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)
No Pink Ponies
This is a diary form of a tale, told in first person by Morwenna, who survived a car accident that cost her her twin sister. But the accident is no ordinary accident; magic is involved--and witches, and...Morwenna's mother, who is apparently trying black magic to become the Dark Queen and be empress of the world--or so we are led to believe. We follow Morwenna as she's reunited with her absent father, goes to a posh but dull boarding school mandated by her three rich (witch?) aunts and she matures as a teen, gets a boyfriend, and battles magic. All through the book there is a running thread of the books Morwenna reads and loves, most of them science fiction. It's fun to hear her (abbreviated) opinion of the classics of sci fi but ultimately, there is less here in this novel than meets the eye and and the ultimate showdown is a bit of a let-down. The rest of the novel maunders on in diary form--interesting enough but not really gripping. Katy Kellgren's Welsh accent gets a bit on my nerves after the first section, but it's well-done and she's a good narrator, though she sounds a bit mature for the role of teenager. I've read worse, but didn't think it deserved a Nebula in the least.
Katherine Kellgren, the reader of this audiobook, was so delightful to listen to. Her voices, her pace, her animation was absolutely delightful and drew me in, really coloring the story for me.
There is no comparison. A book full of magic and, well, other books!
She read it perfectly. Her tone, her different accents - she was very good at switching between characters during their dialogue. Absolutely magnificent job.
Of course, but my life/job makes that impossible unfortunately.
The best audio book I've ever listened to. I give as much praise to the writer as to the reader on this one. A brilliant story line that was brought even more to life by the narration. Bravo!
Easily in the top 2. Just a wonderful work and performance. I'm a huge Charles de Lint fan and there are strong similarities.
Morwenna's first time at the book club, really resonated with me. I would have loved to have that experience as a kid.
Just flawless. The performance elevated an amazing book to new levels. Often I hear a character's voice in my head but Kellgren's performance was so much better than I could have possibly imagined.
So much of Morwenna's childhood feelings if isolation and otherness mimicked my own growing up in the same era. Certainly, there could have been pandering to a like-minded audience but this never felt like anything other than authentic.
Nothing. This was not a book for me. I didn't like the narrator. She made the character sound stuck up and bored. The story had so much philosophy that I could barely stand it! Just too long and weird for me.
Yes, she sounded stuck up and bored. It really controlled the tone of the story.
Maybe this book is better for reading than hearing. I need to give a try to a printed copy to decide whether I would by a book buy them since hearing it was such a bad experience.
Katherine Kellgren was so hard to understand that I doubt I'll buy another performance by her.
Someone looking for titles of old scifi books they would like to check out.
write a different book.
her accent got very annoying after awhile (that sing songy welsh is just so annoying)
BORING with a CAPITAL B. I got through about 6 chapters and literally nothing happened but the character read a bunch of books and stated she liked them a lot in various verbaige. BORING.
Katherine Kellgren gives us a wonderful performance of a book that is a love song for bibliophiles. In the course of the story Jo Walton references some 150 SF and Fantasy books. Each reference gave me a little thrill of recognition or made me want to go out and read that book. The main character of the story, Morwenna, is a strong, sympathetic, and compelling personality who made me want to keep reading even though the plot is somewhat sparse. Another strength of the book is the magic system which is unique and self-consistent. This was a magnificent use of a credit!
Among Others is a book made alive by audio- reading the book could never bring alive the various accents.
The book won both the Hugo and Nebula, though it is much different in style than previous winners. The ambiguity of the book title reflects the central question(s) for the teenaged protagonist: are the Others that she should live among other human beings or fairies? Do you live among or with others? How do you live among either or both set of others without going insane or even dying? And the real question that she cannot know she is exploring is: how to do this at that very tricky time of life of being a teenager when just living with yourself is pretty tough?
The one weakness to me of the book is that in the middle it becomes more of laundry list of science books that the protagonist is reading at the time at school. While it was a delight to see that Jo Walton liked the books I did and to make a mental list of what I should add to my reading list, at some point I was wondering if we've ever get to back to the intriguing plot line started in the opening.
Power through- Walton does get back that to it in a compelling and emotionally satisfying way.
Great read and share with your teenagers.
That the main character would be more emotional.
That the references to the books she reads would be more apparent in how she thought and was effected by them before the end.
I would have had a point or more where emotions bubbled up regarding what had happened, where she relives it completely in memory, and have this be a turning point where she begins to melt into herself. I realize that this was there subtly, and it did happen, it was sweet and not as informative as this hungry-for-what-happened-ears would have liked and there was quite a bit of foreshadowing and untold story plot so that it could be unraveled as the main character unraveled. At the end, there is a great scene where she beats her antagonist, and this is the most interactive moment with the plot that the story surrounds itself with, I would have liked more of it, as otherwise, the day in and out of the subtly progressing into womanhood teen was a bit on the not so eventful side. It was a peek into her daily mind.
I also think it is a sweet book, I appreciate what the character had gone through and her perspective of how she saw and her strength at being herself and doing what she needs to do with her life. I think this is great for any young to old woman finding herself. It is a book that shall remain in my memory in the subtlety more than largely eventful. I teared at her receiving the love and acceptance from her new support network who appreciated what she is about. It is what women need (such as me, thus the tears).
It ranks as one of the best books I've listened to all year due to the spectacular narration of Katherine Kellgren. The story is also worthy of all the awards it has won, as it kept me riveted with its fascinating world and characters.
I loved the strong female lead and the world she lives in, with its magic working in the daily life of a teen girl living in 1979.
I felt this was truly a performance. I felt carried away to another world with her Welsh accent and her stunning portrayal of Mori the title character, an avid reader of science fiction..
Sometimes, the story dragged on a bit when Mori spends so much time discussing the books she's reading. I wanted the story to move faster.
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