Elisabeth's Reviews > Fledgling

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
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Apr 25, 12

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Review from 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.

This review is spot-on, and why I loved this book so much. I admit it, I LARP. I like vampire stuff. I'm not into Anne Rice, but I've read it before, and LJ Smith, and even the first Twilight book.

And this book is different than all of that. It's like a sci-fi writer taking a crack at the vampire genre (which, it is!) and fresh life is breathed into the undead genre! It's original, interesting, and I love the main character (I'm a sucker for non-stereotypical female leads.) Octavia Butler has a habit of writing black female protagonists (which I seem to have read more than the usual number of, lately), and I really enjoy it.

Good writing, interesting page turner... I always enjoy the "other" view, meaning, not much empathy with humans because they're an "other" type, rather than a different kind of human, or someone who wants to be human, or someone who used to be human. I also really like re-defining of "normal" relationships.

All-over good times.
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