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 refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science-fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled - and her twin sister dead.
Fleeing to her father, whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England - a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off.
Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
©2010 Jo Walton (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“Walton succeeds admirably. Her novel is a wonder and a joy.” (The New York Times)
"Katherine Kellgren’s Welsh accent, with its lyrical cadences, suggests that audio may be the most authentic way to experience this 2011 winner of the Nebula Award." (Audiofile)
I could not recommend the story or the narrator. The story is essentially a teenage girl reading her diary as she writes it. Despite the fact that it is a teenage girl the narrator manages to make her sound like an old woman. The story is about as interesting as an real teenage girl's diary. None of the characters are engaging and really nothing happens. You get a lot of reviews of older science fiction works since the main character has a penchant for SF, and sad to say that is actually the most interesting part of the book. Save your credit and go elsewhere.
Actually having a story would have been interesting.
The narratorstries so hard to have a Welsh accent that she ends up sounding like the old witch the main character claims her mother is.
The plot and characterization of the book were all right--I'd put it between three and four stars, if I could. I also might have rated the novel higher if I had read it, rather than listened to it--hard to say. The reader, however, wrecked whatever I might have enjoyed. The side characters she portrays quite well. Her performance of the main character starts off not great, but fair, in my opinion. But the farther along I listened, the more grating and finally almost intolerable, it was. The Welsh accent is strong, but sounds put on. As the book progresses, the accent starts to sound more and more like the arrogant, condescending, 'evil' high-caste English aunts. I think this was meant to show how the character was changing in her new environment, but the last two-thirds of the novel sounded to me like false Welsh/condescending English, which was mind-drilling. I was glad I fell asleep for the last bit of the book (listening in bed), but woke up enough to hear the final scene--I got to hear the end of the story without having to listen to that voice.
I really enjoyed the Small Changes trilogy (Farthing, Ha*Penny and Half Crown), so I would probably try another one.
No, and it hasn't turned me off from this author - I would give Jo Walton another try.
Singsong, but a nice rendition of a Welsh accent.
The author does have an occasional nice turn of phrase. Descriptions are very well done.
This book was so dull that I only continued to listen because I can't believe anything this boring ever got published! Do take the time to enjoy Farthing, but don't waste your time/money on this dull as dishwater recounting of science fiction reviews!
Blossoming, fannish, and different
Love the accent. Really brought me me over to Wales with the voice.
It's not a usual coming of age story. The characters are all flawed, some with deep scars inside. Made it more real, more believable characters. Really enjoyed the book. Also enjoyed her discovering the fannish world and her love of books.
Written in the style of a diary or memoir, a fictional coming of age story of a teenage girl going to English boarding school in late seventies. It has the most realistic approach to how magic could exist in the real world, but there is very little magic actually done.
If you grew up as the outsider and used sci-fi, fantasy or reading as a form of escapism you'll connect with this main character. At least half the book is of her views and opinions of classic sci-fi & fantasy stories.
For some reason I found this an addictive read.
(No spoiler here.) The final scenes which reveal (I think) what the story was really all about.
Excellent. I am not sure about her Welsh accent, but she has me convinced. First rate, and a difficult role.
The book is more of a coming of age story than anything else. There is no SF in it at all, and even the fantasy is thin - this is not a negative criticism.
Totally addicted! It's possible I might need Audible rehab.
It's rare that I don't get through a book. I can't give an honest review of the story because of the narration. I appreciate a good thick accent but this was missing changes of inflection or something. It was just difficult for me to listen to long enough to really invest in the story.
Life catalyst & alternative relationship facilitator
Jo Walton's Among Others is a wonderful story full of references to a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy books. It helps to have read many of the books, since the main character often quotes from them or refers to characters or situations from these books as part of her "diary entries". Since the protagonist is very nearly my own age, and has read many of the books that I enjoyed in that same time period, I found this aspect charming and fun, allowing me even more connection to the character and her world. She is more widely read than I am, so some of the references go over my head, and thus I can see that if you haven't read many of the books, it might be a bit hard to follow. For me, though, it just increased my desire to fill in some of the gaps in my own reading list.
I will say that if I could give the performance more than 5 stars, I would. The wonderful Welsh accent of Katherine Kellgren is such a joy to listen to, and truly brings the character alive in a way that I could not have experienced in the usual book format. This is one of those rare cases where the audio format is not just "as good as" or "a good substitute for" the regular book format, but instead adds so much to the experience that I'd recommend listening to it even if you'd already read the book itself before, just for the joy of the sound.
it wasn't bad, I feel it well well written, it just never got my attention. I enjoy sci-fi as well as fantasy and this had both but it just wasn't it for me. I wish I could explain better but I just can't quite put my finger on it. technically it had everything that I should have loved, it just didn't feel perhaps, all connected as well as it could have been...? don't skip over it, give it a try see what you think, I think like I said maybe it was me and had nothing to do with the book itself.
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