KayKay #CBR5 Review #17 Fledgling by Octavia Butler



My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

This is my sixth Octavia Butler book this year (and I am counting the three Lilith’s Brood books as one) and the more I read, the more I feel we have lost a fantasy legend.  She has this amazing way of weaving a social message into fantasy.  Did she hit her high marks?  Here’s what I thought…


Shori, a black vampire, wakes up with no memory of herself in a cave.  After several painful days she leaves and meets Wright, who picks her up from the side of the road.  After she recovers (and ‘seduces’ Wright) she tracks down her family.  Her mom’s family was destroyed, with her being the only survivor. Her dad’s family gives her a little piece of the puzzle that she is missing, but they are also destroyed.  Shori runs to the only other vampires that the remaining humans from her dads family had visited.  They determine who is out to kill Shori (due to her familys genetic experiments), and bring them to trial.

Plot Score: 3/5

Location, Location, Location

Current day Earth where vampires exist- and have existed longer than humans.

Location Score: 3/5

Characters and Relationships

Shori- a vampire in her 50’s, but looks like a 12 year old girl.  Due to a violent attack, she has lost all of her memory.  We learn as she learns.

Symbionts- Human companions of the vampires.  In this book, once a vampire has bit someone a few times, they become tied together and they need each other.

Characters Score: 3/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

A common theme in many Octavia Butler books, this book explores family.  Shori’s relationship with her symbionts- which is compulsive after they have been bitten so many times.  They love it and want to stay with her, but they love it because of the venom in her bite.  It’s not completely free will.

Families are not traditional, a vampire has many symbionts, and there is some jealousy between them (as Shori has sexual relationships with many of them).  She can also mate with other vampires.  The symbionts can also mate with each other.

Bigger Meaning Score: 4/5


This was a good book, and I enjoyed it when reading it, but it did not call to me when I put it down.  I didn’t think about it or necessarily want to get back to it when I wasn’t reading.  I can’t exactly figure out what was different about this book from her others which I loved so much.  Maybe I’ve read to many of her books so now the themes have become repetitive.  I’ll be taking a longer break before I read Kindred.

Opening Line:  I awoke to darkness

Style Score: 3/5

Final Thoughts?

-When I read a string a good books, it motivates me to keep reading.  For some reason this book, although good, made me take a week or so off from reading.

-I wrote this review over a week after I finished the book, and after I had read another book.  Some of the details were not fresh in my mind.

Total Score and Recommendation
16/25- Honestly, unless you want to read every Octavia Butler book, skip this one.

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