Bibliotropic's Reviews > Among Others

Among Others by Jo Walton
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's review
Mar 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: review-copies
Read from May 02 to 05, 2017 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** (Reread in 2016 because I read this this at least once a year!)

There are few books that I can close and say with certainty that they have an assured place on my bookshelf for the foreseeable future. This was absolutely one of those books.

Among Others is the fantasy tale for realists, a story for storytellers, and a companion for those who were bibliophiles and loners through their childhoods. This is a book that not only makes you wish that it didn't end so that you could keep on reading, but also makes you want to pick up every single other book mentioned within its pages so that you can read them all, too.

And believe me, there are a lot of them!

I loved how magic worked in this book. Not in big loud flashy ways but in all the subtle ways that make the world work, the ways that reach out and back and connect everything to everything else, and where the real trick is in believe it and knowing it for what it is.

That interconnectivity is what made this book truly amazing. We come in not at the beginning or end of a story, but somewhere in the middle, because the story is life. At times, it felt like a wonderful homage to all those who ever put down a story and wanted to know more about what happened later, because the bulk of the action, the powerful event that shaped lives, happened before Mori starts telling her tale in the first place. But there was still the connection to it. As was there also the connection of the end, the fall of Liz and the events surrounding it, to the very beginning when Mori dropped that first flower in the water and set magic in motion. It was gratifying to see that.

Also interesting was the way the story was told as though reading Mori's diary. Which meant that in addition to the big events that you expect in fantasy, like magic and fairies and all the supernatural elements, you also get a focus on school and growing up and personal likes and dislikes. These things are just as important to the main character as they would be to anyone who can do magic and yet who still is forced to live in the real world, with all its mundane troubles and trials. A good balance was struck.

Ultimately, I think that anyone who passes over this book is going to sorely miss out, because what Walton does here is profound, powerful, and deeply affecting. More than just creating a good story, more than just making a character who can be related to, more than striking that balance between the mundane and the supernatural (or rather, the natural, if you want to look at it that way), all of these things combined to make something that I think is greater than the sum of its parts. This is truly a novel not to be missed.

(Upon rereading, I can safely say that this book is as good as, if not better, the second time around.)
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Quotes Bibliotropic Liked

Jo Walton
“It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“If you love books enough, books will love you back.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Bibliotropic," Hugh said. "Like sunflowers are heliotropic, they naturally turn towards the sun. We naturally turn towards the bookshop.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“It's amazing how large the things are that it's possible to overlook.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Reading Progress

05/17 page 39
01/20 marked as: currently-reading
15.0% "My go-to book for when I'm in pain and need comfort reading, it seems."
01/21 marked as: read
02/18 marked as: currently-reading
02/18 "Time for my yearly reread of this amazing novel. :3"
02/20 marked as: read
05/02 marked as: currently-reading
05/05 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kaylee I got this one for Christmas, should really move it up nearer the top of my TBR!

Bibliotropic Yes! Do that! I reread this book every year, and I love it so very much.

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