Becca's Reviews > Among Others

Among Others by Jo Walton
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Jul 01, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: speculative-fiction, books-on-books, ya, fantasy, urban-fantasy
Recommended to Becca by: Jon & Beka
Read in November, 2014

The best part of the book was so nostalgic -- the idea of combing bookstores and finding The Book! The Amazing Fantasy or SciFi book that you've never heard of before, but it's by your favorite author and it is just so perfect! Finding The Book in bookstores and on my friends' book cases was a huge part of my adolescent years. It makes me kind of want to earmark the authors that Walton name checks that I've never read: (Zelazny, Delany, Tiptree embarrassingly enough) and never Amazon or Google them and only hunt down their books in used bookstores to recreate the feeling. But I know that truly that feeling is a little eradicated, because even if I play by the rules, I know that they're arbitrary and in real life I can get whatever book I want whenever I want, which is great, except that it ruins the mystique.

I also liked that "is it real or isn't it?" feel of the book. Reading as a teenager, I never would have questioned that the subtle magic in the book was indeed the highest reality. But I love Walton's depiction of that subtle magic, which as an adult, you can't help but second guess: "maybe Mor is just subconsciously coming up with a narrative to explain why bad thing X happened." I love that the book works on both levels and that it forces you to consider both -- it's such a great way to depict magic.

So what didn't I like? Well, I think my expectations were set too high by Jon and Beka, who both said this book was the most amazing thing in the history of books. Also, while reading the book I had an overwhelming, terribly distracting sense of how much I would have loved this book if I had read it back when I was 18. My 18 year old self would have promptly declared it her favorite book in the history of books, too, but since I'm no longer her, I felt almost guilty reading it.

Ultimately, I just felt like I didn't "get it." So, there's this girl, and some bad magic happened in her past, and now she goes to a boarding school, where she's a little social isolated, but then she joins a book club and along the way she buys a lot of books and sees a lot of faeries, and that's all well and good, but when is the plot going to begin? Oh, the book is over, so I guess there just isn't a plot? And I can handle a lack of a plot if the character growth and development is well done, but after awhile I got bored of reading about Mor read and go to bookstores, and I would rather be reading and going to bookstores myself.
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12/04/2014 marked as: read

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