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Fledgling Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Audible.com Release Date: August 22, 2008
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001EPO4SY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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