September 4, 2014
July 1, 2014
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Brief synopsis with no spoilers: A non-human wakes in a cave injured and with no memory. She hunts and kills animals with her bare hands/teeth and eats them raw until she is strong enough to get to a road and meet a young man driving a car. Upon biting him she is told that she is a vampire. She sets out on quest to find out what she is, who she is, and why she is all alone. But someone is out to kill her and everyone around her.
It is hard for me to figure out how to review this so I will stick with the problems I had with the book and the things I liked about it rather than dissecting the plot in detail. While I found it very hard to put this book down, at the same time I sometimes felt filthy for having read it.
There is something very squicky about the multiple sexual relationships this little girl vampire has with humans who do not always even know that she is not a normal little girl at first. Perhaps it is normal for vampires who are still children to have sex with humans like crazy? But for humans it is not normal to have sex with what appear to be children. Yet none of them seem worried or grossed out or anything except the very first and he just keeps calling her jail bait. At least these encounters are not described in any detail.
I also found her relationships with her "symbionts" disturbing because they had so little choice in whether or not they became permanent blood donors/sex partners. Yes, apparently they each get one chance to walk away, but this is at the point that they are already addicted to vampire venom and willing to give up everything they have ever known to get it.
I liked that Shori was intelligent and strong (oh boy is she strong!) and that she was a person of colour. Yet that last bit...somehow the way she was a product of genetic engineering and the insane racism and anger it generated rung false to me. And that is a really important part of the story. I am not saying that in real life none of this would ever happen, just that to me it wasn't convincing in the story so it's a shame it wasn't better handled. Considering that they are at the heart of the mystery regarding Shori, I would have liked to see the Silk family fleshed out a little. It seemed like there were so many families thrown at us right at the end and even the main ones were pretty vague. The ending isn't really an ending (makes sense to find out that the author died before being able to write sequels).
I liked that this book forced me out of my comfort zone, but I am not sure that I really got anything out of it beyond some uncomfortable entertainment. I think I will try to see if I can find some of Butler's other work and give it a try because everyone seems to find her earlier work to be much better.
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June 17, 2014
Check out some of the items that will be discounted during our
Pre-4th of July Sale-A-Thon!
Participating shops and their links here
In my shop you can use the code to get 20% off of any purchase $10 or more!
This sale will last until July 2nd (or July 5th in my case) so grab your oven mitts and snap up one of our *sizzling* deals.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Anyway, having exhausted every official resource, I have turned to fan art and fanfiction with an increasing intensity. I have been amazed at the amount of talent lurking out there, and admittedly also at the very weird and terrible things that some feel they need to inflict on the public. Just as it is incredibly exciting to find a writer who beautifully captures my favourite characters and invents fascinating scenarios for them, it feels something like a sacrilege to come across those horribly-spelled, half-punctuated tales that involve the author travelling back in time and becoming Sebastian's wife. And don't get me started about most of the "poems!"
Overall, the experience has been very positive. I have come to understand characters in new ways that give me insight into actual humanity. The depictions of Grell Sutcliff (my favourite), have been especially helpful in that respect. I feel as though I am starting to connect to some of the writers through the reviews and messages, though I am very shy at the thought of much interaction with people who are so gifted! They are my new celebrities, since I don't really have many "real celebrities" to lionize.
I have even been inspired to start writing my own fanfiction with my own original character--oh yes, there will be more about her later. I promise she will NOT be me, though she will share my favourite colour. And she will not be a Mary Sue, or Sebastian's future wife. I promise.
The problem with all of this is probably obvious to anyone already hooked on fanfiction. But in case you are not, let me spell it out. I had started a challenge to read 125 books this year on Goodreads and was pretty much on schedule. Until now. Now I am about 12 books behind. I am reading, but obviously, fanfiction doesn't count, no matter how well-written it is. I am in the middle of something like 7 books and almost never finish one. One reason is that I keep losing books before I can finish reading them (I am starting to think I will never be an organized person). The other is fanfiction.
The other problem is that most of these stories are published in installments. So the reader goes and gets all interested in the story and then it stops until the author has time to post more. Sometimes that never happens. Being left hanging drives me crazy! I know these writers are very busy and have many other things to do, so I'm not blaming them. I'm just expressing frustration.
If you are interested in venturing into the world of fanfiction, let me just issue one warning: make sure you understand the terminology before picking a story. For example, you will need to know what the word "yaoi" means! And "lemon." And if it says "non-con" that means rape. Knowing the terms can help you to avoid specific things that you don't want to read about or find stories that are about your favourite concepts. Expect some really awful stuff, but be prepared to be impressed as well. For me the journey has been worth it.
Do you read fanfiction? If so, do you have a favourite author you would like to share? Post your experience in the comments!