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Fledgling Hardcover – 30 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (30 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583226907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226902
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.7 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,097,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By purplepadma VINE VOICE on 29 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Not sure where Amazon got the book description, but it appears to refer to a completely different item (presumably "Bloodchild", since it makes reference to a short story collection). "Fledgling" is a novel, Butler's first for some time. It opens with the narrator, who appears to be a child, lying seriously injured in a cave, unable to remember who she is and what has happened to her. She sets out to rediscover her past and finds that she is one of the Ina, an ancient vampire race. Things become more complicated when it begins to seem as if her life is risk from unknown attackers. In order to keep herself safe, Shori has to relearn who she is and what it means to be Ina.

As so often the case is Butler's work, Shori's story encompasses themes of race and gender. Is someone trying to kill Shori because she is Ina? Because she is part human? Or because she is black? The novel raises questions of where the boundaries of humanity lie and its dark parallel America offers plenty of opportunity for reflection on contemporary debates on integration, immigration, and genetic engineering.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Dass on 2 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
As gothic tales go this has it all - romance, horror, tension and a contemporary heroine in the form of Shori, a vampire with a missing memory. The story follows her through her discovery of who she actually is and who she has the potential to become. This story can be read on a number of different levels. It has a lot to say about identity formation, race relations, binary gender dynamics and the impact of lost/stolen histories on whole generations of people. But, I don't know. Highly accomplished as this book is, I did wish for Shori to rise up more, let loose, let rip, take over. Perhaps this wasn't the intent of the author, but it felt in parts like the story really needed more deliberate action. That said however, this is an amazingly evocative book and the story stays with you long after reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Maddy on 24 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fledgling is a little bit disturbing. You start reading it and think...'she's not going to go there is she?' 'Oh no, please don't go there'... She does go there. However, there is a lot of justification as to why Octavia 'goes there' throughout the novel.

It starts off in a fast-paced direction - A young girl who appears to be 10 years old is picked up off the side of the road by a strange man. The strange man is very concerned to find a young child, bruised, damaged, shaken and who appears to have lost her memory. He genuinely wants to help. Only the 10 year old child turns out to be something else. We learn about the life of the 10 year old at the pace that she does. Someone is trying to kill her and has succeeded in murdering anyone she gets close to.

I found the second half of the book, tedious. I'm a huge Octavia Butler fan but found myself skipping pages. In wanting to tell the story and history of some of the Vampires we encounter, we get endless lengthy monologue conversations. It was almost like paying to see a play and watching the actors on stage talking relentlessly about what has happened in the past. Effective it is not, because in the end you are just watching a bunch of people standing and talking about something - there is no acting going on, no unfolding story, no eventful playoff. Just actors discussing things you cant see, hear or feel and that's what the second half of this book felt like. I didn't care to read about 20 different historical stories that happened in the past. I want to follow what was happening with the main characters in the story. So, this novel fell a little flat for me...but you still rock, Octavia!!
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Format: Paperback
I have to say Octavia E. Butler's final book `Fledgling' is quite unlike any vampire book that I have read before in lots of ways. For one the vampire in question, Shori, is a 53 year old vampire with amnesia under the cunning guise of a ten year old black girl. When we meet her she is a mystery to herself just as much as she is to the reader lost in the woods with no memories at all just heightened senses. In many ways Butler played a clever card as the reader makes the journey alongside Shori into finding just what she is and how she came to be. We soon discover that the remains of a village burnt down is not far from where Shori has been cocooned a village Shori is fairly sure she might have lived. She needs answers, and so do we, and so goes searching.

Now this is where it all started to get unsettling for me because in finding civilisation she meets Wright a hairy hulk of a twenty three year old and not too long after this they start having sex after she bites him (something she soon learns is addictive, necessary and highly pleasurable for both parties). I hit a certain `ewww' situation here because this seemed to be rather paedophilic, ok so Shori is technically 53 but she looks ten. This made me put the book down for quite some time before soldiering on.

Eventually Shori finds some `others like her' who we come to learn are in Ina `an ancient species of near mortals' this is when the book starts to feel more like a sci-fi book than vampire tale, though the two don't have to be mutually exclusive of course. It's also when guns appear in the book and we go off into some action sequences, before (and I don't want to give too much away) the book takes an almost courtroom drama twist though not your average ones being vampires and all.
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