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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  21,710 ratings  ·  3,100 reviews
Fledgling, Octavia Butler's new novel after a seven year break, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly inhuman 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 wa ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 8th 2005)
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Lois Matelan One of the issues Butler is exploring is the power dynamic in human relationships. I think your discomfort is understandable, and is part of Butler's …moreOne of the issues Butler is exploring is the power dynamic in human relationships. I think your discomfort is understandable, and is part of Butler's intent. I also think the book is very worth reading even if it DOES make you uncomfortable, because it will encourage you to think about all of the ways in which people relate to each other in the face of a power imbalance.(less)
Lois Matelan Do you think the family structure of the Ina and their symbionts makes sense for them? Why or why not?

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  21,710 ratings  ·  3,100 reviews

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Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I admit that I wanted to like this more than I did simply because I am a big fan of Kindred. I was slightly ambivalent about another book on vampires, however, and while I tried not to take that into serious account when reading Butler, it still crept in.

Mostly, however, I liked the book fine. Any major issues I have can be neatly summed up in my opinion on quasi-pedophile literature in general. It's designed to make us squirm. If it doesn't make you squirm then maybe you're reading just a tad t
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi

Sci-fi vampires!

Octavia Butler!

While I love Octavia Butler, I have been avoiding Fledgling for a while because Twilight* and the “paranormal romance” genre that followed in its wake are anathema to me. I knew of course that Ms. Butler would never slum it with Stephenie Meyer, but the subject matter is kind of spoiled for me. Still, I am running out of Octavias to read so I did not want to skip one of her - all too few – novels just because of my disillusion with vampire fiction in ge
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
3.5 – 4 stars

Another vampire book review from the guy who says he’s not a fan of vampires? Yeah, well I’m trying to find the good ones, not the dreck that’s jumped onto the Twilight bandwagon. And quite frankly I didn’t pick this one up because it was a vampire book per se, but because it was one by Octavia Butler, whose work I’ve been meaning to look into more, and this is the only stand-alone that I’m aware of. It turned out to be a good book, though there are some possibly ‘problematic’ issu
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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I am shocked that this was published by the same Octavia E. Butler who wrote PARABLE OF THE SOWER and KINDRED. It felt like it was written by a totally different person. If I hadn't looked at the publication date and seen the "2005," I would have thought that this was a less-successful first novel. That seriously bums me out because I love vampire novels, and the idea of reading a novel about a black vampire that explores the themes of r
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mike, simon
*** this review has spoilers that will do irreversible damage to those who have not read the book, is long, and is, i'm afraid, rather academic in tone, because i just think that way. be warned. ***

Fledgling opens with a birth scene of sorts. a little girl (we don’t yet know that she’s a little girl, but find out soon enough) wakes up in a cave in tremendous physical pain. her body is badly injured, more, we gather from the description, than a human being would be able to survive. she’s covered
Joe Valdez
One of the best books I've read is Kindred, Octavia Butler's 1979 time travel novel. Had it been published twenty years earlier, I'm sure it would've put her on Rod Serling's radar as he scouted writers for The Twilight Zone. Butler's use of dark fantasy to dramatize issues of social injustice and racism, and explore our reaction to genocide, wrapped me up in a spell. I hesitated to read more of Butler's work, fearing it wouldn't measure up.

Fledgling doesn't measure up. I scanned the second half
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I had a twenty year love affair with Anne Rice's vampires. It's no wonder I was most often single during those years because a real-world partner would probably have been jealous of my deep feelings and obsessions over Maharet and Mekare, Merrick, Pandora, Mona, and yes, the Brat Prince himself, Lestat. 

So it's perhaps odd that I've never met a vampire outside of Anne Rice's books that I liked. There's never been another vampire story to draw me in and get under my skin. I usually give vampire b
This was so disappointing. I'm actually bothered by this. I'm such a big fan of Octavia Butler's novel Kindred and this one (her last before her unfortunate passing) almost felt like it was written by someone else. The book actually sports a really great concept that's ripe for tons of conflict and exploration of ideas and themes. The story is about an amnesiac 11-year-old-looking girl and her rediscovery that she is in fact an experimental member of the Ina, a vampiric species that live in ...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Firstly, I wish there was a way to give this novel TEN STARS because like every single book she's ever written, it is a masterpiece of surperb writing, compelling characters and thought-provoking themes like sex, race and class - issues seldom dealt with in even the finest speculative fiction.

Only in the hands of a skilled author could new life be breathed into the quickly becoming stale vampire genre, and Ms. Butler succeeds where so many others fail. Anyone looking for Anne Rice will be sadly
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Imagine that you are driving home one day and come across an interesting looking person by the side of the road. You invite this person into your car and are immediately drawn to him or her in extreme ways – after only a few hours together, you want to sleep with this person, do everything that he or she says, and give up everything in your life to devote yourself to this person's needs.

You are attracted to this person above all others, and he/she can give you the greatest pleasure of your entir
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audacious & radical, it is basically a rebel literary monster thirsting for true blood.

& innovation. Tired of the same formula, it breaks conventions as it establishes others. That there is a hybrid vampire able to move in sunlight, thus breaking with the status quo (or our interpretation of the status quo, you know, in some parallel universe where vampires exist), it is all just too majestically REAL.

The tragedy of FLEDGLING is that it invites us into a world that is so fully alive that right a
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, vampire
Ah vampires...

Sexy sexy vampires...

Octavia Butler used the last of her considerable writing talents to leave us with the Ina, an interesting new culture and species of vampire.

The author decided to make the MC sexy vampire female.
Yes, good choice.
And black.
Great, love diversity in stories.
And ten years old.
You've lost me.

By the third sex scene where this little girl is joyfully plowed by an enormous hairy white twenty year old man, I decided the author had lost her mind.

If this is where
[Name Redacted]
Time to give Butler another chance! Will she manage to avoid the Manichaean "Male = Bad. Female = Good." dynamic of Wild Seed? Only time will tell! But this stand-alone novel is about vampires and fits in perfectly with my goal for October.


Well, a remarkable dearth of misandry! In its place was a really, really, really creepy story about how healthy and natural pedophilia can be. In context it makes sense, and technically the pre-pubescent girl was a 50 year-old member of an entirely differe
Laura Noggle
May 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: pedophiles (JK, but seriously)
Reasons why I was excited for this book:

1) Genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire in the body of a young, amnesiac girl.
2) Octavia Butler, because, she's awesome.
3) My first experience reading about a black vampire.

Reasons why this book was a disappointment:

1) The POV is a young, amnesiac girl who never "remembers." (It got old, fast.)
2) According to my book club, several of Butler's other books are *much* better.
3) The most radical thing about the book was the "underage" sex.

Usually, I'm d
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tenli
Octavia Butler is dead (in 2006, actually), long live Octavia Butler. There are few authors who have taught me more about what it means to be human.

Her stories don't teach with luxurious literary language or complex psychological portraits. The earlier novels are a little bit wooden, with characters that sometimes seem like cardboard cut-outs. But rarely have I found stories so LOADED down with ideas that there's barely time to explore one before the next one bursts upon me. Her stories teach th
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vampires and pedophiles
Octavia Butler was a genius who died far too young. In her too-short oeuvre are many classics of science fiction, Hugo and Nebula winners, all of them dealing with race and power and oppression in some way. Fledgling was (I think) her last book, or one of the last, and it's a fairly straightforward vampire story, except that as Butler handles it, the narrative is as deep and complicated as the story is simple.

Butler was not one of those writers who spent a lot of time crafting words, or if she d
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: vampire fans, people who aren't easily squicked out
The sad thing about this book is that it is very clearly supposed to be one in a series; unfortunately, Butler died after writing this book. That makes it hard to read because you immediately become attached to Shori, much like the people in the book become attached to her. This book is AMAZING. It introduces the Ina and by doing so, Butler created a new branch of vampire lore--vampires who are not evil, do not kill to feed, who live with families of several humans they feed on and who they love ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, the themes around power, love, intimacy, family and interdependence that were so captivatingly worked in the Xenogenesis stories are explored again, this time drawing ingeniously on vampire mythology and critiquing USian racism.

The insinuations about Shori's "impairment" in the face of her obviously advanced abilities, extralegal attacks on her, and even the insistence of benevolent parties that "race means nothing to us" are all too familiar...

As usual with Butler, I couldn't put
Feb 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
I just barely made myself finish this. I thought the writing style was fairly dull, the social observations not nearly as interesting or original as the reviews I read had suggested, and at least the edition I read was really poorly edited for typos and punctuation. I did a lot of eye rolling at this one.
da AL
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
At 53, she's just a baby vampire! How does one be a vampire? She finds out. Humor, wit, & wisdom -- & great narrator. ...more
For a long time I have been wanting to read a novel by Octavia E. Butler. Her last book, Fledgling, somehow seemed to be the right first choice for me, as I've always had a thing for vampire-stories.

I ordered the book from a local book store and waited for days in eager anticipation for it's arrival. The book arrived and I read it. The first few pages seemed promising, for its premise was different than most other vampire books that I have read. The boo
Mark Oshiro
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
perhaps one of the best books I've EVER read. a stunning and haunting examination of race, gender, mental disability, and identity, it entirely re-invents vampire lore in a way that makes everything pale in comparison. there are a number of scenes that are downright terrifying. but what i loved about Fledgling the most was Butler's insistence on forcing our gaze onto many uncomfortable aspects of traditional vampire mythology – the sexualization of underage bodies, the paleness of all vampires e ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
I could not get over the 1. Child sex with adults, and 2. 'Beneficial' enslavement despite lack of free will or any impartiality being possible once enslaved. I finished this because I respect the author so much. She could not have written this to be her effort at writing pornography for deviants. It left a disgusting impression on me, though, and I won't read it ever again. I read it a couple of years ago, and I keep wavering between giving it one star because of my repugnance and five stars be ...more
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
Buddy read with the fabulous Nenia!


Okay, so I was *supposed* to read this with Nenia, but I was too grossed out and quit pretty early on. The vampire in this book looks like an eleven-year-old girl, but is 53 in vampire years (although she's apparently not mature in vampire years either). Anyway, it's super disgusting to read a graphic sex scene involving a child and an adult man, even if that man is "compelled" to be sexually attracted to her. No thanks.

Nenia ended up finishing it, and h
Julie Zantopoulos
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I legit don't know how to review this book. I think it was fantastically written and the world building was great. The science in it was spectacular, the discussion on race, feminism, and sexuality was good, too. But...but...the little kid sex stuff? Mind you we have a 53 year old vampire MC (relax it's on the back blurb it's not a spoiler) but she LOOKS to be 10 or 11. So, when she is engaging in sexy times with's very offputting. And I mean, VERY offputting for the reader. Especial ...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
So good, even the second time through! It feels fresh in a world full of vampire books, and is plainly but wonderfully written. I love her writing style and have loved all of her books. This book challenges me and causes me to reflect on social norms, stigmas, and sexual orientations. I find this book to be unique and special even after reading many other books in this genre.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, vampires
well, it was ok. nothing new really.
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Fledgling was Butler's final novel and it simply does not measure up to the talent Butler displays in Kindred and Parable. It's a fairly unique take on the vampire myth, but it just feels flat. There's no music here. The words don't have any melody, no texture, no rhythm. Renee/Shori is an amnesiac Ina or vampire who lives off the blood of humans in a symbiotic relationship. The enzymes she emits allow them to feel ecstatic for her bite and prolongs their lifespans. Like others of her species, s ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Every time I read a Butler book, I'm reminded of just how big a loss her death was in 2006. I'm eager to read her entire oeuvre, but reluctant to reach that point where I'll have to accept there's nothing more to come. Fledgling was the last book she wrote and it just seems to fire on all cylinders--she takes the familiar myth of the vampire and puts her own stamp on the genre by redefining mutually beneficial relationships and creating a civil war among the Ina (vampires) based on the same fear ...more
ONYX Pages
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

After her father died, Butler was raised by her widowed mother. Extremely shy as a child, Octavia found an outlet at the li

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For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
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“When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.” 1522 likes
“Let them see that you trust them & let them solve their own problems, make their own decisions.Do that & they will commit their lives to you. Bully the, control them out of fear or malice or just for your own convenience, & after a while you'll have to spend all your time thinking for them, controlling them, & stifling their resentment.” 14 likes
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