This is a variation on the vampire story that comes at the genre with a few different ideas about the creatures, and they are definitely different. The "vampires" are called Ina, and are a species to themselves. These people were never human, they are born; they can't "turn" humans into one of them. The Ina also have a very different relationship with humans: they have a symbiotic bond. The Ina takes care of, loves, and needs the human for blood, and the humans need their Ina. Once the Ina and their human become fully bonded, its like the human is addicted to the Ina, and they actually will go through a sort of withdrawal if they haven't been bitten in a while.
This book deals with so much, just like most of Butler's books: religion, bigotry, sex, race, rules, and more. Fledgling concerns the life of a young Ina female called Shori, who is the result of the genetic experimentation of her mothers to create Ina that can walk in the daylight and stay awake during the day. It turns out that more melanin helps, so Shori's skin is dark. There are other's, other Ina families, that hate what they think of as the corruption of the Ina purity, and they take it into their own hands (actually the hands of humans that they use as daytime weapons) to destroy Shori and her family. They succeed in killing her family and all of their symbionts, but they fail to actually kill Shori, who is their main target. Ironically, Shori survives the attack because of the genetic manipulation that lets her stay awake and be out in the sunlight. But she was seriously injured in the attack, so much so that she lost all of her memories of her life before the attack. She meets and takes her first symbiont, Wright, and slowly, very slowly, remembers vague things about who and what she is, then tries to find and punish those who killed her entire family.
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