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Among Others (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel) Paperback – January 3, 2012
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“A wonder and a joy. ” ―The New York Times
“Compelling... Never deigning to transcend the genre to which it is clearly a love letter, this outstanding (and entirely teen-appropriate) tale draws its strength from a solid foundation of sense-of-wonder and what-if.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Beautifully crafted... Among Others calls to those who desire a wild, magical world in place of the one they have but eventually learn that their own lives are the greatest story of all.” ―Bloomsbury Review
“There are the books you want to give all your friends, and there are the books you wish you could go back and give your younger self. And then there's the rare book, like Jo W alton's Among Others, that's both.” ―io9.com
“An utterly amazing and beautiful book.” ―RT Book Reviews, Top Pick
About the Author
JO WALTON's novel Tooth and Claw won the World Fantasy Award. The novels of her Small Change sequence―Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half a Crown―have won acclaim ranging from national newspapers to the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. A native of Wales, Walton lives in Montreal.
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I wish that instead of giving a "shout out" to every science fiction book and author she'd ever read, that Jo Walton had concentrated on the story of the main character, her early childhood, her interaction with the fairies, her confrontation with the forces of evil, her dealing with the loss of her twin. I wanted to know more about the story of her life, not every book she ever read. Instead of being a part of the story, the bibliography took over and became the story.
Every time it would start to get interesting again, she'd go right back into listing book after book after book. I realize this was the way the main character dealt with her losses and the way she connected to her new "karass," but it just got tedious after awhile. If one were to snip out all the mentions of books and authors and include just the plot elements, this might have made an almost interesting short story, perhaps a novella. If one were to replace all the mentions of books and authors with details about her early life and her battles against the forces of evil, it would have made it the awesome book I was expecting.
I was so disappointed! She could have let us know the importance of books to her story without turning the whole book into a bibliography. In fact, I wish there had been an actual bibliography at the end listing all the books the main character liked.
In the end, I still enjoyed the book I read, but I longed for the book I thought I was going to read.
"I care about so few people really. Sometimes it feels as if its only books that make life worth living, like on Halloween when I wanted to be alive because I hadn't finished Babel 17. I'm sure that isn't normal. I care more about people in books more than the people I see every day."
This is how I feel all the time. It's hard for me to relate to non-readers, even harder to relate to people who have no imagination. When I open a book, creep inside its pages, characters can come to life. So when I read this story, this girl who sees fairies and reads SF, who sees her librarian more than her friends...Well, I can't help but wonder if Jo Walton secretly wrote a fantastical spin off of my life.
This is a story told by Morwenna (Mori) in diary formatting (a format I normally dislike, but the book is just that good) and she manages to drop titles and authors each and every entry, along with moving the plot onwards. The plot meanders, I won't lie. It takes awhile to figure out exactly what the main point is. But Mori is one half of a pair of twins; her sister Morganna dies and Mori winds up living with her estranged father, who then sends her to a boarding school. There are things left unexplained... Her parents separation, her mother's madness, are her aunts witches? And I admit to being a bit confused by the showdown between Mori and her mom; as cool as it was to see all that magic thrown around, there wasn't a lot about Mori's mom in the story. All that was ever said was that the mom was a crazy, evil witch... And seeing how important her mother being a crazy, evil witch, is to where Mori ends up, you'd think there'd be more about her.
But I like the idea of magic as a chain reaction, the idea the objects we love or hate can contain power for having sentimental value. And the fairies. Some are good and some are wicked although they aren't actively either. The ones who smile, help and the creepy ones, sneer... I think the point of the story isn't so much coming of age or defeating evil, but more that there's a point to being alive... You need a reason to live, a reason not to be a martyr for a cause, and it has to be your own. Life isn't a popularity contest, it's enough to love books and your crazy family... and the cutie-pie at your book club. But that's just my interpretation.