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Fledgling (Theo Waitley, #1; Liaden Universe, #12)
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Fledgling (Liaden Universe #12)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  2,303 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews

Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.


Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Baen (first published September 1st 2009)
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Jasna Maksimovic Chronologically, the first book is Crystal Soldier from the Great Migration Duology. In terms of publication, the first book published was Agent of…moreChronologically, the first book is Crystal Soldier from the Great Migration Duology. In terms of publication, the first book published was Agent of Change, currently sitting as the 9th book in chrono order.


Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

I enjoyed meeting Daav's daughter Theo and Coyster the cat. I didn't enjoy her mother Kamele or many other characters from Delgado!

This book has a different feel from the last ones I read. Its a step back from the conflict between Clan Korval and the Department of the Interior. For the overall story to go on, the book is necessary so the reader can get to know and understand Theo, her background, her motivators, her inhibitors, etc. It lays the groundwork the the next books in th
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

This is a review of the audiobook.
I enjoyed Fledgling much more this time than when I read the paperback. I think Theo and Kamele's characters came across more clearly. Kamele was a more sympathetic character to me than the first time met her!

This book is not critical to the Agent of Change arc but Theo shows up at the end of that story arc so its good to get to know her. The Theo Waitey story arc starts here and is follwed by Saltation (Theo Waitley, #2), Ghost Ship (Theo Wait
Nov 04, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: space
Fledgling is the first in a loveable series of coming-of-age spinoff novels set in Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe. I've never read any of the earlier Liaden novels, but I adored Theo and her parents (and their cats). Character-driven, non-military space opera is hard to find! Even rarer is their mix of adolescent and adult perspectives, all with different strengths and blind spots. Lee and Miller are also masters of the walk-on -- glimpses of characters and culture that skim into ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Jacqueline rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, sci-fi
I waited so long for this book and I was somewhat disappointed. I am used to enjoying every word on every page of a Liaden novel. The first 180 pages or so of this one was just miserable stuff I had to slog through to get to the better half of the story. It was just to show that Theo was a misfit and came from a big brother type planet. It could have been done in much fewer pages. Also the entire story about the bad scholarship was just plain boring. Didn't care a bit, only interested in Theo an ...more
Sherwood Smith
Jan 05, 2010 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: sf
This is the background story of Theo Waitley, who has a walk-on at the end of I DARE. It's kind of a YA, though we also get the ongoing mystery from the POVs of her parents. It's also half a story; the second half will come in SALTATION. Theo lives on a very restrictive world, and is in constant trouble at school, until her mother takes her on an investigative cruise, then her life drastically changes.

Slightly spoilery below:

I adore Liaden, always have. Miller and Lee know how to do space opera-
Genre: Space Opera

The first draft of this book was published on-line. I am enough of a Liaden fan to have read that version. It is amazing the difference between that version and the newly published book! The original draft had some interesting characters, but the plot made no sense - it kept jumping around and you weren't really sure what was happening. The narration of Fledgling still jumps around, cycling between Theo, her mother Kamele, and her father Jen Sar (aka Daav to long-time Liaden fa
Mar 09, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Chaos and Disorder!!! I just dropped a paper clip. Everything in its proper place if you live in Delgado. Even the tiniest slip-up (i.e. tripping, getting a bruise, stating an incorrect answer) is a note in the file. Oh, we mere mortals on earth would never make it. We also lack a special skill that magically shows up in our teens. Theo is a dancing whiz with super quick reflexes. Well, good for her. And for her super smart and perceptive parents.

The authors had to have drawn on The Giver by Loi
This book served as my official introduction to all things Liaden. To my enjoyment and edification.
It is a story of soaring. 4/24/16 re-read: Just as good each time I read it!
The ebook version is available for free in the Baen free library:
Oct 09, 2009 Colleen rated it really liked it
The Liaden story continues, from an angle. Young Theo Waitley is in her early teenage years. She is smart, friendly but slightly socially awkward (aren't we all at that age?), and at that adolescent stage where she is having trouble with a body and brain that know almost how to move together, but keep bouncing off of doorframes nonetheless. Her mother is an honorable scholar who has discovered severe meddling in academic resources: the basic texts upon which scholarly work is built have been alt ...more
Oct 16, 2009 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Maybe giving this book 5 stars is a bit much. But since I was one of the Web Readers when the first draft was serialized online, I sort of feel like an aunt. The kind who pinches cheeks.

She grew up so well.

I was delighted to see that the familiar story made it through the revision process in a recognizable fashion. That the confusing parts were filled out and elaborated upon, and the loose ends tied up.

Fledgling waves with the silky language and amusing asides that drew me in when I picked up my
Lis Carey
Jun 13, 2015 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
Theo Waitley is the adolescent daughter of Kamele Waitley, a professor at Delgado University. All her life, they've lived in the home of the man she calls Father, Professor Jen Sar Kiladi, her mother's onagrata. Suddenly Kamele moves herself and Theo back to The Wall, where most of the university faculty and staff live, and Theo's life changes dramatically, and not in ways she likes. It gets worse when her mother announces that she's making a trip offworld to investigate an academic scandal--and ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Gail rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I liked this quite a bit, enough to stay up late reading it. It is the story of a girl on a planet where a research university is the biggest industry. A lot of it is about her growing up, and adjusting to being half-Liaden. There's a conspiracy--but I had a bit of a feeling that some of the conflict surrounding the conspiracy was softened--not sure exactly why. There was a gun in one confrontation scene, but it didn't seem incredibly dangerous. Perhaps because of the reaction of the POV charact ...more
Oct 28, 2010 Joy rated it liked it
Theo Waitley is considered "physically challenged" on her overprotective, highly-academic world of Delgado. When her mother starts investigating some academic shenanigans and moves out of her lover's house, Theo's life changes in some previously-unimaginable ways. I really enjoyed this, it was almost like a YA as we see Theo coming of age and into her own. Some familiar characters are also here from the other Liaden books, in incognito.
Dec 04, 2010 Hilary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
This is another of the books which I almost immediately re-read to see how Theo changed during the book. Having done that, I went out to the library and grabbed as many of these books as I could find on the shelves, having no patience for using the request system as I do normally. That should tell you something.
May 26, 2014 Debrac2014 rated it really liked it
I started this 5/24/13 but forgot to add it to my books. Good story! It kept my interest and made me want to know if Theo meets Win Ton again.
This is a good story, whether you are 16 or older. See comments on the ebook.
Paul Weimer
Sep 06, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it liked it
For years, the team of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have been turning out character-oriented science fiction in what is termed the "Liaden Universe", a future space opera universe where alien species and several factions of humanity jostle against each other. In such a universe, there is limitless room for characters and stories, and the writing team has been filling in that universe eagerly.

Fledgling is the latest effort in this vein and a bit different than some of their previous work. Fledglin
Mar 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it

Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.

Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is no

Carl V.
Feb 01, 2014 Carl V. rated it really liked it
Theo Waitley would appear to be an average fourteen year old girl. She is a bit awkward, she bristles at the strictures of some societal rules, and when her mother decides to leave the comforts of the home of her onagrata, Theo’s Father, to better pursue her career of scholarship in the city, Theo’s anger at the upheaval of her routine is just barely contained…just.

Pretty normal, really.

The trouble is that Theo Waitley lives on the planet Delagado, a “Safe World”. Rules and expectations are clea
Cyn Armistead
Aug 17, 2012 Cyn Armistead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I half-listened to part of this book as Sam Chupp podcast it, chapter by chapter. For some reason, it just didn't catch my fancy back then. I think I didn't let it catch my fancy, because of knowing that I would have to wait for each chapter to be released. Now, though, having it all finished and edited, it's clearly a polished Lee and Miller novel of the Liaden Universe, and I love those.

It's also something of a young adult novel, but don't let that put you off. Theo is an interesting character
Nov 08, 2014 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
REREAD: 27 October 2014 - 4 November 2014 (9/10)

Oh, I loved this all over again. I think I resented Theo a little on first read because she was taking the story away from Val Con etc. Now, however, I recognise the world as the combination of all its stories, and it was lovely to get back into Theo's life.

I had the Wispersync version, meaning I could both read and listen. I did more reading overall, but it was great to be able to jump between the two depending on where I was or what my preference
Karen Gee
Jun 14, 2016 Karen Gee rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
I read this book twice, several spans apart. I actually liked this book more on my second read partially because I was already aware of it's admittedly numerous weaknesses, and chose to disregard them and simply enjoy being immersed in the Liaden Universe again.

I relished the feeling of being back in the Liad universe, even if only indirectly in the path of Liad or Clan Korval. However, this book felt disjointed to me. It has three main parts. Life on Delgado, traveling on the starship, and Sch
This was an unhappy melding of a YA, an academic mystery, and a space opera. Unfortunately not one of these three aspects is fully worked out so it ends up being rather frustrating. As a YA: This is the coming-of-age story of Theo Whately, growing up on a "Safe Planet" where being clumsy or disruptive is marked down on your record. She goes into space, discovers she can Dance, is magically a Pilot and doesn't have to have sex on her 15th Birthday, yay. Quite a few (mildly interesting) things hap ...more
Walter Underwood
I'm glad that Lee & Miller are back in Liaden, because their excursion into an origin story was disappointing.

Unfortunately, this book is for devotees only, maybe a side effect of the on-line publishing and revision by subscription.

It is great to be back in this world, but I wish we had a story. We follow Theo through the school day and various experiences (not quite "adventures") until she gets back. She makes a few decisions to defy her mother, but those turn out to be reasonable choices.
Reading Fledgling was a bittersweet experience. Yes, Theo Waitley is an engaging young heroine, easy to relate to and sympathize with, and it was satisfying to watch her overcome her various challenges and begin to grow into her heritage. And yet... so much had to be sacrificed in order for Theo's storyline to take place. (view spoiler) ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it
This can be read as either straight science fiction or as YA SF, because the central character is 14 years old. The trick is that the action keeps moving between three viewpoint characters: Theo, her mother and her father. As the story progresses, these alternate more and more quickly, until at the resolution the viewpoints change every few paragraphs.
While this works, it's a bit dizzying.
As a reader, I did figure out that Theo's "clumsiness" seemed to be from reacting too quickly to things, rat
Erin Penn
Dec 17, 2015 Erin Penn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While set in the Liaden Universe, "Fledgling" starring Theo Waitley does not take place on Liad and Clan Korval are no where near center stage. Instead we follow 14-15 year-old Theo (age change due to birthday during the book) as she grows up on Delgado when her parents are forced by career requirements to separate. Initially she rebels against her mother, since leaving her home and other changes fall out from her mother's job, but Theo loves both parents dearly. Because of the age of the main c ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Dindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It's been years since I have read any of the Liaden books, so reading this book was like saying hello to an old friend.

The book mostly takes place on Delgado, a planet that is home to a premiere institute of learning. Young Theo Waitley's world is turned upside down when her mother, Kamele, suddenly decides to take Theo and move into faculty housing, leaving Theo's father, Jen Sar behind.

In addition, Theo is "physically challenged" and draws too much attention due to her clumsiness. Her mentor
Arref Mak
Jun 11, 2014 Arref Mak rated it it was amazing
Just got around to reading this. My own intro to the Liaden Universe was many years ago with 'Conflict of Honor' and I've enjoyed the series.

This book got its start as a web "chapters for cash" written by the authors when their publisher went belly up. It was successful (and I watched my Significant Other pile up hard copy pages of this month by month in a binder.)

Theo Waitley is the young 'Fledgling'. She lives in an admired and flourishing community on a crossroads world of scholarship called
Aug 22, 2015 D.w. rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
It now seems that the Lee and Miller team are developing half books.

Fledgling takes a good long time for us to see what is going on, and it is through the intelligence of the Liaden amongst all the scholars who figures things out. But we don't really see enough sleuthing to call this a good mystery, which it could have been.

Instead it mixes in an awkward coming go age story, not completely told, but with a great deal of flashbacks and one line remembrances of why this is an ugly duckling. Finall
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Other Books in the Series

Liaden Universe (1 - 10 of 23 books)
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