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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2012
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2011

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Diary of nerdy girl is charming trip down sci-fi m

What did you love best about Among Others?

I was completely charmed by this novel of a young girl growing up "nerdy" in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The teenaged protagonist, much like myself, loves to read and loves science fiction books most of all. She describes her life in diary form in a brisk, no-nonsense style that is never treacly yet always very teenager-y. Every entry contains tidbits about her life along with short descriptions of her reactions to the latest science fiction book she has been reading. To hear her talk about discovering Roger Zelazny, Ursula LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, Poul Anderson and dozens of others was for me to relive my first discovery of them, too. It was magical. I sympathized when she described reading some of Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" novels out of order, because I did the same thing. When she waxes poetic about Lord of the Rings and equates her situation to the scouring of the Shire, I knew exactly what she meant. When she matter-of-factly tells her diary that getting her first period didn't stop her from seeing faeries "despite what C.S. Lewis thought about puberty" I laughed out loud.

Any additional comments?

I worried others from other generations (or even other genders) might not enjoy the book as much as I had, but in my science fiction book club, people who were a generation older than me loved it as did the generation younger than me, men and women alike. We did generally agree that we thought Embassytown was better in terms of the complexity of the ideas contained in the book, but we could understand why "Among Others" beat it out for the Hugo. <br/><br/>I would highly recommend readers do an internet search using "among others books mentioned" and you will find great lists -- no need to write them all down yourself. And you will have a list of scifi to read for years to come.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sires
  • Chesapeake, OH, United States
  • 11-05-12

A Love Poem to Books

I rated the performance higher than the story because I thought that the narrator brought a special depth to this story. While the action of the book covers a relatively short period of time, from September 5, 1979 to February 29, 1980 the narrator does this interesting thing with the first person point of view character's accent. It moves from an educated Welsh accent to boarding school English as she spends time at the expensive English boarding school that her English aunts send her to, then slips back a little more toward the Welsh when she is again with her mother's family, but not as strongly marked.

Probably a pretty obvious progression, but it kind of crept up on me as I listened this book and some narrators/producers might not have bothered. I've tried a couple of Audible books recently that I did not buy because I sampled them and thought the narrator was sub par.

This is probably a love it or hate it book. I found it easy to identify with the main character who used books as a comfort and guide. I can see where others might find the references, not just to science fiction and fantasy stories, but to historical fiction, Victorian children's fiction, and Plato to be tiresome, but for me they enriched the narrative.

I don't know if this is book I could recommend unless I knew you very well, but I liked the audible version very much for some reasons that had nothing to do with just enjoying the story.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Tex
  • Alvin, TX, United States
  • 06-16-12

A wonderful book

Where does Among Others rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book had the right combination of an excellent story and an excellent reader. I would put it as one of my top favorite audiobooks. It has the rare quality of being a book which I would listen to repeatedly.

Any additional comments?

The book, coupled with the narritor's accent, were enchanting. It was easy to get caught up in the world of the story.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Rogue River, OR, United States
  • 05-30-12

Very offbeat, but interesting if only . .

What did you love best about Among Others?

I love the quirky main character

What didn’t you like about Katherine Kellgren’s performance?

Almost everything!!! The main character was Welsh and I've heard Welsh people speaking English but NEVER with an accent like that. It was so bad I had a hard time listening to it.<br/>Her other accents seemed fine.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Needed a younger narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Maybe in print, but not audio.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The itself was good and the ending worked everything out.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Katherine Kellgren?

Someone with a younger sounding voice. The girl in the story was 15 and since she was telling the whole story, it needed a much younger sounding narrator.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good story, but narrator off on this one

I very much enjoyed READING the story, and I normally really like Katherine Kellgren. However, her Welsh accent in this one drove me crazy ~ too "sing-song" for my preferences.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Books can save your life!

This is a book about books, about magic, and about the magic of reading itself. Books are the brightest part of life for the young heroine, and are also her doorway to connecting with other people. The narrator is the incomparable Katherine Kellgren, who gets a whole new accent to voice, Welsh, which she does terrifically. I so wanted to meet this young lady and share her enthusiasm for the joy of reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too many book references, not enough plot!!

What did you like best about Among Others? What did you like least?

The story in general is original, and the novel has some excellent parts. However, the constant literary references consume more time and authorial energy than the plot itself, and it gets annoying fast. If I have to hear the term "SF" again I may scream, and this from an admitted bibliophile who adores Science Fiction. I mean, it's nice to hear titles and authors I love mentioned, but, really, who wants to hear what the protagonist is reading ad nasueam? Seriously, it's continuous. I appreciate the connections the character is making between the novels and her own life, and recognize the role this plays in advancing the story, but enough is enough. Also, the narrator's inflections become irritating after a bit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill
  • Brandon, FL, United States
  • 11-05-13

Tediously dull

What disappointed you about Among Others?

I wasn't expecting a teenage diary with daily entries from October to March.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Walton again?

Maybe.

Did Katherine Kellgren do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Wonderful accent, but a bit wearing after a couple of hours.

What character would you cut from Among Others?

All were needed. I just didn't end up really caring about any of them.

Any additional comments?

Remember to read more than just a few reviewer comments before commiting to a purchase.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Preferred Others

I'm a bit disappointed with this book, being that it won both Hugo & Nebula Awards. I think that's because it's so genre self-referential that it gives the voters goosebumps (much like 'The Artist' in 2012's Oscars).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Ann-Marie
  • 04-20-12

Listen is good but reading may be better

I can't decide what to make of it. I liked the book talk - the SF hints, bits and pieces. I also liked Mori. I did not like the story though. In fact, I don't think it really is a story. It could have been one but never gets to it. When ( at last ) something finally happen, it somehow belongs to another story, not this one.

I really loved the narrator. She is excellent. Her welsh accent is wonderful.

I think maybe I would like to read the book because then I'll have all the titles, quotes and nice literary stuff to go back to.


1 of 2 people found this review helpful