“I found that I almost envied his pain. He hurt because he remembered.” page 74
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler.
Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2005, my edition 2007.
Modern vampire fantasy, 310 pages.
Lexile: 730L .
AR Level: Not leveled.
NOTE: This book is recommended for adults only.
Shori wakes up in the woods with a ravenous hunger and a taste for blood. She doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or even what she is, but after she bites Wright, he’s willing to help her find out. The only clues they have to start with are a burnt property and Shori’s own instincts and half-remembering.
I came across this novel because Butler was recommended to me as a major speculative fiction author of color. Science fiction and fantasy are two of my favorites, although I’ll read any genre but horror. It was continually bothering me that I hadn’t read any speculative fiction by PoCs, so I wanted to try one of her books.
“Everybody laughs. Especially the ones who don’t do it out loud; they do it the loudest.” p. 186
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane.
Magic Carpet Books, Harcourt, my edition 2003, first published in 2002.
Middle grade fantasy, 320 pages + excerpt.
AR Level: 5.8 (worth 13.0 points)
NOTE: This is the 6th book in the Young Wizards series.
“Becoming a wizard isn’t easy. In fact, it can kill you.
All first-time wizards must go through an initiation in magic called an Ordeal. Most last only a few days. So why has Darryl McAllister been on Ordeal for three months?
Or has he? Darryl hadn’t actually gone anywhere. His body is still here; it’s his mind that seems to have departed. And that’s where Kit and Nita come in. Only together can they unravel the mysteries around Darryl – who he is, what he is, and why the source of all death in the universe, the Lone Power, is desperately trying to destroy him.” -back cover blurb
Even that is a little spoilery, but better than the synopsis you will find on most popular websites (including the two linked above), which give major spoilers. Unfortunately, this review will also be somewhat spoilery since this is the sixth book in a series. Discussing this book will give away some plot elements from the first five books.
I last read these these books many years ago and had forgotten that one of the two main characters is Latino. The other might be Latina (her given name is Juanita, her father is Irish-American but I don’t think her mother’s background is specified). When younger, I only cared about female characters. Although the two have very equal parts, I inaccurately recalled Kit Rodriguez as a sidekick to Nita Callahan and her younger sister Dairine.
Most of this review will be have spoilers for either the book or the series, but be sure to scroll down to the non-spoiler end…