Marilee J. Layman (mjlayman) wrote,
Marilee J. Layman

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Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

This is not your average media vampire novel. It's not your average vampire novel at all.

She wakes up blind, in massive pain, and hungry in what she learns is a cave. Meat comes close and she eats it, finding out later that she's eaten a man. She heals quickly and starts looking around, finding a burned compound with bones and then, following roads out to a main road, runs into a man. He wants to take her to a hospital, but she refuses. They check out the compound over several days and then one day, her father arrives.

She's Ina, a millennium-long nation of vampires, and her name is Shori Matthews. Her father explains that in their culture, the men and women live separately and that the compound belonged to her mothers. She's an experiment -- human genes mixed with Ina genes so she can stay out in daylight -- and that may be why the mothers were killed. Her father takes her and the man to his compound and she meets her brothers and finds out that the Ina need human symbionts to feed on. The feeding is enjoyable for both and the symbionts may marry within their group.

The next day, she and her first symbiont are ready to move into her father's compound when they find it burned, too. Two of that compound's symbionts were not at home during the burning and the four of them try to find a friendly Ina compound. They find that family and foil an attack on that compound primarily because of Shori. They interrogate the three humans that live and find out which Ina family directed the attacks.

The last third of the book is taken up with a Council of 13 Ina families and this is where we find the reason for the burning as well as more customs, laws, and rules.

I would have liked it if Butler lived to write many more books, particularly the last Parable book, but if there was a choice between this and that, I'd pick this. Fledgling has a firm ending but could have had a sequel and I think there might have been a plan for that since fledglings have down and are just getting their wings to fly outside the nest -- nest shown metaphorically in a number of ways in the book.

Highly recommended
Tags: book

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