Fledgling share button
Octavia E. Butler
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.12 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.87 (d)
Pages 320
Publisher Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date January 2007
ISBN 9780446696166
Book ISBN 10 0446696161
About Book

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.


From Barnes & Noble

Octavia Butler's first vampire novel in seven years was also, unfortunately, her final book: The first science fiction writer ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation Grant died early in 2006. Fledgling displays both her craft and her power to convincingly transform familiar mythic material. Certainly, he narrator fits no standard vampire profile: Shori Matthews is a gentle 53-year-old, dark-skinned, amnesiac bloodsucker who looks like a 10-year-old girl. Shori and her fellow Ina vampires are more sinned against then sinning and might qualify as an endangered species if they didn't live for hundreds of years. One last masterpiece; highly recommended.

Ron Charles

How many of our happy relationships involve a degree of dominance or dependence that we can't acknowledge? This is Butler's typically insidious method: to create an alternative social world that seems, at first, alien and then to force us to consider the nature of our own lives with a new, anxious eye. It's a pain in the neck, but impossible to resist.
— The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly

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 2005 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Awaking blind, in pain, confused, and alone, Shori Matthews manages to survive amnesia and what should be crippling injuries and starts looking for answers-who hurt her, who she is, and where she comes from. She quickly learns that she is not a young human girl but a genetically altered vampire. Her black skin allows her to survive sunlight and remain alert during the day, but she faces grave danger from those threatened by her strength and heritage. Accompanied by several human hosts who feed and love her, Shori tries to protect her new family and friends from an increasingly hostile threat. Some readers may find Shori's sexual relationship with her adult hosts offensive, as she has the appearance of an 11-year-old girl. This is Nebula Award winner Butler's (Parable of the Sower) first novel in seven years; the conclusion suggests it is likely the start of a series. Recommended for all public libraries. [Butler's collection of short fiction, Bloodchild, will be reissued with two new stories in October.-Ed.]-Devon Thomas, Hass MS&L, Ann Arbor, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

A little girl suffering from amnesia wakes to find that she's actually a middle-aged vampire, in this suspenseful novel from Butler, her first in seven years. Shori wakes up horribly injured and starving, knowing only that she needs to feed, preferably on blood, and that she doesn't necessarily want to kill anyone. Once she's drunk someone's blood-as quickly happens with Wright, a man who picks her up on the side of the road-that person becomes tied to her in a relationship that's closer to love than it is to slavery, though it's an uncomfortable mix of the two. Soon, Shori meets other vampires, a millennia-old race who call themselves the "Ina." She starts to drink the blood of humans (whom the Ina call "symbionts" and regard as their children, or lovers). She discovers that she's a unique Ina, the product of a genetic experiment using human DNA that makes her able to withstand sunlight (her African-American pigmentation helping her do so). This unique status appears to be why someone killed her Ina family and their symbionts, and why she is herself being hunted. Butler (Bloodchild and Other Stories, 1995, etc.) effortlessly navigates what are pretty queasy waters, what with Shori's frank and carnal relationship with her symbionts, complicated by her looking like a ten-year-old girl when in fact she's 53. Racist fears of miscegenation are also given an interesting spin in a story so convincingly told, via Butler's hardboiled yet emotional prose, that one is likely to forget it's about vampires. A finely crafted character study, a parable about race and an exciting family saga. Exquisitely moving fiction.