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.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately (who, me?) and wanted to catch you up on some of the highlights. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed recently: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, this novel follows the protagonist through similar life events: an uncaring aunt, abusive schoolmaster, refuge in a country house as a governess with a brooding master. There is one big difference, though – this Jane has escaped each horrid circumstance by killing her tormentor, leaving a trail of bodies behind her. Is she truly wicked, or a victim fighting back against cruelty? Will […]
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 […]
I haven’t finished a book I felt could use a full review since my last review, so instead today I’m talking about 3 books I’m currently work my way through. Here’s the latest picks from my TBR pile: Arena by Holly Jennings. One of my recent NetGalley grabs. It tells the story of Kali, a competitor in the virtual gladiator-like RAGE tournaments. Mix war games with the Matrix, and turn it YA, you might end up with this. I’m not quite halfway through yet, so I haven’t gotten to the sinister twist that I’m sure is coming (it is filed […]
Archon (The Books of Raziel #1) by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is book one in a series about Angela Mathers, a troubled young woman who dreams of angels and is apparently unkillable (she knows, she’s tried). The book starts as she’s released from a mental institution and starting out at a new university, West Wood Academy, a priest-run school for blood heads like her (red-headed children with powers). Society sends all such children to one place, because one of them is going to be the prophesied Archon, who will unlock the lost book of the archangel Raziel and have the power […]
Today this little space on the web turns 3 years old. It simultaneously seems like longer and yet not that long. I’ve been through a slight name change and several blog themes. I’ve tried and then abandoned sponsorships and certain topics/series. Writing a blog is a long game of fine tuning your content and your voice and your brand. One of the cornerstones, though, has always been my love of books and stories and reading. And so today, as a giant thank you to my readers and celebration of 3 years on internet air, I’m doing a giant book giveaway. […]
The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson. I’ve followed this author, Maureen Johnson, on Twitter for quite awhile (she actually is one of my favorite Twitter personalities), so I thought it was high time I actually checked out her writing. I started with this series, a YA paranormal mystery because hey – YA and paranormal and mystery are all things I really like. And it did not disappoint. The Name of the Star starts out with Louisiana high schooler Rory settling in to life at a boarding school in modern-day London for the year her […]