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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Fledgling

Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler

For years, I have anticipated reading something by Octavia E. Butler. I had built an image of Butler that was a cross between Toni Morrison and Ursula LeGuin. Maybe I picked the wrong book to start with; Fledgling more closely resembles Stephenie Meyer mixed with Stephenie Meyer (and, given the taboo nature of the plot, maybe a little Ian McEwan).

Now some may say it's a little too easy to take Fledgling, a novel about vampires, and compare it with the Twilight slogga. True. Especially true when one notes that I've never read a page of Twilight or seen a minute of the films, but I know the gist. I know I wouldn't care much for them. I know it's vampire this and vampire that and boy-girl-boy triangle. Fledgling equals same book. Throw in a legal trial (I hate trials in stories) and that's Fledgling.

Oh yeah, and there's probably a lot more sex. Except Twilight sex equals sex with Kristen Stewart; Fledgling sex equals sex with Quvenzhané Wallis. What's that you say? Wallis is only twelve? Oh, in that case she's only a couple years too old. I get it, our vampire protagonist only looks ten. Still, what about all the many people who have sex with this ten-year-old-looking girl without knowing her actual age? Ugghhh.

Really, there's nothing special about this book. It's a plot-driven vampire story peopled with flat characters and flatter sentences. Nothing like LeGuin. Nothing like Morrison. Nothing like something I'd want to read. That's not to say I wouldn't give Butler another try, but I think I'll stay away from vampires for a little while.