Book Review – Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

IMG_0794Title: Fledgling
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Publish Date: January 2, 2007
# of Pages: 320
Rating: ⭐️⭐️
(**Warning: Possible spoilers!**)


(From Goodreads) 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 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.


Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler is the story of a young vampire who loses her memory in a horrific murder attempt. The book follows Shori as she tries to piece her life together, stay alive, and bring her family’s murderers to justice.

I wanted to like this book. It’s been on my to-be-read shelf for years, but there was a lot about the book that turned me off.

First off, Shori is a young vampire who has the body of a child. In the vampire world, she’s considered a child even though she’s in her 50s. In the human world, she appears to be around 12. As Shori collects symbionts (humans who form her family), most of the ones she chooses are ones she’s intimately attracted to. She has sexual relationships with these human symbionts. Ick. She looks 12 and hasn’t hit puberty. This is not okay. I couldn’t read this and not think, “Pedophiles, ew. Yuck.” I don’t think glamorizing pedophilia was the author’s intent, but I couldn’t move past it.

Second, the writing was just mediocre. It didn’t suck me in. I didn’t grow attached to any of the characters. It felt very basic.

The plot itself was interesting. The author did a great job of making you care about solving the murder mystery. Tragedy after tragedy struck Shori, so it was nice to see justice brought to the wrong-doers in the end.

I also appreciated the author’s different spin on vampirism. Some of the same nuances existed–sleep during the day, needs blood–but they were sympathetic vampires. They co-habited with humans, forming symbiotic relationships and caring for the humans as though they were family members. I thought this was neat, and I liked this spin.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me, but if you enjoy vampire novels, check it out. You might like it.


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