Fledgling: A Novel

Fledgling: A Novel

by Octavia E. Butler

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Overview

Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s last novel, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted—and still wants—to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of "otherness" and questions what it means to be truly human.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781583228043
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 121,504
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

A writer who darkly imagined the future we have destined for ourselves in book after book, and also one who has shown us the way toward improving on that dismal fate, OCTAVIA E. BUTLER (1947–2006) is recognized as among the bravest and smartest of contemporary fiction writers. A 1995 MacArthur Award winner, Butler transcended the science fiction category even as she was awarded that community’s top prizes, the Nebula and Hugo Awards. She reached readers of all ages, all races, and all religious and sexual persuasions. For years the only African-American woman writing science fiction, Butler has encouraged many others to follow in her path.

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Fledgling 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 144 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.
Anonymous 23 days ago
I am a huge fan of Octavia Butler and this one did not let me down.
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