Fledgling

Fledgling

by Octavia E. Butler

Paperback(REPRINT)

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Overview

"A master storyteller, Butler casts an unflinching eye on racism, sexism, poverty, and ignorance and lets the reader see the terror and beauty of human nature." - The Washington Post

This is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly unhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted-and still wants-to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446696166
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/02/2007
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 95,685
Product dimensions: 5.35(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

OCTAVIA E. BUTLER was a renowned African-American writer who received a MacArthur "Genius" Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. She was the author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Talents, which won the Nebula for Best Novel. Acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future, sales of her books have increased enormously since her death as the issues she addressed in her Afrofuturistic, feminist novels and short fiction have only become more relevant. She passed away on February 24, 2006.

Read an Excerpt

Fledgling


By Octavia E. Butler

WARNER BOOKS

Copyright © 2005 Octavia E. Butler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-69616-1


Chapter One

I awoke to darkness.

I was hungry-starving!-and I was in pain. There was nothing in my world but hunger and pain, no other people, no other time, no other feelings. I was lying on something hard and uneven, and it hurt me. One side of me was hot, burning. I tried to drag myself away from the heat source, whatever it was, moving slowly, feeling my way until I found coolness, smoothness, less pain.

It hurt to move. It hurt even to breathe. My head pounded and throbbed, and I held it between my hands, whimpering. The sound of my voice, even the touch of my hands seemed to make the pain worse. In two places my head felt crusty and lumpy and ... almost soft. And I was so hungry.

The hunger was a violent twisting inside me. I curled my empty, wounded body tightly, knees against chest, and whimpered in pain. I clutched at whatever I was lying on. After a time, I came to understand, to remember, that what I was lying on should have been a bed. I remembered little by little what a bed was. My hands were grasping not at a mattress, not at pillows, sheets, or blankets, but at things that I didn't recognize, at first. Hardness, powder, something light and brittle. Gradually, I understood that I must be lying on the ground-on stone, earth, and perhaps dry leaves.

The worst was, no matter where I looked, there was no hint of light. I couldn't see my own hands as I held them up in front of me.Was it so dark, then? Or was there something wrong with my eyes? Was I blind?

I lay in the dark, trembling. What if I were blind? Then I heard something coming toward me, something large and noisy, some animal. I couldn't see it, but after a moment, I could smell it. It smelled ... not exactly good, but at least edible. Starved as I was, I was in no condition to hunt. I lay trembling and whimpering as the pain of my hunger grew and eclipsed everything.

It seemed that I should be able to locate the creature by the noise it was making. Then, if it wasn't frightened off by the noise I was making, maybe I could catch it and kill it and eat it.

Or maybe not. I tried to get up, fell back, groaning, discovering all over again how badly every part of my body hurt. I lay still, trying to keep quiet, trying to relax my body and not tremble. And the creature wandered closer. I waited. I knew I couldn't chase it, but if it came close enough, I might really be able to get my hands on it.

After what seemed a long time, it found me. It came to me like a tame thing, and I lay almost out of control, trembling and gasping, and thinking only, food! So much food. It touched my face, my wrist, my throat, causing me pain somehow each time it touched me and making noises of its own.

The pain of my hunger won over all my other pain. I discovered that I was strong in spite of all the things that were wrong with me. I seized the animal. It fought me, tore at me, struggled to escape, but I had it. I clung to it, rode it, found its throat, tasted its blood, smelled its terror. I tore at its throat with my teeth until it collapsed. Then, at last, I fed, gorged myself on the fresh meat that I needed.

I ate as much meat as I could. Then, my hunger sated and my pain dulled, I slept alongside what remained of my prey.

When I awoke, my darkness had begun to give way. I could see light again, and I could see blurred shadowy shapes that blocked the light. I didn't know what the shapes were, but I could see them. I began to believe then that my eyes had been injured somehow, but that they were healing. After a while there was too much light. It burned not only my eyes, but my skin.

I turned away from the light, dragged myself and my prey farther into the cool dimness that seemed to be so close to me, but took so much effort to reach. When I had gone far enough to escape the light, I fed again, slept again, awoke, and fed. I lost count of the number of times I did this. But after a while, something went wrong with the meat. It began to smell so bad that, even though I was still hungry, I couldn't make myself touch it again. In fact, the smell of it was making me sick. I needed to get away from it. I remembered enough to understand that it was rotting. Meat rotted after a while, it stank and the insects got into it.

I needed fresh meat.

My injuries seemed to be healing, and it was easier for me to move around. I could see much better, especially when there wasn't so much light. I had come to remember sometime during one of my meals that the time of less light was called night and that I preferred it to the day. I wasn't only healing, I was remembering things. And now, at least during the night, I could hunt.

My head still hurt, throbbed dully most of the time, but the pain was bearable. It was not the agony it had been.

I got wet as soon as I crawled out of my shelter where the remains of my prey lay rotting. I sat still for a while, feeling the wetness-water falling on my head, my back, and into my lap. After a while, I understood that it was raining-raining very hard. I could not recall feeling rain on my skin before-water falling from the sky, gently pounding my skin. I decided I liked it. I climbed to my feet slowly, my knees protesting the movement with individual outbursts of pain. Once I was up, I stood still for a while, trying to get used to balancing on my legs. I held on to the rocks that happened to be next to me and stood looking around, trying to understand where I was. I was standing on the side of a hill, from which rose a solid, vertical mass of rock. I had to look at these things, let the sight of them remind me what they were called-the hillside, the rock face, the trees-pine?-that grew on the hill as far as the sheer wall of rock. I saw all this, but still, I had no idea where I was or where I should be or how I had come to be there or even why I was there-there was so much that I didn't know.

The rain came down harder. It still seemed good to me. I let it wash away my prey's blood and my own, let it clean off the crust of dirt that I had picked up from where I had lain. When I was a little cleaner, I cupped my hands together, caught water in them, and drank it. That was so good that I spent a long time just catching rain and drinking it.

After a while, the rain lessened, and I decided that it was time for me to go. I began to walk down the hill. It wasn't an easy walk at first. My knees still hurt, and it was hard for me to keep my balance. I stopped once and looked back. I could see then that I had come from a shallow hillside cave. It was almost invisible to me now, concealed behind a screen of trees. It had been a good place to hide and heal. It had kept me safe, that small hidden place. But how had I come to be in it? Where had I come from? How had I been hurt and left alone, starving? And now that I was better, where should I go?

I wandered, not aware of going anywhere in particular, except down the hill. I knew no other people, could remember no other people. I frowned, picking my way among the trees, bushes, and rocks over the wet ground. I was recognizing things now, at least by category-bushes, rocks, mud ... I tried to remember something more about myself-anything that had happened to me before I awoke in the cave. Nothing at all occurred to me.

As I walked, it suddenly occurred to me that my feet were bare. I was walking carefully, not stepping on anything that would hurt me, but I could see and understand now that my feet and legs were bare. I knew I should have shoes on. In fact, I knew I should be dressed. But I was bare all over. I was naked.

I stopped and looked at myself. My skin was scarred, badly scarred over every part of my body that I could see. The scars were broad, creased, shiny patches of mottled red-brown skin. Had I always been scarred? Was my face scarred? I touched one of the broad scars across my abdomen, then touched my face. It felt the same. My face might be scarred. I wondered how I looked. I felt my head and discovered that I had almost no hair. I had touched my head, expecting hair. There should have been hair. But I was bald except for a small patch of hair on the back of my head. And higher up on my head there was a misshapen place, an indentation that hurt when I touched it and seemed even more wrong than my hairlessness or my scars. I remembered discovering, as I lay in the cave, that my head felt lumpy and soft in two places, as though the flesh had been damaged and the skull broken. There was no softness now. My head, like the rest of me, was healing.

Somehow, I had been hurt very badly, and yet I couldn't remember how. I needed to remember and I needed to cover myself. Being naked had seemed completely normal until I became aware of it. Then it seemed intolerable. But most important, I needed to eat again.

I resumed my downhill walk. Eventually I came to flatter, open land- farmland with something growing in some of the fields and other fields, already harvested or empty for some other reason. Again, I was remembering things-fragments-understanding a little of what I saw, perhaps just because I saw it.

Off to one side there was a collection of what I gradually recognized as the burned remains of several houses and outbuildings. All of these had been burned so thoroughly that as far as I could see, they offered no real shelter. This had been a little village surrounded by farmland and woods. There were animal pens and the good smells of animals that could be eaten, but the pens were empty. I thought the place must once have provided comfortable homes for several people. That felt right. It felt like something I would want-living together with other people instead of wandering alone. The idea was a little frightening, though. I didn't know any other people. I knew they existed, but thinking about them, wondering about them scared me almost as much as it interested me.

People had lived in these houses sometime not long ago. Now plants had begun to grow and to cover the burned spaces. Where were the people who had lived here? Had I lived here?

It occurred to me that I had come to this place hoping to kill an animal and eat it. Somehow, I had expected to find food here. And yet I remembered nothing about this place. I recognized nothing except in the most general way-animal pens, fields, burned remnants of buildings. So why would I expect to find food here? How had I known to come here? Either I had visited here before or this place had been my home. If it was my home, why didn't I recognize it as home? Had my injuries come from the fire that destroyed this place? I had an endless stream of questions and no answers.

I turned away, meaning to go back into the trees and hunt an animal- a deer, I thought suddenly. The word came into my thoughts, and at once, I knew what a deer was. It was a large animal. It would provide meat for several meals.

Then I stopped. As hungry as I was, I wanted to go down and take a closer look at the burned houses. They must have something to do with me or they would not hold my interest the way they did.

I walked down toward the burned buildings. I might at least be able to find something to wear. I was not cold. Even walking in the rain had not made me cold, but I wanted clothing badly. I felt very vulnerable without it. I did not want to be naked when I found other people, and I thought I must, sooner or later, find other people.

Eight of the buildings had been large houses. Their fireplaces, sinks, and bathtubs told me that much. I walked through each of them, hoping to see something familiar, something that triggered a memory, a memory about people. In one, at the bottom of a pile of charred rubble, I found a pair of jeans that were only burned a little at the bottoms of the legs, and I found three slightly burned shirts that were wearable. All of it was too large in every way-too broad, too long ... Another person my size would have fit easily into the shirts with me. And there were no wearable underwear, no wearable shoes. And, of course, there was nothing to eat.

Feeding my hunger suddenly became more important than anything. I put on the pants and two of the shirts. I used the third shirt to keep the pants up, tying it around my waist and turning the top of the pants down over it. I rolled up the legs of the pants, then I went back into the trees. After a time I scented a doe. I stalked her, killed her, ate as much of her flesh as I could. I took part of the carcass up a tree with me to keep it safe from scavenging animals. I slept in the tree for a while.

Then the sun rose, and it burned my skin and my eyes. I climbed down and used a tree branch and my hands to dig a shallow trench. When I finished it, I lay down in it and covered myself with leaf litter and earth. That and my clothing-I folded one of my shirts over my face- proved to be enough of a shield to protect me from sunlight.

I lived that way for the next three days and nights, eating, hunting, examining the ruin during the night, and hiding myself in the earth during the day. Sometimes I slept. Sometimes I lay awake, listening to the sounds around me. I couldn't identify most of them, but I listened. On the fourth night curiosity and restlessness got the better of me. I had begun to feel dissatisfied, hungry for something other than deer flesh. I didn't know what I wanted, but I went exploring. That was how, for the first time in my memory, I met another person.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler Copyright © 2005 by Octavia E. Butler. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Fledgling 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
ReadingVixen67 More than 1 year ago
I'm putting up this review mainly for my book club, because they gave up on this book too soon. It takes a minute to get through the first few chapters, but once it hits page 50 or so, it begins to develop a good stride. Yes, it starts slow (a little too slow for my book club, apparently), but once you meet the "Ina," which is their name for the vampires in the book, you'll see a whole new community. Shori is a 53-year-old vampire, but in the book, she looks like a kid, although her speech and actions are that of a much older woman. Since the vamps (excuse me...Ina) live to be over 500 years old, technically, she still IS a child. Her family has been destroyed, their homes burnt to the ground, and Shori almost doesn't make it. She regains consciousness in a cave with a severe case of amnesia, and that's where the story begins, which is why it starts off so slow. Where am I? Who am I? What am I? What is this place? And on and on; the disorientation Shori experiences is poignant, but the author drags it out a little too long. However, once she meets Wright, a human who helps her, Shori begins a journey that will culminate in her meeting new people and some distant family members who will help her develop into a proud female Ina. And the people who killed off her family are brought to justice by the "Council of Judgment," which is pretty self-explanatory. There is quite a bit of tension, some surprises, and it's a pretty good storyline that one can follow, after they get past those first few chapters. All-in-all, it was a decent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my new favorite authors. Definite twist to the usual vampire stories. A must read:)
MsrDrProfessor More than 1 year ago
March 14, 2013 Fledgling As I was reading Fledging, I continually hoped that i would honestly enjoy it, but as i came to the end of the book i was just completely utterly dissapointed.  Fledgling is a book by Octavia E. Butler and it’s about  little black girl who looks like a 10 year old girl but she is really a 53 year old Ina. The Ina are a different type of species and race. Shori wakes up in a cave with burn wounds all over her body, part of her skull is broken, and she has this unbearable pain for hunger with no memory of her life before the murder of her family and attempt of murder on her. Shori eventually runs into a human named Wright who she then begins a relationship with. On her journey Shori learns a bit more about her culture and she gains symbionts who she feeds off of. Shori then seeks justice for her family and discovers the shocking truth about an issue they only believed to be a problem of a long time ago and only for humans, racism and prejudice. The theme of the book is that your skin tone doesn't matter, how you are as a person does. The plot has a good beginning to it but then it just dies off. It captured my attention with the multiple escapes from the fires but once she finds safety with other Ina, it is predictable. There was no way anyone couldn't figure out what was going to happen. There is no longer any plot twists once Shori and her symbionts reach safety. Once she is safe with other Ina then it is stops being riveting and by the last two chapters I had to force my way through it just so I can finish it. It gets very dull. It had so much potential to be good, it is science fiction book. I love science fiction and so I enjoyed the story of the Ina but that is only because it is science fiction.  The characters in this book are not as strong as they should be. Shori is a unique character who is intelligent and smart. However I cannot relate to her in any way, Shori is so different from anyone I know that she is hard to relate to. Also she never says she loves Wright even if he does tell her he loves her multiple times in the book. It is contrived when Wright did not turn Shori into the authorities or get her some help when he spots her on the side of the road right after she leaves the cave. He should have called the cops once he was aware she was not hurt. The fact that Shori looks like an 11 year old is strange because she starts a relationship with Wright who is a 23 year old. Octavia E. Butler does a very good job using imagery in her writing. She paints great images in my head and constantly describes her surroundings. However there are mistakes throughout the book. By the end of the book there are multiple places near the end of the book where they forget to put spaces in between the word and the names. It doesn't really take away from the story but it makes me feel as if the editor and publisher wanted the book out but did not care about how good it was, they knew Octavia Butler’s fans would follow her books.I expected a lot from this book since Octavia Butler is known as a great African American science fiction writer. But Octavia did her job and informed people that racism is still an issue. It deserves three out of five stars. 
alolefi More than 1 year ago
Fledgling is the type of book that with its twisted plots pulls the reader into a world that they thought they knew. There something creepy about this book yet it undeniably hooks the reader.    In the book Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler tells the story about a young girl who faces a lot of difficulties in her life after a massacre that destroys her families community. Shori is a young girl who is half human half Ina,which is a vampire race. She is only half human because of the genetic engineering that her family preformed on her, it seems that she has gotten herself some enemies. As Butler tells the story of Shori and her symbionts, the humans that she uses for her blood supply while giving them love and affection in return she slowly unites human history to the plot of the story. Butler uses these creatures to illustrate the two topics that would never be found in a vampire love story: racism and the hidden side of human nature that had been spun so perfectly well into this story that it might be hard to imagine that this book isn't an actual history book of our world. In the beginning of the book we are first introduced to Shori who seems to be lost and badly injured. She couldn’t remember who she was or what had happened to her. As Shori starts to look around to where she had woken up she meets a guy named Wright. After helping Shori out Wright then becomes bound to her forever. By biting him and taking his blood she unintentionally drags him into a world he's never knew existed that she had yet to relearn about. Shortly afterwards, Shori meets up with her father through unusual circumstances and then he is taken away from her just as she was about to relearn about her history and her kind. She then bands with her future mates family and works on finding those who took away her family. Using the Ina system for justice a trial is underway to convict those who took her family. In this book the characters are very complex, unique, and likeable even if it might be hard to  relate to them.  Butler is trying to convey to the reader the racism and the hidden side of human nature in our modern world. She uses Shori and the Ina community and lifestyle to portray these two topics. The one that she is most focused on is racism. Since Shori is not a pale skinned Ina and instead is black she is not accepted by her own kind. While the idea of her being a darker complexion than other Ina vampires was so that future generations cannot burn in the sun as easily as those with fair skinned she is still targeted by certain Ina families who went out of their way to harm her. The hidden side of human nature is shown through the way the Ina families wanted to harm those who looked different from them. This demonstrates how we as humans are always afraid of accepting those who are different and so we tend to discriminate and harm instead of accepting the diversity that surrounds us. In Fledgling, Butler used flowing imagery to make the reader feel as if they can see, touch, and feel what is happening in the story as the plot unravels through Shori’s narration. She brings out the characters using their dialogue which helps the reader get a better sense of the characters personality throughout the many emotions they express in the story. The thought that went into strategically bringing up the history of the Ina makes a must read book because the reader feels as if they are being showcased the Ina culture one part at a time.  It also relates to Shori’s growth in the book as she embarks on the path to find out who she really is and where she will get to in life. While this story might seem disturbing Butler is trying to convey the real issues in our society and what better way to do that that then with a story topic of today, Vampires! She chooses an unconventional vampire story to get our attention and through the story she gives us an insight into our complex world and the problems that she wants us to recognize. It also prompts us to think about what we are given to read which is how we can come to the conclusion on what she is trying to express in her writing. I give this book 4 stars out 5. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recomend this book to everyone. It is not only a book about vampires it is a book about getting justice. Shori may only look to be a child but is well beyond her years. Even though she has no memory of anything or anyone, she tends to get thing very easily when shown.(All except people and places) I truely enjoyed this read. It wasn't hard to follow and when you pick it up you want want to put it down. So give it a try, I promise you want be disappionted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the humans who, seduced by the euphoria derived from a vampire's bite, submitted to a life of servitude for the particular vampire who had delivered the bite as well as the entire community (family) of vampires in O. Butler's final novel, Fledgling. I can not honestly say that this book is the author's best work or a 'must read' but it does give a different twist to the portrayal of the relationship between humans and vampires.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After much hemming and hawing about whether or not I wanted to read an Octavia E Butler novel, I decided to give it a shot with Fledgling--and I am so glad I did!! What a wonderful take on the vampire narrative. It has a very clean and fresh perspective, and uses a plain-written English that I found to be by far more moving and enticing than anything that the so-called queen of the vampire tales, Anne Rice, has ever produced with her long, convoluted passages and descriptions. I felt very much being sucked into their world--no pun intended. If you are looking for a new twist on an old idea, pick up this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that this is probably the best vampire book I have read. It brings a whole new meaning to the idea that vampires do have their rules, and that they do not just feed and kill. It was killing suspense in some parts and then in other parts, it taught you the truth. It let you live in the story amongst them.
bryllygg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fledgling was a somewhat entertaining read, and at least held my attention long enough to finish. But, after having read Kindred, I expected more from this. It seemed to have little to say aside from "racism is bad, even among vampires." There was no subtlety to the antagonists, who uniformly profess ignorance only to openly admit their bigotry once confronted with any evidence (much like the culprits on any TV crime drama). Shori is the perfect victim; she never has to face real consequences for her amnesia-induced gaffes or even her killing of an innocent man. Ultimately, all but a few background characters are divided into one of two camps: with Shori or against her. With no ambiguity, there is also no room for anything but a simple and predictable plot sequence.There are, nonetheless, several interesting aspects of the vampire mythology that Butler creates, especially the morally questionable relationship between the Ina and their symbionts. Unfortunately, the human-Ina dynamics were left largely unexplored, compared to the less interesting premise of 'racists commit atrocity, get caught.' Predictably enough, those Ina who are cruel to Shori are equally cruel to their symbionts, adding to the binary division of characters into 'good guys' and 'bad guys.'In summary, the most interesting aspects of Fledgling are overshadowed while it is busy condemning overt racism, which really doesn't need any more condemning.
BlondeBibliophile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whoa! There was a few factors of this book that was a little "out there" for me (sexually speaking), but I still really enjoyed it. It is one of the most interesting books I have read in a while.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
-Shori wakes badly hurt, confused, blind and HUNGRY. She soon realizes that she has no memory of where or even who she is, but when she meets a young man (who mistakes her for a 10-12 year old girl), and he tells her she must be a vampire, she begins to unravel her past. Shori quickly finds herself and her new friend in escalating danger. Fascinating take on the `vampire¿ story, in which vampires, or the "Ina,¿ are a completely different race of people. Butler takes on issues of genetic testing, race and prejudice (Shori is an Ina genetic experiment using African American, etc., genes to improve the Inas ¿ for example, her ability to walk in the sun) in this fantastic book ¿ I¿m upset there won¿t ever be a sequel¿
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
MeganAndJustin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so excited for a new Octavia E. Butler book. Living in Seattle, I had the opportunity to see her speak at Elliot Bay Book Company, and I was glad that she spoke more about writing, positive obsession, and writer's block than about Fledgling, as the book was a bit of a disappointment. It touched on some interesting ideas, but the story was dry, without the visceral depth and rawness of many of her other books. And the biggest tragedy of all was that this was her last book, as opposed to just another novel after some dry years. Ms. Butler's future writing will be missed.
alaskabookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This isthe first book by Butler I've read. Though I thought it original and well thought out, the Freudian sexuality of the vampires and their "kept" blood-donors/food supply disturbed me a bit, as did the "apparent" age of the young protagonist. (Smacked a bit too much of pedophilia.) I was fascinated by the book's setting in Western Washington, where I used to live. Being very familiar with the off-the-beaten-track places she describes, pulled me in. Nevertheless, other reviews of this book that I found online indicted its not her best; that it was meant to be the first part in a trilogy, never to be finished because she died. I have a couple more of her books that I look forward to trying, particularly "Kindred." For better or worse, this isn't a book I'll soon forget.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of "Fledgling" was very similar to another book by Octavia E. Butler--"Dawn"--but it just wasn't as good. In "Fledgling", the main character is an amnesiac vampire with human DNA waking up among humans and learning to deal with vampire society and vampires who hate her for her super-vampire qualities brought on by her human genes. In "Dawn", the main character is a human waking up from a coma among aliens and learning to deal with alien society and humans who hate her for her super-human qualities brought on by the aliens tinkering with her genes. Very similar, but somehow some of the pizazz is missing from this one. While I was reading "Dawn" I was thinking, "Wow, this is cool!" While I was reading "Fledgling" I was thinking "This is good." It's very readable, it's very engaging, and it's a very interesting idea, but this is not Butler at her best or at her most original.
dotarvi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so excited for a new Octavia E. Butler book. Living in Seattle, I had the opportunity to see her speak at Elliot Bay Book Company, and I was glad that she spoke more about writing, positive obsession, and writer's block than about Fledgling, as the book was a bit of a disappointment. It touched on some interesting ideas, but the story was dry, without the visceral depth and rawness of many of her other books. And the biggest tragedy of all was that this was her last book, as opposed to just another novel after some dry years. Ms. Butler's future writing will be missed.
sabreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yes. A vampire novel. But not any old vampire novel. This is an amazingly rich and compelling story, and the vampires of Butler's world are all too human. Butler is also the only author to ever bring the issue of race into a story of vampires, which of course is not surprising given her other work.Even if you're a bit leary of vampire stories, Fledgling is worth a read.
island_girl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Weak. So disappointing. I love Octavia Butler's work, and waited as long as possible before starting this one because I knew it was her last.I shouldn't have rushed. OB's characteristic is power without glamour, of painful compromises that verge on change/accept or perish.I bought the alliances of her humans with aliens, for instance, and felt the regret of what the humans did to survive even while they were granted power previously impossible.But the interactions in Fledgling just read like GHB to me. No matter how many times it was stated, it was all about addiction. That's subject matter I'd enjoy reading OB's take on, but here it wasn't portrayed with tension, just excused and glamourised.I didn't like anyone in the book, care about their travails or dilemmas, or want to know more about them.And let's not even start in on the shoddy proofing. Spellchecking isn't enough, people.
al_oof on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i was so excited when i heard this had come out. i've read almost all of butler's books and i was looking forward to this one. she writes very, i don't know. it's always a little harsh. in a good way. and her stories never quite go where i'm expecting them to. and they are awesome.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Butler's swan song (she died shortly after publication) maintains her pigeonhole-thwarting style of fiction; go into any given bookstore and you'll invariably find her books spread across the Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, and African-American Studies sections. Fledgling is Butler's take on the vampire origin story, and her sparse prose, efficient dialogue, and precise storytelling make for a very clean, very empathic read.
Annesanse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a book club I was participating in, and these were the questions we answered:1) Is this the first Octavia E. Butler book you've read? If so, how does it compare to her other work?Yes, this is my first Butler book so I have no point of comparison. I couldn't really put the book down even though parts of it disturbed me. (I read it in less than a day) However, after I had finished, I still wasn't sure how I felt about the book.2) How did you like Butler's take on the vampire myth? Do you think she tried too hard to be different?I actually really liked parts of the way she presented her vampires. I liked the idea of the communities and how they were run. I also really enjoyed the way they were trying to improve themselves with the genetic experiments. However, I thought it was strange that the Ina looked like children for so long. I just don't really see the point of that at all. It was pretty disturbing to me most of the time, and I remember thinking it was distracting from the storyline.3) How did the writing style work for you?I didn't mind the style at all even though it was quite different from what I'm used to. I think it fit the story really well. It took a few pages to adjust, but I actually ended up liking the simple-ness of it. However, like you said, the typos were awful. I ALWAYS find typos distracting when I'm reading a book. It pulls me right out of the world of the book.4) Let's talk about sex. What worked? What didn't? What exactly is Butler trying to say here?I have to say this part of Fledgling totally grossed me out. I just couldn't get past the fact that she was so young looking. I understand that she was mentally much older, but I was constantly cringing and skipping parts. This really took away from my overall enjoyment of the story.5) How satisfying is it?Overall, I kinda liked the idea of the story. I really enjoyed parts of it and found it very easy to read. I'm definitely not opposed to reading more works by Octavia Butler. Her world building was very good. However, there were parts that just made me uncomfortable. (and not in a good way)
crunky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up Fledging after having read Butler¿s Dawn and both read and guided students through Kindred. Fledging isn¿t too thematically dissimilar to these other works, and once more we begin with a female protagonist awakening to what is for her an alien world, this time as the survivor of a massacre she cannot remember due to amnesia. As she learns what kind of creature she is and begins creating relationships with humans and others of her kind, Butler explores ideas of symbiotic relationships, mutual dependence, and systems of breeding. However , these themes didn¿t feel as urgent in Fledging. Kindred and Dawn both feature human females reacting to pressures created through the push/pull of mutual dependence and sexual/reproductive needs, and somehow I think that creates more of an emotional urgency for the reader. Shori, the protagonist of Fledgling, faces a different kind of pressure as in this case it is she who is seeking out others to satisfy her needs and cravings, rather than having the needs of others foisted upon her. I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second, as the story winds down in something resembling an extended courtroom drama, the outcome of which seemed a given.
genejo1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Twisted, Weird, Wonderful! Another great book by Octavia Butler
atreic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is in many ways the traditional 'protagonist suffers horrific racist crime, protagonist faces unfair racist court trial in pursuit of justice' novel, except with a delightful vampire twist. It also has wonderful social-structure world building in the relationship between the vampires and their symbionts, which is sympathetically but honestly explored.