Book Review: Fledgling

Fledgling

by Octavia Butler.

This could be your typical girl-wakes-up-hurt-with amnesia story, except for one significant difference: this girl is a vampire. Imagine waking up alone, injured, with strange cravings, and not only having no recollection of who you are or how you got there, but no idea what you are either. To have to have the concept of a vampire explained to you by a human. This is how Fledgling starts off.

Shori, the girl, looks like a kid of about 12, but is actually a 53-year-old vampire. After waking up alone in the forest, she has to find civilization and piece together her past. This is not easy given the fact that she has no real idea of what her vampire abilities are or their consequences. When she does finally stumble upon bits of her past, it only gets more complicated. How does she fit into vampire society? Why is she different from other vampires? What happened to her family and how did she end up in that cave? As answers become clearer, Shori has to carve a space for herself in this new society and ensure safety for herself and her human dependents.

This was the first book by Octavia Butler that I’ve read, and it was a good intro to her work. I liked her writing style and pace. The story had enough familiar elements that it wasn’t difficult to wrap my head around, but enough new things and surprises to keep it interesting and her own. She works a lot of nuance into her characters and world, particularly when it comes to race, science, humanity, and consenting relationships. Shori’s first relationship, in fact, made me a bit uncomfortable, but eventually it fit within the way the vampire society is built.

I was a bit disappointed in the ending. This is standalone book, so there are no sequels, and I felt the end happened a bit abruptly. I would’ve liked to see things progress beyond that point a little more. Especially as part of the danger Shori faced/faces didn’t really seem to be resolved. This was the last book that Butler published before she died, so maybe she had plans to revisit this world? I don’t know.

If you want to read a vampire story that’s a different take on the usual, give this one a try.

I give it 3.5/5 stars.

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Fledgling

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Book Review: Black Fall

Black Fall (The Black Year Saga #1) by D.J. Bodden. Jonas Black is your typical teenager- 16, with a girlfriend, school, and favorite playlists he can’t live without. Sure, he has a missing/dead father, and mother he barely sees, but no one is 100% normal, right? Then strange things start happening and he learns just how far from normal his family (and he) is. The world he thought he knew is really just the surface. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, demons – they are all real, and dangerous. And, of course, all balanced in an ongoing political struggle for power and […]

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Book Review: Sunshine

Sunshine by Robin McKinley Rae (nicknamed Sunshine) Seddon is just your normal young twenty-something with a complicated family situation, working at a coffeeshop and dating a nice guy. Until one night she gets ambushed at the lake and finds herself chained to the wall in an abandoned house with a clearly starving vampire, also a prisoner. Not the best setup for long life expectancy. Except that Sunshine’s complicated family situation includes inheriting a surprisingly strong talent for magic from her father’s side. So a precarious, unlikely alliance is born between Sunshine and the vampire Constantine, as they work to escape […]

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Book Review: The Historian

The Historian

The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova This is a book I’d never heard of before coming across it on Goodreads Bookswap, which is a shame, because it’s a gem. Most of the vampire stories that have come out recently have been along the lines of Twilight – at the most basic, a human falling in love with a vampire. And that’s fine, those can be entertaining and enjoyable. But they do get a bit old after a few. The Historian, quite refreshingly, did NOT follow that vein. It is an investigative journey spanning decades, delving into the root and history of […]

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Book Review: Descent into Dust

Descent into Dust By Jacqueline Lepore This was a random choice from the new fiction shelf in the library. As vampire novels go, it was about average. It was entertaining, there were some thrills and scares, and it’s certainly set itself up for a series. The plot was done moderately well; it was somewhat predictable, but there was a darker/creepier tone to the book that helped me ignore that as a reader. I particularly liked how Emma, the protagonist, is known to have a mother who went mad, and so everyone around her is waiting for signs that she, too, […]

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