream. As a mother it bothered me.

Butler again explores the human need to be in a community. The more of her work I read-and I have read it all with the exception of Survivor-the more I agree.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sarita perez
Fledgling succeeds as yet another novel of memorable, mind-blowing story-telling by one of the best novelists around! Simply put, Octavia Butler captures readers' attention, expands the imagination and delivers word-created images/circumstances for pondering indefinitely! OK, maybe not so 'simply' put after all... :) Readers of Butler's work will appreciate her foray into the world of Vampires and reconstructing it with a Butleresque twist that is unmistakeable.
Having watched oodles of Vamp flix over the years, I've yet to read one novel about them. I'm grateful that Butler is my 'first' book version. She turns the many commercialized images askew and delivers a compelling look into a complex world that yields plenty of suspense, surprise and characteristically--perhaps even more so than typical--a sensuality that is inescapable and somewhat challenging even after certain realizations. All in all, worthy of 4 solid stars because of Butler's usual visionary efforts made apparent. What keeps the fifth star from appearing for me is that the EDITING is SAD and was at times frustrating when continuity was most important. That's no reflection on Ms. Butler, though I'd seriously consider another editor for an author with so much to say!

Enjoy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lindsey wolkin
I don’t want to give too much about the book away because it plays with your expectations at every turn, but if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or True Blood, you’ll love Fledgling. If you read Twilight and wished it were about 100% sexier and 300% smarter, this is the book for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wenhsiu
She awakens feeling inside middle age, but looking preadolescent. Even more confusing is she suffers from amnesia and doesn't know why she is in this cave badly bruised and injured. Finally she is starving, but instinctively knows she must dine on human blood preferably without killing the host.

Wright drives by, sees this young battered girl alone, stops and offers her a ride, which she accepts along with feeding from him. He stays at her side feeling compelled to do so as Shori meets other Ina almost like her and learns that humans like Wright are symbionts providing their nourishment. However, she also finds out how unique she is even amongst the vampiric Ina as she is the result of a genetic experiment using African-American human DNA that enables her to withstand sunlight, why her family was murdered and that a predator seeks to finish the job by killing her and her new symbiont. Survival is her only objective.

FLEDGLING is a reprint of a terrific vampire tale that provides a deep look at family, race relationships, and sexuality yet is loaded with action. Shori holds the tale together as she learns who she is and why someone wants her dead. Though some readers might have issue with a fifty-three years old female who looks like she is ten or eleven years old (Ina age slower and live longer) having adult relationships, Octavia E. Butler writes a thought provoking character driven relationship allegory.

Harriet Klausner
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chris way jones
I was literally foaming at the mouth when I learned that Octavia Butler had a new novel coming out. Even the fact that it was a vampire story could not stop me from being one of the first to purchase and voraciously consume what I knew would probably be another great read. She is one of my absolute favorite authors though I am not a huge fan of vampire fiction.

Written in first person narrative, Butler opens her story with words meant to intrigue and entice and keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end. I read Fledgling in three days but if I could have, I would have read it in one night. Time constraints and other responsibilities would not allow me this guilty pleasure. I truly enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

Fans of Butler this is not one you will want to miss. I have read every last one of Octavia's novels with the exception of Survivor and trust me, Fledgling fits right in there with the rest in my Butler collection. Loved it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rebecca davis
OMG! I couldn't put the book down I even found myself running to the restroom during work hours just to get a taste of what was to come. I've read many books from several authors, but it's been a while since I've been held so captive. As a matter of fact it's almost 2 am and I have to get up in a couple of hours, but it was worth every second of lost sleep to finish this book.

Ms. Butler's words sing off the page and evoke emotions that make me feel as though I'm there living in the story feeling the pain of frustration & loss along with Shori. I felt myself wanting to hold her in my arms and comfort her to help take away the pain.

It is my opinion that this book is the best of all the Octavia Butler books. I highly recommend this read but be forewarned you too will not be able to put it down.

- Spinweaver
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
fibromiteraye
at least in my eyes. I VERY rarely give 5 starts but this book was SO FREAKING WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have never read a book by Octavia Butler then quit being so lazy and start with this one! I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this book! This is the first book I've read by her but it WILL NOT be my last!! I'm so excited because I love finding a great book and a great author!!!

It saddened me to hear that a talent as great as this has passed. That is too bad for the literary world and to me for not having a chance to express my feelings for her work! I think she has 14 books out and I hope I love all of them as much as I LOVED this one!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
daniel bassett
I didn't particularly like this novel. It wasn't badly written but it happened to touch on a theme that I thought was very creepy and I found my gut turning in at several different points in the novel. This might be a benefit to some readers but it's the reason why I have given up some authors altogether even though I like their writing style like Anne Rice when I read The Witching Hour. The Witching Hour had excellent language, and I could see everything in my head like it was a movie. The problem was everything I read in it was too creepy. Fortunately,I haven't had this problem with Octavia Butler in the past.I do like the plot because I found it really unique to the vampire genre and I like how one of my favorite authors came up with it. But it's a book I could only read once because of some of the things the main character did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
orangerful
I thought that this was an interesting take on the classic Vampire story. It's a good read. Butler has a great writing style that is sophisticated without being burdensome. I look forward to reading more of her work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ltdann
I really liked this book! The unique take on the vampire myth was original and enjoyable (though there were some uncomfortable parts...) It was exciting, and I am very disappointed to learn that this was Butler's last book, as I would have enjoyed a sequel! I really enjoyed this much more than I expected to, really. The characters were strong and sympathetic and the added theme of racism worked well and added a social layer that is missing from most vampire tales. I am curious to learn more about her earlier books!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
benjamin kudria
An interesting novel, intertwining racism and difficult subjects. However, I found this book mediocre and repetitive. There are also major editing errors which can make it awkward to read. I believe I should have started with another Butler novel, as I trust she is talented. Fledgling is engaging enough, but not a book you can't put down. The main character and the first person she meets end up having a relationship bordering on ephebophilia, although her mental age is 53, which is a glaring issue for me. Overall, an "okay" read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jen8998
I love Octavia Butler. She was a brilliant, creative writer and I hold many of her works close to my heart. Her books seem to have a running theme of challenging social structure and societal norms, even around sexuality. That's part of what I appreciate about her writing. What I just can't tolerate is the pedophilic undertones of this book. I know the main character is technically in her fifties, but her body is that of a ten or eleven year old. I trudged through the otherwise entertaining story (skipping the love scenes, yuck!), but I'm still left disgusted by that theme, and wondering what Octavia Butler was thinking. Why was it important to her to carry her readers through scenes of grown men making love to a ten year old's body? Ugh! Gross gross gross... My only other complaint is that this book seemed to be very poorly edited. There were errors on at least every other page.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marie ventris
As you know, Octavia Butler died February 24, 2006. She was hospitalized after bumping her head when she fell on a cobbled sidewalk in Seattle. Butler died within hours. She had not been able to write for several years because of health problems, including a heart disorder, and difficulty breathing and walking. In addition, Butler said she was suffering from writer's block. "Fledging" was the book that jump startled her powerful, but stilled, engine. I am sure there would have been more, and better, books to come. Indeed, the sequel to "Fledging" would probably have been as rich as any of her previous award winners. Unfortunately, she did not get the opportunity to write it.

"Fledgling" adequately gets what would have been a new series through its first, awkward steps into vampire lore, which was somewhat new for Butler. Shori, the young protagonist, is introduced and her dilemma is established. The childlike vampire is a genetically engineered anomaly who is gifted with characteristics unlike those of other vampires: Shori has the ability to function during daylight hours and to encounter sunlight without suffering more than mild sunburn. She has the potential to revolutionize the capabilities of modern vampires by passing along her genetic gifts to her offspring. But, some vampires have accepted the belief that dark skin is a sign of genetic inferiority (perhaps they are fans of "The Bell Curve"). Their goal is to eliminate the threat, Shori and her family, before vampires of color become established. Most of the conflict in "Fledging" involves Shori's efforts to evade her assassins, an especially bloodthirsty lot.

The book is badly edited. Typographical errors abound and there is mediocre usage that any editor should have noticed and questioned. One wonders why a well-known writer such as Butler was treated so disrespectfully, and, can only conclude the editor was indifferent about correcting errors and making suggestions to improve the writing.

However, flawed editing and sometimes unimaginative prose do not mar the book to the point of unreadability. The character driven story does battle with the flaws and wins hands down. I finished "Fledging," which I happened to read the week before Butler died, already eagerly anticipating the sequel. You will likely feel the same way -- only to realize we are both fated to be disappointed.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ruby harvey
Just finished reading this book. I came to it after reading Butler's Seed to Harvest series, which I wholly recommend. Reading some of the comments above I can agree that there were a glaringly large amount of grammar, and textual errors for a book like this. This was somewhat distracting but did not take away from the story.

I'm a fan of the vampire genre and am always keen to read new interpretations on an old trope. Fever Dream by George R.R. Martin has a similar take on vampire origins as this one did, but with a few key differences that still make them both unique.

Since the main character in this book suffers from amnesia we learn along side her about her "vampire" people. It is a clever way to hide a large amount of info-dumps but works in this story. The plot itself moves along quite nicely for about the first 2/3 of the book. But the ending and climax left me wanting more. The earlier parts of the book contain action and interesting ideas, but the ending slows and degrades into an entirely different sort of story from where it began. It mostly involves the characters talking to one another going back and forth over the central issue of the book.

Butler has created an interesting universe here and I would be eager to read a follow up story if such a thing existed. However, I don't believe it does. This is unfortunate since I feel that there is a lot more to be told about these "vampires" than what is contained in these few pages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael c
When young Shori awakens in a cave, badly injured and totally confused, she must rely on her instincts to stay alive and heal. She later figures out, despite her amnesia, that she is a vampire (although they call themselves Ina) and that although on human standards she appears to be of elementary school age, she is really 53 years old (yet still a child in Ina standards). As it turns out, Ina males and females live apart, only coming together to breed, and Shori's female family was attacked leaving her as the only survivor. As far as Ina go, Shori is unique. Her family has been very involved in science and as a black vampire, she is the result of their successful genetic research. Her family has hopes that by creating Ina with dark skin, they will be better able to function in the modern world by being less sensitive to the painful rays of the sun and having less of a need to sleep during the daylight hours. Shori must find humans from whom she can feed (called symbionts). As she does this, it becomes clear that the relationship between vampires and humans is much more mutualistic than the predator/victim archetype so often seen in writing. So much happens as the story unfolds; Shori must relearn her culture, make a new life for herself, and survive a series of ominous attacks.

Octavia Butler doesn't just write a story about vampires, she has created a vampire culture. Butler's take on vampirism in FLEDGLING demonstrates the talent and creativity that has captured fans of her writing for years. Readers are sure to come away from this book looking at vampires under a whole new light. The Ina were more than beings that relied on human blood to survive, they were caring and committed to their symbionts as well as to their own history and traditions. The deliberate pacing of the plot encourages readers to reflect on the subtle themes of love, racism, transformation, and so many others. I was a little disappointed in the ending. I felt there was so much of the story left untold, hopefully there will be future books that revisit Shori and her Ina kin.

Reviewed by Stacey Seay

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sheikharw
Octavia Butler's "Fledgling" is a vampire story, but Butler has taken on one of the most well loved genres and totally turned it on its head. The story follows an amnesiac trying to find her place and her past.

Telling much more than that without giving away much about the book is fairly difficult, so instead I'll focus on the book's style and themes. Like several of Butler's other books, there's a great deal to be said about race, sex, and sensuality. Butler presents a society where the usual stereotypes about these things have no applied before, but such things become exposed not as a societal norm but as an abberation and viewed on with horror. As the protagonist finds her place, we find an understanding of the society into which she leaves.

The book pacing is somewhat bizarre-- it starts off pretty aggressively paced, but as the story develops, it slows to a crawl before picking back up again. It's all presented in a first-person perspective, so the protagonist, being an amnesiac, provides an outsider-looking-in viewpoint into this world of hidden vampires and secret communities.

Butler manages an intriguing read-- the society she puts forth is stunning, and the views on relationships between races and sexes is intriguing, but the book feels to fizzle out at the end. While the largely dialog-driven last several chapters of the book really is the best part of the book, I found the end itself by and large unsatisfying. Still, it made for a good read, those interested in Butler's work should definitely check it out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steve sparkes
It's been getting so difficult to find original vampire fiction these days. I received this book for Christmas and found it to be engrossing. The idea is unique, the writing smooth and the main character engaging. Shuri is a very special Ina (Vampire). She remains awake throughout the day and while the sun hurts her, she doesn't burst into flame. Unfortunately for her, prejudice isn't just limited to humans.

This is a must for fans of vampire fiction. It is a crying shame that there can be no sequel due to the unfortunate death of the author.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
grinnie
I'm in a Vampire Literature course and this was one of the books on our reading list. I couldn't believe it made the cut. Fledgling proved to be dull, repetitive and tedious. It opens up with a fair amount of promise and the premise is intriguing; however, the next 250 pages are spent repeating the same story over and over and over and over. We get it: Shori doesn't know anything about herself, her family or what it means to be Ina. Much of what is said through dialogue could have been summed up in narration. The prose itself is sparse and boring--Butler uses the same words and phrases repeatedly, to the point of annoyance. Her characters are very one-dimensional, and we are thrown so many names and characters that I found myself just simply not caring about any of them. How could I? I wasn't given time to. This book reads like the beginning of a series (which unfortunately didn't continue due to Butler's untimely death), but even that isn't enough of an excuse to justify the endless exposition and redundancy. The idea is OK... the execution is painful. I say spare yourself and read something else.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cocobean
Fledging is the last work of Octavia Butler. I was not impressed with Wild Seed, the book prior, but I couldn't put this book down from the moment I picked it up. She flipped every vampire lore upside down and introduced her readers to a noble unique people. As always she captured the plight of Blacks and the prejudices attributed to skin tone. It was well written and a quick addictive read. I was as addicted to Shori as everyone in the book was. This was a wonderful and engaging final book. RIP Ms. Butler.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jody baush
Ms. Octavia Butler's, "Fledgling", is a very unique vampire story with a twist.

Ms. Bulter was a genuinely gifted and exceptionally detailed writer whose greatness in telling a story while addressing social issues will truly be missed by all.

From the beginning of the story the reader in intrigued by the vivid descriptions used by Ms. Butler in describing her plots and characters. She weaves her characters into the storyline like a basket weaver, making sure that they blend seemlinessly together.

Her excellent description in great detail of the "Ina" (vampires) and their "symbionts" (humans), how they meet, what they looked like was like watching a scene from a movie unfold. For example, the description of "Sori",(the narrator of the story), when she awakes in a cave, naked, blind and with this terrible unsatiationable hunger that is not satisfied until she actually has to kill in order to heal... along with the details that lead up to her meeting, Wright, her first "symbiont" and throughout the entire story.The vivid descriptions of eroticism that is expressed from the "bite" the Ina's give the humans that become their symbionts,who do not die or become un-dead zombies, make this both story very intriging and mysterious. But, yet a different type of vampire story that is guaranteed to keep the reader captivated throughout the entire book.

The twist in this vampire tale is that the humans don't die and live among the "Ina's",until they are in their hundreds age wise. They actually live in secret communities among the general human population world wide, (maybe vampires truly exist)?

However, in this world that seems to be the perfect combination of humans (symbionts) and vampires (Ina) such issues as racism,sexism, ageism,and elitism still exist in what seemed to be the perfectly created society?

The only part of the book that was disappointing was the ending, which eluded to a sequal, however,due to the untimely death of Ms. Butler, we will never know what happended to "Sori", and her symbionts... well,you will just have to create your own ending to this delightful story!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
richa
For the readers of Octavia E. Butler, it has been seven longs years since her last book. When I first read the synopsis for Fledgling, I was disappointed at the idea of a vampire story by Butler. I couldn't see her creating a character like Dracula, Lestat or Buffy. I should not have worried. Butler re-invents vampirism with considerable ingenuity and deftness. She does not tell a gothic tale but there is vibrant romance and eroticism. While there are truly horrific elements in the storyline, they are not based on tropes from the horror genre but familiar ones based on human nature.

[...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
musafir
Octavia Butler is one of my favorite writers, I doubt very many authors will rise to her level of writing in my eyes no matter how many decades pass. At first some of the details of this novel were a bit distrubing but I think they were supposed to be so and thus they were well crafted. Her vampire world is a powerful place that should rightly take a spot along side some of the great fictional vampiric societies ever imagined by human beings.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lisa a
"Fledgling" is a science-fiction vampire novel. The story is told through the eyes of an amnesiac vampire whose family, we learn, has been destroyed because of genetic experiments they performed the result of which is the main character, Shori, a hybrid vampire with African-American human genes, which make her resistant to sunlight. With her vampire family and her adopted family of human "symbionts," Shori seeks out to discover who was behind the killing.

I have never read anything else by Octavia Butler, though I understand that many of her books have race as a theme. "Fledgling" also seems to be about racial prejudice, but it does that clumsily, and waits for the very end. The vampires like to preen about how they are above such puny human things as racial prejudice, and in the same breath, it seems, they attack Shori for her mixed blood. It isn't at all subtle or effective.

I think this book misses its own point. What I mean is, it seems to be about what it means to be human - it isn't. The human characters, most of whom are symbionts to the Ina, the vampires, are much more interesting than the main character. According to this book, humans become symbionts from the venom in a vampire's saliva. Once a human becomes a symbiont, he or she is bound forever to his or her Ina patron, and live out an extended life with him or her. Do they really have free choice? Are they slaves with gilded chains? Are they little more than pets, no matter how much the Ina claim to love them? The symbionts bring up so many intriguing moral questions, but no one in the book wants to ask or answer them. Perhaps that's because the symbionts aren't the main focus of the book. But so much time is spent with them, and we identify with them, so really, they should be. Instead we get a lo-o-o-ng courtroom scene and glimpses into the rather sterile Ina world, where they are immortal and superhuman, but not above calling the main character stupid racially-motivated names.

I won't get into the feeding scenes with Shori and her symbionts, which basically amount to scenes of sex (literal and metaphorical) with a character who has the body of a ten-year-old girl. Ew.

Despite some interesting tidbits about Ina society, which show some imagination, I cannot recommend this book. I found some of the ideas, especially the symbionts, almost upsetting, especially in the beginning of the book, and the rest was either boring or, as stated in the previous paragraph, too ew. But I will say this; it made me think. And that's more than I can say for a lot of books I've read lately.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jesse strauss
Octavia Butler deftly explores the effects of racism, the treatment of the outcast and the complexity of human relationships in her science fiction fantasy, Fledgling. The main character, Shori, is a 53 year-old vampire who appears to be an African American teenager. Butler adroitly places the reader inside the mind and heart of Shori who sees and experiences everything as if it is her first time. As Butler unveils her past, present, and future, the reader feels the power of Shori's addictive hunger for blood and human contact.

In the beginning of the novel, Shori wakes up in the mountains in the midst of her old home, which has been reduced to ashes to discover she has been burned and beaten. She remembers nothing. All she knows is what she sees in front of her-eight houses that have been burned to the ground. After picking through the wreckage, she finds some clothes and leaves without a destination in mind.

As Shori heads down the road, away from the wreckage, a car pulls over and the driver offers her a ride. The driver, Wright, sees what looks to be an injured 14 year-old black girl and insists that she get it. Once in the car, Wright immediately wants to take Shori to the hospital, and yet somehow she knows to say no. When he persists and grabs her arm, they struggle. She instinctively knows what to do: Shori bites Wright.

Wright, shocked, pulls the car over and says, "It feels good. Which is weird. How do you do that?"

Shori now begins the fascinating process of learning who she is and what she is supposed to do. She has no family or friends; she relies only on her instincts and her hunger for blood and human contact.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anke
there were some typographical errors and word omissions thorugh out the book. I constantly had to catch what was actually being 'said/written.'

Besides that, it was a very unique twist on the Vampire myth. This was the most original work I've read. None of that stake through the heart garbage or humans hunting them down. The Symbionts is just one aspect which makes this original. I do recommend this to anyone interested in ORIGINAL QUALITY!!!!!!! Plus the story is compelling!!!!!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie stone
Fledgling is a beautiful story about gender, sexuality, bigotry and what it means to be family. Butler does a wonderful job of including these themes in a story that is at times exciting, poignant and wholly original.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kofi adisa
I am confused by the five star reviews. I truly adored Kindred and Parable of the Sower, but Fledgling falls short. The writing just isn't that good. It lacks linguistic sophistication and richness and rawness and beauty and shifts in perspective. The long monologues peppering the book drive me crazy. Nonetheless, I did manage to read the whole thing in a few days, so that must mean something. It's an intriguing concept, it just needed a better execution.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debbie lausman
This was my first Octavia Butler book and I'm definitely buying Kindred. Butler creates a fascinating world were vampires live in communal families with their human symbionts. The vampire-human relationship is strong, erotic and mutually beneficial.

Shori wakes up naked, hurt, and hungry. She looks like a young African-American girl, but she is something else, a new kind of vampire with tolerance to the light. She's also deadly dangerous when she needs to be. Even though she looks like a child, she is really 70 years old so there is a shocking element to her sexuality.

Well written and very daring, dealing with issues of exclusion and race. I really loved this book and couldn't stop reading it -- even on a car ride, which gave me a headache. My one problem with it was the long vampire court scenes, which were anticlimatic. This book has so much going for it that it's still worth more than five stars.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kelly fitz
As much as I appreciate the new spin Butler was going for, I feel like she let the character and story development suffer. The story just felt stunted to me like she was trying so hard to do something different that she made everything else secondary.

I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters and Shori felt almost unlikable. The fact that Shori had amnesia seemed to be a "get out of jail free card" for exploring her personality. I don't buy that not remembering means that you don't care and she never seemed to care about much of anything. When I read about tragic events in the news, I still feel emotional about them, even though they didn't happen to me. Shori seems to have missed the boat on compassion completely though, even with her own tragedies.

The symbiont/vampire relationship was disturbing. Too often it felt like I was reading about some creepy, fanatical religious cult. Between that and the sexual nature of a vampire in a 10-year old body, it kind of felt more like Butler was intentionally trying to make the reader's flesh crawl than write a fully developed story. If the characters were richer and more complex, maybe it wouldn't have sat so uncomfortably with me but they weren't, so it felt like shock value.

Overall I think it was a decent read but I expected more. The concept is fantastic but the execution was only so-so. And yes, where's a good editor when you need one? There were typos everywhere! Very distracting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eileen oviatt
The Vampire tale told differently and wonderfully as only Octavia Butler can do. The master has spoken and now the rest of us mere mortals can only wish she were still with us in mortal form to give us more nourishment on our journey.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
georgia jordan
I really liked this twist on the vampire story. I also loved the way the story begins. It grabs you and makes you keep reading for the 1st word. The ending however, was dull and predictable. It would be interesting to see a sequel to this book. You want to know more about what will happens to this young vampire!

This book is definitely worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mohammad sarshar
Shori is a young girl and an amnesiac who slowly comes to accept a startling truth: that she's actually an old vampire in disguise, genetically modified to live in daylight. As the only survivor of her world, Shori tries to rebuild her broken life - and to uncover the reasons behind her community's destruction and the ongoing threats to her life. Once again Octavia Butler creates a memorable character and setting which invites enjoyment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sendou
This was the first (and only) book I've ever read my Octavia Butler. I bought it after hearing a brief review of it on a radio progam. I love the way Ms. Butler wrote the book, unfolding just a little knowledge as the story unfolds. If you haven't read the plot synopses on the store or elsewhere, do yourself a favor and skip them. They reveal too much. Half the fun of the book is the fact the you are completely in the dark about the character when the story begins. You learn her story little by little, and that made it very interesting.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
regina beard
There's plenty of long reviews here that provide summaries of the novel, so I won't bother with that...

Many people reviewing here are clearly Octavia Butler fans. I admit the only other book of hers that I've read is _Kindred_, which I thought was a fantastic novel. It took the concept of time travel and lifted it from a pretty mundane science fiction trope and made it interesting, important literature. It was a truly creative method for exploring racism, a topic well that's been dipped in so much, it's often hard to be original.

Obviously, with _Fledgling_, Butler is attempting to do the same thing, to take two things people have read about over and over (racism and vampires) and do something new and different with them as a means for getting people to rethink concepts of otherness, etc.

But I think she fails because she tries too hard to undermine the vampire myths of old. As Butler's narrator, Shori is constantly reiterating how different the Ina are from the myths she read about online. This seems a little heavy-handed to me, as though Butler had to keep saying, "See! See! I've done something different here!" It took me out of the story several times when attention was drawn to Butler's deviations from the usual vampire lore.

Like another reviewer, I also felt ickiness at the idea that a girl who looks 10 or 11 is having sex with a 23-year-old, regardless of her "Ina age." It also made me wonder why, of all the vampire characterizations to keep, did Butler keep the overt sexual nature of the vampire. The whole thing felt a little too Anne-Rice-softcore porn to me.

And finally, this may seem minor, but this is one of the most poorly copyedited books I've ever read. The mistakes (missing words, words in the wrong place, missing quotation marks, etc.) were dismissable at first, but then became so numerous they were distracting. My only guess is that the publishers were so eager to get Butler's book published that they did her and the reader the disservice of putting out such a poorly proofread version...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin scott
Yes... its about vampires but it's not a sensational blood lust kind of book.

Vampires... Octavia Butler style...She weaves a novel that you can't put down and also makes you think about the world and it's social prejudices that can be so ingrained...

A rare find! Intelligent fantasy....
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
oceans
This is a completely new take on the Vampire World which in a way reminded me of the Tananarive Due Novels The Living Blood and My Soul to Keep. (Wow, a team-up of these two ideas would be my wet dream!) Very 21st Century and yet timeless. I easily related to the characters and read this in one sitting. This book touched a lot on predjudice and it's consequences. I can't wait for a follow-up, Please Say there is going to be one!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathleen schedler
This was the first book I've read by Octavia Butler and it was amazing. I wish someone could legally buy the rights to the story and continue her work. It's a wonderful story that applies modern issues with fictional vampire sects. It really was an enjoyable read that I'd recommend everyone that enjoys sci-fi and vampires.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ellen chronister
I am horrified and incredibly embarrassed to admit... I only recently learned of the brilliance that is Ms. Butler.
I devoured this "story," a brilliant and original experience. I want more and I can't wait to read another. Do I really need to work?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
derick jose
I am a fan of both vampire fiction and Octavia Butler, so learning last spring that her new novel would be about vampires was truly exciting. I have waited with great anticipation. I will say up front that the novel does not disappoint on either front. Indeed, while the novel is self-contained and reaches satisfying closure, the world she creates is interesting enough to warrant sequels and prequels. And I, for one, would welcome them.

In Butler's other fiction, she has often concerned herself with themes of prejudice and power and, just as often, transformation. In taking on the vampire theme, she certainly allows these interests full development. Obviously, she also takes some unexpected twists in her vampires, drawing on familiar images of the (sub) genre, but taking them in fresh and interesting directions.

Take, for example, themes of transformation. Typically, the vampire narrative concerns a protagonist going through "the change," embracing a new (un)life and letting go of his or her former humanity/mortality. Butler has certainly explored the theme of bodily transformation in other novels (e.g. Clay's Ark or the Xenogenesis series, to name a few). The vampires in Butler's novel, however, are a separate species on earth, co-evolved with humanity and full of their own laws and culture. Collectively, they call themselves "Ina."

While they live in a mutually symbiotic relationship with (some) humans, they cannot transform humans into Ina. The Ina have their own careful and intricate systems of reproduction, which shape and guide their culture. Transformation in this novel has more to do with the Ina's interest in genetics, a study some of them have been pursuing long before it interested humans. One group of Ina has successfully engineered a vampire who can stay awake during daylight hours and can endure measured amounts of sunshine. They do this by splicing some African genetic material to their own, creating Shori, a black Ina alone in a world of very pale and mostly blonde Ina. This genetic innovation is, of course, causing a difficult (and unwelcome to some) transformation to millenia of Ina traditions.

We meet Shori first as a nameless narrator coming to consciousness in a cave and discovering, as she heals, the burned out ruins of what she learns was recently her community. Shori suffers from a selective amnesia that allows her to recover language skills and the ability to recognize everyday objects as well as an innate understanding of her Ina abilities, but memories of her family and her past are lost to her. Her amnesia is a clever device that allows Butler to work through a structural necessity of nearly all vampire fiction: sorting through the various folklore of vampires to settle on her explanation of them, winnowing away "myth" from "truth." As Shori moves into other Ina communities, her transformation into vampire is more about rediscovery than the slow turning of human flesh into superhuman creature. However, to Butler's credit, Shori's amnesia plays essential roles in the plot in addition to serving as a device to do some bargain shopping at the vampire mythology store.

One point of criticism in an otherwise fascinating reworking of the vampire: The norm for the Ina is to be catatonic during the day and to burn in daylight. However, in her journey of self discovery, Shori offers little explanation for why vampires of folklore often appeared during the day. The image of sunlight physically destroying a vampire (a staple of the genre today) is actually an invention of early cinema that has been picked up in many subsequent vampire fictions. As most vampire officianados know, Dracula appears no less than three (actually more!) times during the day in Stoker's novel. Other Eastern European and Middle Eastern vampires of folklore often have frequent daylight appearances. If (in Shori's world) our vampire myths are based on Ina, it seems odd that the burn-in-sunlight aspect of the myth didn't develop until the early 20th century. A minor point, but worth mentioning given how much fun Butler has dismissing aspects of the folklore/pop culture in early chapters and generally demonstrating that she has done her homework about vampires.

Another theme that is very familiar from Butler's other works is the image of secret, minority communities living alongside the unknowing masses of humanity, usually in self-contained communes and family groups. I track this theme across the "Patternist" novels, including Clay's Ark. It is also central to the "Parable" novels, beginning with Lauren Olamina's ill-fated gated community in L.A. to the equally ill-fated refuge of Acorn. Arguably, this theme of communes also applies to the plantation in Kindred, although a different sort of commune for a different genre of fiction. One gets the feeling after reading several of Butler's novels that she either has lived on or wants to live on a commune.

Finally, Shori herself is a very familiar Butler heroine. She is a strong-willed diminuative female narrator who is black. She is a literary sister of Lauren Olamina of the Parable novels or even Dana of Kindred, narrating her experiences and perceptions with poetic bluntness. Shifting to third-person narrative, there also seems something similar here to heroines like Lilith Iapo of the Xenogenesis series and Anyanwu of Wild Seed. There is also something of Mary from the mixed point of view novel, Mind of My Mind. Certainly, these narrators' race and gender matter. But other commonalities are also striking. These are strong, practical women who may falter in their faith in themselves but always pick themselves up from the dust and fight tooth and nail (sometimes literally) for themselves and their loved ones. Many of them are somehow burdened with a flaw - amnesia

in Shori's case, a birth defect causing extreme empathy in Olamina's, cancer in Lilith's, etc. - but almost always a flaw that also has advantages. And, again, Butler has written another strong female protagonist who comes into her own before reaching adulthood - the twist here being that Shori is a juvenile vampire of 53 who appears to be an 11 year old human girl. A wise child; A child forced into adulthood. Sound familiar?

In the hands of a less talented writer, these similarities might seem hackish. But Butler makes them feel like important elements of her thought experiments, getting a fresh reworking in a different scene. As she would be first to point out, it's not as if too many other authors of science fiction or even the vampire (sub) genre are exhausting representations of this sort of character. I welcome Shori into Butler's pantheon of strong and interesting black heroines and eagerly hope there is more to come about her in the future.

I truly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to fans of vampire fiction. I need not recommend it to fans of Butler because they will, doubtless, consume it as happily as I have. Without giving too much away, the last third of the novel turns to a kind of courtroom drama, albeit a vampire court. In the process, we learn that the elder Inas' claims to be above such human concerns as racism turn out to not be exactly accurate. Similarly, claims that the Ina's Council of Judgement is nothing like "the silly sports of human law courts" also turn out not to be true, and the findings of the Council seem to drip with Butler's cynical critique of contemporary high-profile legal judgements. But then, Butler rarely uses the SF genre to propose better worlds or happier ways of being together. If anything, she seems to remind us that all life is struggle and no being (human or otherwise) is free of corruption...or far from grace.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stacy pete
This was yet another great novel by Ms. Octavia Butler. I was pleasantly surprised to find out she had another book on the way. I was also recently surprised to find that she also now has a website. This was the best escape from reality I've had in a while. I hold out one book that I've not read from her...just so I have something to keep me if I just can't wait any longer. I've read everything except Survivor. I look forward to more from Shori and the Ina...

Thank you for continuing to right...FUROR SCRIBENDI...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
allison lyons
I was so sorry to hear that Octavia Butler had died. If I were going to die young I would want to leave as good a book as "Fledgling" behind; all Butler's books are good, but "Fledgling" is also extremely funny. There are enough summaries of its plot to go on with already on the store, so you can read those.

"Fledgling" is less violent than most of Butler's other works, particularly "The Parable of the Talents." So if you don't like her because she grosses you out you might like this book. I like all her books, myself. It's so nice for the the literary angels in heaven that she is up there. I guess.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rey mehr
I just finished reading this book yesterday. I LOVED IT! Octavia never lets me down when it comes to a satisfying story. I love vampire stories and Ms. Butler and having the two come together is beyond wonderful. It's a shame that Ms. Butler is no longer here with us; I would have loved to read more about Shori and her syms.

This book is a winner; worth the purchase.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christopher storjohann
I love this book and have read it several times. I only wish that the sex scenes were not glazed over other even with that I still loved and love this book and I recommend it to several of my friends. I also wish it was available in an ebook version.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mir b s
I think this book is excellent. It is about a friendless girl who finds a friend and a gift before they disappear for ever. The ending is tragic, but it makes sense. This setting is in a real place, which adds a realistic air. Even though the people fly, because it is in a real place, you can actually imagine it happening. I also liked the character's outdoor/animal lovingness. I give this book a 4-star rating. - Ian, 5th grade
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
gabrielle moss
The many sex scene are disturbing because they involve a child. Yes, she is 50 something years old, but has the body of a child, and is a child by the vampire's standards. I was sickened from these scenes. Call me crazy, but I don't think pedophilia presented in this manner is OK.

There is a lot of telling instead of showing in this story. The dialogue is pretty bad. Nothing seemed realistic at all. There was nothing to make me feel like I could suspend my disbelief to become immersed in the narrative. All the characters seemed two-dimensional and unrealistic. It reads like someone's poor fan fiction. I'm surprised that this book was published and that anyone thinks its good.

If you are a pedophile who likes vampire porn, this is the story for you!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael siliski
I am a huge Octavia Butler fan. I've read everything she's written. This was something very different for her, she's never done vampires. I love to read about vampires too. Her take on vampires is different from anything I've ever read. As always the book is very well written but I'm with some of the others who have reviewed the book, I felt the ending was a let down. But I really think she left it that was so that she can continue the story in a second book. Of course we have to find out what happens to Shori and her new family.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
caryn goldner
I'm really upset by the dishonest reviews I've seen. I got to around page 27 or 28 and discovered this is a book about child molestation, disguised as a vampire novel. I immediately returned the book to the store. If the main character LOOKS like a nine-year-old child on the outside, it is not OK to show a sex scene with her and a grown man. Disgusting!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leticia
In a stunning example of excellent modern fiction Butler manages to breathe new life into the tired genre of vampire fiction. By bringing questions of sexuality and race to the table the story becomes something so much more than just another book about blood suckers. Read it. You won't regret it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
fee doyle
So it start a little slow but boy when it gets in, it get in! You will love this book!I think that the back cover had me a little confused but due to it being an Octavia Butler book I picked it up and after the first chapter or two I could not put it down, what a twist and turn this book will give you.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
marie france
2.5 stars, really. I didn't like it at all, but I didn't actively dislike it, and I made it through to the end.

This book came highly recommended, but I was very disappointed, for a few reasons.

First of all, the book was rather poorly written. The writing didn't seem like it came from such a successful, well-regarded author; it was lazy, clumsy, and stilted. (In addition, both the copyediting and the pagemaking were extremely sloppy, although that's not really Butler's fault.) I could get past that, but... (*mild spoilers ahoy*)

The book really did seem to boil down to "Racism is bad, mmmkay?" The issue wasn't made complicated or interesting -- the racists were really clearly just very bad people. No complexity at all. There was maybe sort of an issue concerning people who will go along with evil just because it's easier than disrupting the status quo, but that problem never really went anywhere. In addition, all of the issues of racism were sort of just shoved in at the end. I think that there could have been a lot of interesting issues explored concerning things like race and gender and sexuality and genetic engineering and free will, but... The book didn't follow through. At all.

Finally, there's the issue of the fact that the main character, Shori, is 50-something but looks about 10 (partly because for a vampire, she is still a child -- or a teenager?), and has sex with human adults. If it looks like pedophilia and quacks like pedophilia... I don't know. I just wish Butler had made a different choice here. Shori seems more like a teenager than a child (although I guess it seems like there isn't really an equivalent to teenagers for vampires in this book) -- maybe it would have been better if she had looked like a teenager, too? Or maybe if Butler had really tried to address the issue, and not just dismissed it?

This book wanted to be about Big Issues, but never quite got there, and the plot and writing weren't interesting enough to make it on their own.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rhonda frankhouser
A young girl wakes up with no memory but an aversion to sunlight and powerful thirst for blood. A formulaic mystery ensues as she attempts to learn the rules of her "condition" and assemble her past...

I have to really hate something to stop reading it or give it 1 star. "Fledgling" is just such a work. A friend of mine whose opinion I usually value highly recommended this; I can only guess she was off her meds when she read it. Likewise, the number of 4 and 5-star reviews bewilders me. This is easily one of the worst things I've read in a long while. The plot is hum-drum (at least as much as I got through in 75 pages) and the writing style is nothing but amateurish. *Maybe* the story gets better, but I can safely assume the prose won't. I don't mind a boring story if it is well written--and vice versa--but this has nothing going for it.

This book comes across as a juvenile rough draft. The writing style is starchy and stilted, especially in terms of dialogue. There are enough typos--things like missing spaces between sentences that a simple spell-check would have caught--that I wonder if this even went before an editor.

I've never read Butler before, so I don't know how this compares to her other works; since she's an established, award-winning author, I can only hope for her fans' sake that Fledgling was an off-day. Another reviewer mentioned that Butler wrote this as "a lark." It shows. This is un-polished, un-professional, and un-interesting.

Obviously, with the high volume of glowing reviews, a lot of people liked it. I'm truly at a loss to understand why, except to guess that Butler fans must have a very high threshold for low performance. If you do read this, you have at least been warned what to expect.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
jim leigh
I love Octavia Butler. I have loved every book I've read of hers. Once I listened to Parable of the Sower (I have listened to every audio book available, and ordered others on paper back), I was hooked! I kept asking myself, how had I missed her? I love sci-fi and fantasy, and her books Kindred and Wildseed were absolutely amazing, blews me away, seriously. So, I thought this book would have the same impact. I knew it was a vampire story, and don't usually care for them, but since it was Octavia Butler, I was convinced I'd love it.

And so I read it. All of it. I kept wanting to love it. It had many of the qualities of her other books, interesting insights, racial issues, class issues, struggle with losing family (or family seperation) and discovering the limits of self. The vampires were well done, very well done. They are people with good people and bad people, racist people and accepting people, just like humans. They have special needs, ancient histories and religious beliefs, conflicting beliefs and motives, and a animal but educated sensuality. Their relationships to each other, between sexes and to humans was well thought out and completely believable . . . so what was my problem?

the main character of this story is a little girl. True, she is a vampire, so she's actually 53 years old, but to other humans, she looks like an 11 year old child, and even to other vampires she is too immature to mate. Now, the vampires have a venum, that when they bite a human, that human becomes bound to them and sexually attracted to them, male and female. And honsetly, if that had been the reason why the adults in the story were attracted to her, and actually had sex with her, I MAYBE (big maybe) been able to tolerate it (but never ever accept it). However, the two adult males she bites both admit to "wanting" her before she bit and infected them. The one young man sayd he "wanted her from the moment he saw her", uh, she looks like an 11 year old girl! There is diologue discussing sed with her and the attraction of the vampire males to her as if this is completely natural. She's not mature yet, even by vampire standard, and can not mate or produce offspring, so why on earth would any of them be attracted to her? There are actual scenes describing sex or sexual activities between this girl and these men, and I was honsetly nauseated. As far as I was concerned, this was totally unacceptable. How can a publisher publish this as it is? If I had known, and I should have read the reviews, I never would have purchased! I would never have supported this publisher! I admit, I read the whole thing. I complained to others who have read it, and they just told me "she's not a child, she's over 50", and I continued to read and tried to understand, but I just couldn't buy it in the end. FInally, I just starting skipping parts that addressed this child-sex theme, which was actually a good portion of the book. Shori may have lived more than 50 years, but that in no way makes her a mature adult. She is a child by vampire standards and she looks like a child by human standards, yet these men in the story have sex with her, and it seems okay with every character . . . Sickening. The more I think about it, the more it sickens me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
khanh nguyen
This was my first time reading anything by Ms. Butler and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was taken back when the vampires in the book were prejudice against their own. She took a totally different direction that I did not expect. I am looking forward to reading some of her past works.

A job well done Ms. Butler keep up the good work.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jeff shackelford
I love Octavia Butler, but this book did not live up to her talent. I found the story to be boring, and the sexual scenes with a character who physically resembles a young prepubescent girl very disturbing. I stuck it out to the end with the hopes that the story would improve, but no such luck.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
bibliobee
This is easily the worst thing I've ever read. The plot is unimpressive and completely drowned out by the fact that the whole thing is jam packed with the sexual exploits of a 10 year old girl and her group of men and women who are all desperately in love with her. It was quite disturbing.
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