Sbuchler's Reviews > Fledgling

Fledgling by Sharon Lee
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Jan 05, 10

bookshelves: scifi-fantasy, read-in-2009, re-read, read-in-2011, audio-books, read-in-2013
Read in September, 2009

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 fans). The book never answers why Delgado University has been targeted by un-disclosed foreign agents, but based on the rest of the Korval books one can make an educated guess. Plus, leaving it unexplained gives opportunities in the next book for developing that angle.

Overall, this is a rather sweet coming-of-age tale for Theo, as she stretches her wings and discovers that while her talents may not be appreciated on her home world, that they are useful and appreciated elsewhere.

I think this is the first book in the Liaden universe that spends a significant amount of time describing and defining a non-Liaden world. Delgado is odd. It's a "Safe World" - meaning its obsessive about safety - from reckless driving to having issues with flashing neon lights. It's also a deeply bigoted world, think 1950s gender relations, but it's the women in the positions of power. It's a cultural faux pas for a man to ask if he's a child's father. The normal mode is for a woman to decide that it's time to have a child, and go to the fertility clinic and fix it. Leaves me wondering what a man who wanted to be a father would do. Anyway, for all I found the society unsettling (which is something I think the authors intended), it is nice to see a matriarchal society depicted as seriously less-than-perfect, given the history of the science fiction and fantasy genres on the subject.
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