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Among Others

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  12,605 ratings  ·  2,734 reviews
Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found re
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Hardcover, 302 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Tor Books (first published 2010)
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Jo Walton Life is too short to read books you're not enjoying. Reading is supposed to be a pleasure, not an endurance test. Not every book is for everyone,…moreLife is too short to read books you're not enjoying. Reading is supposed to be a pleasure, not an endurance test. Not every book is for everyone, certainly not every book of mine. Go read something else!(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nikki
I tried to write this review without spoilers, but it depends on what you consider to be spoilers. I think it's a book based more on characters than events, and I don't think knowing some of the events will spoil the whole, but you might want to exercise a bit of caution...

Among Others feels like a book written just for me. The protagonist, Mori, is Welsh, disabled, synaesthetic, listens to folk music, reads SF and fantasy (reads anything and everything)... She says, early in the books, that, "I
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Nataliya
“This is for all the libraries in the world, and the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people.”
I'm not quite sure how to describe this book, what precisely it is - but it has that *something* that is making me read it for the third time in as many years, and each time it finds a new way into my heart.
“There are some awful things in the world, it’s true, but there are also some great books.”
This is a love ode to books and libraries, and the magic of stories, and the un
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Apatt
Now and then I come across a book that is a distillation of what I like in fiction, genre fiction in particular. I previously raved about Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and then some people told me they think it's a load of ol' crap. It puzzled me a bit that some people don't see the greatness of the books I deemed to be great, but then I realize that such things probably puzzle most of us, we are all arbiters of good taste in our own little universe. So given that after reading this book you ...more
Carol.
Mar 06, 2013 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Recommended to Carol. by: the Incomparables
A love letter to science fiction and fantasy, to books and to librarians:

"We never looked anything like anyone in our family, but apart from the eye and hair color I don't see anything. It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books."

A support letter to adolescence, and to girls alienated from their families:
"So then I realised guiltily how my very presence in his car was actually a huge reproach. For one thing, there is only one of me, when he aba
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
May 18, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wales setting, Author lives in Montreal
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Beth Knight
Morwenna grows up in Wales hanging out with faeries. Nothing extraordinary about it, loved the matter of fact telling and how they're precisely as I imagined they’d be. Illusive “They’d moved in with the green things after people had abandoned them” and unfathomable. Some are pretty little things with gossamer wings, others creatures ripped from the pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. “Fairies tend to be either very beautiful or absolutely hideous”

She's 15 with a ton of issues - a mother who’s crac
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Among Others is kind of like a love letter to bibliophiles, especially those who fell in love with books as a youngster, finding solace and comfort between the pages of so many different stories. In some ways, Mor's character tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me of myself as a preteen. I went through some physical problems that made life very difficult for me. In fact, (view spoiler) ...more
Sherwood Smith
When I first finished Jo Walton’s to Among Others, there was this instinctive pang of hurt at being left out because when I met Walton in Tempe for World Fantasy a few years back, she didn’t tell me about the fairies.

A heartbeat later my reasoning brain is sending the “Hello, this is fiction!” memo, but there it was, that delicious (and painful) sense of my having lived in that fictional world, the reading experience was so intense: it's the liminal existence I went to books for ever since I was
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Brooke
I keep going back and forth between 2 and 3 stars. I should have really loved this book, but I found myself more annoyed than charmed. Although it appears we're supposed to take the main character's story at face value and believe that the magic and fairies and her evil mother are real, I found myself writing it all off as her way of coping with a more mundane unstable mother and car accident. I think what pushed me over the edge into disbelief was the scene with the aunts and the earrings. I me ...more
Kevin Xu
There are few problems I had with the book. First, as far as fantasy goes, I'm not really a big fan of the magical realism type of fantasy like this book is, I like to be transported into a new world with great world building. Second, I'm also not a big fan of geek nostalgia like this or Ready Player One. Third, I thought there could have been more to the book than basically about discovering the genre.

The book is about a fifteen year old girl who gets send to boarding school after the death of
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Stephanie
"I care more for people in books than the people I see every day.”

uh....kind of the truth sometimes.

Morwenna Phelps is a fifteen year old who is a veracious reader, especially for anything Science Fiction, or 'SF' as she calls it. I was tempted to write down every book mentioned as this book moved along, but seriously that would have been more work than I really had the energy to do.

I'm not sure how to review this book without putting out a spoiler or two. I'm going to try to avoid it, but....

Am
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Rabindranauth
A loving panegyric to truly speculative classic SF, combined with a gutwrenching tale of neglect, loss and fear, and coping with it. Among Others lies well out of my reading comfort zone, but ultimately it is a book I don’t regret reading.

Morwenna Phelps has had enough of her mother. Fleeing home, she’s eventually placed by Social Services with her father, whom she’s never known, and his three spinster sisters, who promptly ship her off to boarding school. But as Mor deals with being ostracised
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RandomAnthony
I liked the hell out of Among Others in part because the novel makes me feel like I belong. This is my tribe. All that. And I don't feel like I belong often. So yay, Ms. Walton! You deserve all the awards you can stuff in your bulging suitcases. That said, I can't recommend this book if you're not one of the tribe. What tribe? The nerdy science fiction reading tribe. If your membership has lapsed you'll probably still enjoy Among Others, don't worry, but if you've not felt (sadly, proudly, or a ...more
Ryandake
meh.

this books rambles along for a couple hundred pages, and then things happen on the last few. for me, by the time i got to the last few pages, i was pretty much just hoping to finish this book and be done with it so i could go on to the next book (a new collection of Thurber James.

the book is written in the form of an adolescent bibliophile's diary. that form gives it a plus: the narrator's voice, unadulterated. in this case the narrator's voice is very clear, distinctive, with an unusual and
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Wanda
As a soldier in the army against ignorance (a library worker), how could I help but be charmed by this book? It is, in many ways, a testament to the ways that libraries and librarians can make a difference in people’s lives. I was astonished last year when I realized that I had now worked 30 years in the library field, but looking back it should not have been a big surprise. I clearly remember the thrill that I got on the first day that I was allowed into the “big kids’ library” in our small tow ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Is Among Others the story of a girl who can use magic, talk to faeries and has a wicked witch for a mother? Or is it the story of a girl who has a abusive mother, a father who ran away when she was a baby and whose twin died in a tragic car accident only a year before?

When we join Morwenna's diary she is being shuffled off to her estranged father's house after an incident with her mother. She hobbles with a walking stick and can tell that everyone thinks she is a cripple. She has never met her f
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seak
This book got rave reviews when it came out, even won the Nebula Award, which I can see. However, I didn't absolutely love it as seems to be the norm.

What I loved:

I did love a few things. I loved that I really wanted to go back and read all the classics of science fiction and fantasy. Walton writes with such a love of the genre that you can't help but become enamored yourself.

I loved that if you are a fantasy nerd like me and the main protagonist Mori (and it may be safe to assume, Jo Walton),
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Kris
"If you love books enough, books will love you back."

I found this book, written in the form of a diary, to be a lovely, nostalgic read. Mori is an endearing protagonist who is struggling to find a place for herself after a tragic magical battle left her twin sister dead and her estranged from her mother. As Mori struggles to maintain her identity at a snobbish boarding school, she turns to books for comfort. Although I know that some readers found her frequent references to SF and fantasy works
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Jill
To decide whether or not to read this book, answer this question: do you want to read about a 15 year old girl reading science fiction?

In my case, the answer is no. Even if I did adore classic SF from the mid-20th century, I don’t think I would have liked this book. It’s a diary format, covering a year of a young Welsh girl’s life at a drab English boarding school. Mori’s recovering from trauma—her sister is dead and her mom is evil and the reason for these facts has something to do with fairies
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Mosca
Feb 26, 2015 Mosca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Earth Spirits
Recommended to Mosca by: Hugo and Nebula
Shelves: to-be-re-read
************

4 1/2 stars.

Among Others is a jewel.

And Morwenna Markova is one of the most endearing protagonists I’ve had the honor to know. She is the first-person narrator of this story; and the book poses as her diary.

Morwenna is a very prescient adolescent. She sees and communicates with those spirits she calls fairies. And we learn very early that she is a surviving twin whose sister died just less than a year before the book starts in a tragic accident. This accident occurred in obscure cir
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Tracy


What an utterly satisfying book. It's paean to books, to inter library loans. It felt like this book was about me. I read voraciously as a teenager. Mori writes about being able to bear anything if she has books. She is about the same age I am and in 1979 I was reading the books she talks about, the books that help her get through all of the pain she has had to bear in the past year... the loss of her twin sister, her mother's madness, a crippling injury. She runs away from home and ends up liv
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colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
So...

I like the general premise of the book, especially the whole magical realism aspect of it. It's something I've been seeing more and more in books, and it's something I really enjoy.

I like the way magic is described in the book, the (view spoiler) I also liked the discussion of the ethics of magic, and the idea about how (view s
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helen the bookowl
I loved this book to pieces! Simply because it made me feel so good inside while reading it - it hit my heart spot on.
I love that this is what I would call "light" fantasy mixed with magical realism that contains fairies. I also absolutely adored the main character, Mor, and the way she feels excluded from everyone and also has a limp. Mor was amazing in so many ways: Her reading habits were phenomenal and made me want to read a lot as well. She also made me want to visit my local library a lot
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Stefan
Aside from the genuine love for science fiction and fantasy that permeates every ounce of this novel, it also features a loving picture of an isolated, intelligent young woman finding her place in life, and a simple but solid present-day fantasy plot that slowly unfolds to reach a satisfying conclusion. Anyone who enjoyed Graham Joyce’s The Tooth Fairy will probably love Among Others (and vice versa). The novel reads smoothly, is never boring, and is very hard to put down. Also, Jo Walton’s conc ...more
Carl
Jan 20, 2011 Carl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who grew up reading.
By page 30 I was thinking: You know how you meet some people and it's awkward and difficult to find anything interesting to talk about, but you meet other people who are fascinating to talk to and it's like you've known them your whole life and just didn't realize it until now and you know you're going to be friends for life? If books were people, AMONG OTHERS would be that second kind.

It was both numinous and a love letter to Inter Library Loan, a combination I find very appealing, and to do it
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First Second Books
Gina: Awesome, not in the least because she got all of the literary references of my childhood into one book somehow in a way that was not labored. Jo Walton is magical!

Mark: Oh my, can she write. You know how some books it takes 50 pages to get drawn in? This one got me in a paragraph. The mental images, the voice of her narrator, it's just all exquisite and masterful. And it's a SFF geek's dream, loaded with great recommended reading.
Ferdy
Spoilers

I mostly disliked this, the main character was an irritating twit, the plot consisted of a mish-mash of nothing, and then there was the weird WTF ending. I did however like the magical system/elements (up until the end), the book-talk (well, some of it), the setting/descriptions of Wales, and how fast it was to read.

-What's what: Teenager and speshul snowflake, Mori, is reunited with her estranged dad and sent to a boarding school after some unexplained Bad Thing happened to her and her
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Kim

I was keen to read some more of Jo Walton's work after enjoying Farthing and its sequels. With a number of positive reviews from GR friends, this seemed a good place to start. A first person narrative written in diary form, the novel centres on 15 year old Welsh teenager Morwenna, who lives for the science fiction and fantasy novels she adores, who sees fairies and performs magic, whose mother is a witch and who has lost her twin sister in an event which takes place before the novel starts and w
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Ben Babcock
I read this book on a plane over the Atlantic as I travelled to England for job interviews. It even tickled me to see the place where I would be staying (Bury St Edmunds) mentioned in passing. Jo Walton’s familiarity with England, Wales, and presumably girls’ boarding schools all comes through clearly in these diary pages. As Morwenna unspools the story of her recovery after the accident that claimed her twin sister’s life, we learn about her and her struggle to reconcile the real and the fantas ...more
Wealhtheow
One of Amy Poehler's rules for improvisation is "Don't start a scene where two people are talking about jumping out of a plane. Start the scene having already jumped."

Morwenna Phelps has already jumped. Her mother tried to take over the world, but she and her twin sister, Morgana prevented her. And it's only now, in the midst of the aftermath of their magical quest and all that they sacrificed to save the world, that the book begins. Mor has always been an imaginative, independent child; her chi
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Lisa Vegan
May 25, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: survivors & thrivers; bookworms, especially those who appreciate speculative fiction
Recommended to Lisa by: Nikki
This is one of those books that so impressed me I’m struggling to write about it in a coherent manner.

Right away: wonderful WONDERFUL!!! from the author’s note about writing what she/authors know, or not, before the start of the book, to the very engaging narrator. Oh, if I’d had this book to read when I was 12 or 13, it would have been one of those lifesaving books, true even when I was a decade older perhaps.

In my opinion, it’s stunningly marvelous. I appreciated how a lot is left open to inte
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Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.
More about Jo Walton...
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“It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.” 225 likes
“Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.” 182 likes
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