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Fledgling [Kindle Edition]

Octavia E. Butler
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Octavia E. Butler is one of the finest voices in fiction--period. . . . 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 Book World "Readers familiar with . . . "Parable of the Sower and "Bloodchild will recall that [Butler] never asks easy questions or settles for easy answers."-Gerald Jonas in "The New York Times "Fledgling, Octavia Butler's first new novel in seven years, 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. "Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of "otherness" and questions what it means to be truly human. Octavia E. Butler is the author of 11 novels, including "Kindred, "Dawn, and "Parable of the Sower. Recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and numerous other literary awards, she has been acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations that range from the distant past to the far future.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The much-lauded Butler creates vampires in her 12th novel (her first in seven years) that have about as much to do with Bram Stoker's Dracula as HBO's Deadwood does with High Noon. They need human blood to survive, but they don't kill unless they have to, and (given several hundred years) they'll eventually die peacefully of old age. They are Ina, and they've coexisted with humans for millennia, imparting robust health and narcotic bliss with every bite to their devoted human blood donors, aka "symbionts." Shori is a 53-year-old Ina (a juvenile) who wakes up in a cave, amnesiac and seriously wounded. As is later revealed, her family and their symbionts were murdered because they genetically engineered a generation of part-Ina, part-human children. Shori was their most successful experiment: she can stay conscious during daylight hours, and her black skin helps protect her from the sun. The lone survivor, Shori must rely on a few friendly (and tasty) people to help her warn other Ina families and rediscover herself. Butler, keeping tension high, reveals the mysteries of the Ina universe bit by tantalizing bit. Just as the Ina's collective honor and dignity starts to get a little dull, a gang of bigoted, black sheep Ina rolls into town for a species-wide confab-cum-smackdown. In the feisty Shori, Butler has created a new vampire paradigm—one that's more prone to sci-fi social commentary than gothic romance—and given a tired genre a much-needed shot in the arm. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Renowned sf author Butler's first novel since Parable of the Talents (1998) delves deeply into the world of vampires. Shori, a 53-year-old vampire who appears to be a prepubescent girl, awakes alone in a forest, badly burned and scarred, with no memory of what has happened to her. She wanders to a road, from where she is picked up by young Wright Hamlin, whom she bites once she realizes she is a vampire. Wright shelters her, and the two begin a relationship, but Shori is drawn to the site of the fire that burned her. When she and Wright are attacked at the site, she learns of an older vampire, Iosif, who may have the answers she seeks. But when she meets Iosif, she learns that he is her father and that he, too, is in the dark as to who burned the enclave in which Shori and her mothers and sisters were living. When Iosif's enclave meets a similar fate, Shori and Wright flee, determined to track down the people responsible for destroying Shori's family. Butler has a reputation as a master for good reason, and her narrative flows quickly and seamlessly along as Shori seeks those who would destroy her. Gripping and memorable, Butler's latest is a welcome return performance. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 460 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000Q9EXQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,666 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
By J. Gray
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.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
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.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
It is indeed bittersweet that "Fledgling: A Novel" brings to a close the brilliant career of science fiction writer Octavia Butler, whose engrossing fiction made her a noted writer not only of science fiction, but truly, among our most compelling fictional commentators of American race relations and elegant literary stylists (She was one of my favorite science fiction writers, and her untimely death last year is truly a great loss to literary science fiction, contemporary Afro-American literature, and indeed, all of contemporary English language literature.). Her final novel can be regarded as a triumphant coda to that career, truly encapsulating all of her sociological and anthropological concerns, and acting as a mesmerizing, profound fictional commentary on the state of race relations here in the United States. She has done the impossible, reviving the time-worn vampire novel genre, and instilling in it, a breath of fresh air, by writing a most memorable tale on the nature of individuality, free will and prejudice. In Shori Matthews, she has sprung forth a most compelling literary creation, telling her tale in a fascinating combination of fast-paced, truly "blood-and-guts" thriller and legal drama that ranks alongside the best from the likes of John Grisham, for example, in her compelling description of Ina society and culture. This splendid novel is destined to become a literary classic, favored not only by Octavia Butler's fans, but more importantly, those interested in reading the finest fantasy and science fiction literature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Incredible read!
Published 1 month ago by SITA A. UPSHAW
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time.
This book sucks. I can only commend her on her "interesting" twist on Vampire/Human Relationship...but overall I found it boring, stupid, and terribly written.
Published 1 month ago by Michelle
1.0 out of 5 stars It was tedious reading.
I gave the book away.
Published 2 months ago by Andrea Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good. Thank you.
Published 2 months ago by Bubble W.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book and have read it several times
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... Read more
Published 2 months ago by danielle scamaldo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good and quick
Published 3 months ago by ShantaDee Gadson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so compelling
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kayla
5.0 out of 5 stars So good.
Well written, great character development. Just an amazing story. Can't wait to read the rest in the series.

A good read.
Published 4 months ago by tigerheart
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is off the chain. This was written ...
The book is off the chain. This was written before Ann Rice and Twilight series. Someone needs to make into a movie.
Published 5 months ago by Ursula Rice-Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vampire Book I Have Ever Read
From the initial impression, reading the first page, to the fuller insights throughout the story, I have never read a Vampire book more captivating than this. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Davenport-Culver
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More About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the "grand dame of science fiction," was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter's Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.

Butler's first story, "Crossover," was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology. Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977. Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay's Ark (1984).

With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, "Speech Sounds," and in 1985, Butler's novelette "Bloodchild" won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.

Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995). Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The book's sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.

In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.


1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA
1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds
1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1995, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant
1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents
2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing
2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame
2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America


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I just finished reading the Fledgling trade paperback, and while I noticed several typos, they were only minimally distracting.
Jul 6, 2013 by j-c-m |  See all 2 posts
The pseudo-pedophilia turned me off. Be the first to reply
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