Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s new novel after a seven year break, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly inhuman 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.
My Review of Fledgling
Shori looks like a normal human child but is actually a 53-year-old Ina, a vampire. The story is told through her eyes after she loses her memory and cannot remember who or what she is.
Shori is found and cared for by a human, but as they slowly realise what she is Shori starts trying to find her Ina family. This gives us as the reader a unique insight into the vampire community, Shori is one of them, but has to relearn everything about them, and we learn with her.
The Ina create strong families and communities. As an Ina Shori needs her human symbionts, she needs their closeness and their support.
I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the communal / shared partner way of living (I don’t like people, and sharing my life with one person is about as much as I can stand) but I like the different approach to vampire stories. It shows vampires as being capable of kindness and love for humans.
Shori has an intelligent, cold, analytical style which I enjoyed reading, and the whole story is quite serious, with no daftness in it.It makes a nice change from the normal over the top emotional vampire silliness!
I loved it at first, and the story built up a lot of momentum but then it kinda petered out towards the conclusion where it became quite slow.
It became what I felt was a discussion of race, prejudice, and moral values, which I found very interesting and thought-provoking, and the slower pace helped to digest it all.
This is one of the best vampire stories I’ve read and I’m excited about reading more of Octavia Butler’s books!