About the Author:
Octavia Butler was one of very few African American science fiction writers in the U.S. She passed away in 2006 leaving behind 13 published works. Butler won numerous prestigious literary awards, perhaps the most honorary being the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in which she was the first science fiction writer to receive. Butler’s texts stand out among most published work due to her incorporation of an African American female protagonist. This leading character is typically very strong, very brave, and very intelligent. Butler has a very large and loyal reader fan base and she has left a mark in the literary world that will transcend time.
About the Book:
As I read the first chapter of Fledgling I was surprised that it was a vampire novel. I have read four other books by Octavia Butler and this book seemed uncharacteristic. I was pleasantly surprised by her capability to take such a turn. The main character awakens in a cave badly bruised and without memory of who or where she is. From this point on, the character is in search of her identity and in search of many explanations. I have not read other vampire novels nor have I watched many vampire shows or movies, but based on the little knowledge I have of other vampire-based stories, Butler seems to illustrate the lives, needs, and desires of the “Ina” vampires in a very unique way. Within the story she actually mocks mainstream myths and urban legends about vampires. Butler has such a way of making you clearly visualize her characters and emotionally connect with them. This novel is VERY suspenseful. I could not put it down, I was reading at every chance I got. I stayed awake into the early hours of the morning reading this book and then having dreams about what I had read. This novel really shook me. Not only does Butler typically have a Black female protagonist, but she also usually centers on an interracial (typically Black/White) relationship (did I mention that her leading ladies also have natural hair??? Yeah, that too;). Perhaps this is why I can connect so completely with her leading character, but I truly believe that it is just her amazing writing style. As with her other books, once I reached the end I was left wanting more. I was left thoughtful and feeling as though I gained something. Fledging made me ponder aspects of humanity, love, fear, and compassion. There are parts of the novel that sparked critical analysis, parts that sickened me, and parts that were arousing. This story will remain with me, it is unforgettable. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. I think there is something in it for everyone.