Among Others
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Among Others

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  10,007 ratings  ·  2,357 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...more
Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published January 2012 by Tor (first published 2010)
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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...more
Phoebe
I'll admit that I initially bristled at this, a book seemingly custom-made for me--a once-bookish girl, still bookish woman who likewise spent her adolescence searching for her karass and commenting to her friends about how much she'd like to impress a [blue] dragon. Some of my initial reactions were very defensive, indeed--I wondered if the references Jo Walton used weren't so much apt as trendy. For example, our heroine Mori muses upon Lewis's feelings toward female puberty more than once in t...more
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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
May 18, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Mar 06, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] 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...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...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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
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...more
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...more
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...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...more
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...more
Mosca
Dec 17, 2012 Mosca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Earth Spirits
Recommended to Mosca by: Hugo and Nebula
************

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...more
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...more
Carl
Jan 20, 2011 Carl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Lisa Vegan
May 25, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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
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...more
Veronica Belmont
If you were ever an awkward teenager who loved science fiction and fantasy, you will probably enjoy this book.
Juliet
Just occasionally I'll stumble on a book that ends up on my shelf of special keepers, the ones I know I'll end up reading over and over. Funnily enough, several of those are stories about the power of books and reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows, Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, and now Among Others by Jo Walton.

Among Others is dedicated by the author to libraries and librarians. It's hard to give you much of the story without including spoil...more
Nikki
I've reviewed this before, at great length. Rereading it was interesting, though, both because Jo Walton shares a lot of my thoughts on rereading (see her book What Makes This Book So Great , which is a collection of essays), and because it's not the kind of book that is changed by knowing the ending, because it's not a book with a climactic scene, really. There is one, but ultimately that's not as important as the whole process of the book: Mori learning to live without her sister, learning to...more
Rachel Hartman
Oh ho ho. This book is uncannily, eerily reminiscent of my own feelings and experiences at the same age, not least because I lived in England for a year when I was sixteen. Don't feel bad if you haven't read every book she refers to: I've read maybe a third, and the book still made perfect sense. Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" is an important subtext, and Tolkien, but beyond that you can kind of fake it. It made me realize that I only remember a small portion of what I read at that age, and it made m...more
Rob
Executive Summary: An interesting book, though one that just didn't resonate with me as much as it might with others.

Full Review
I think I first heard about this book when it won the Hugo last year. Probably from Sword & Laser, which selected it for the June 2013 pick.

There are several things in this book I greatly identify with. There is one scene when the main character meets other people who share her interest in sci-fi and fantasy books and feels both self-conscious about that she is tal...more
Jonathan Peto
Some readers have found this novel's flaws to be off-putting enough to rate a lower score. I agree about a few of those flaws: the extraordinarily large number of references to other books was tiring at times; some story events unfolded in a way, or didn't, that seemed strange; and some things may have been given too much emphasis because they later seemed to have no importance.

But maybe it is okay if a story has some loose ends. What's the big deal? Especially if other things recommend it, such...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
La Stamberga dei ...: Among Others di Jo Walton 1 5 Oct 25, 2013 09:38AM  
The Sword and Laser: The books! All those books! 16 313 Oct 07, 2013 08:06PM  
Identity and names 7 108 Aug 22, 2013 12:47PM  
Gwinnett County P...: Living in a Fantasy World 1 6 Aug 05, 2013 04:39PM  
The Sword and Laser: Mor or Mor? Did anybody else catch this? (Spoiler) 21 314 Jul 07, 2013 04:16PM  
The Sword and Laser: Misleading description? 31 379 Jul 03, 2013 08:43AM  
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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...
Farthing (Small Change, #1) Tooth and Claw Ha'penny (Small Change, #2) Half a Crown (Small Change, #3) My Real Children

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“It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.” 182 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.” 144 likes
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