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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
  • Steph
  • United States
  • 01-31-13

Enjoyable

I love fantasy and science fiction and loved the references to various authors and books. I enjoyed the main character and the story but it felt unfinished to me. I wanted more clarity at the end. I liked the world that Jo Walton created and that you were unsure whether the faerie world was real or something created by our main characters mental instability. I wanted more of the faerie world and I felt the ending was quick and unsatifying. It could have been carried into another book. As it was it felt unfinished.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mickey
  • Highland Park, NJ
  • 01-14-13

Enjoyable Listen

I wasn't sure at first that I would like Among Others. I began not being able to relate to the main character. However, as the narrative unfolded, I found myself really liking and relating to her. I especially like all the Science Fiction references. It was too bad that, unlike having a book, I couldn't write all of them down. I did most of my listening in the car.

I also really thought that the narrator was fantastic. Her accents were great and he narrative extremely engaging.

Highly recommended.

Mickey

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A Paen to a SciFi Childhood, Hugo, Nebula Winner

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 11-03-12

A wonderful story pays homage to SF classics!

Among Others has a protagonist, Morwenna, who is very easy to connect with, especially given the diary-style of the narrative. She is a kind and courageous young girl/teen who shows both vulnerability and strength dealing with many real-life and otherworldly troubles.

What is very curious about this story is the simplicity of the plot. That's not to say that the story is childish or weak, it is not. There is great character development and an intriguing, gradual introduction to the backstory and slightly paranormal world Mori lives in, that makes you want to listen constantly and feel a real connection to the main character. But there are few surprises or complications to the story - the plot runs simply and straightforward, (with many key events having already happened) although it's not obvious which way it will run from the beginning.

I suppose this shows that the gradual reveal of backstory and the backdrop obsession of sci-fi/fantasy novels that the main characters have far outweigh the simple yet satisfying climax, which is character appropriate.

Two more details: The only criticism might be that while the character's journey feels complete, the story feels as though it could have gone in several directions and had a bit more going on at the end - although I suppose turning it into an action story at the end would have not really been in the spirit of the rest of the story.

The homage to classic sci-fi/fantasy is a lot of fun for anyone who is passionate about books, whether a fan of classic sci-fi or not. It allows the character to express her opinions, values, and passion for great writing while giving the author a vehicle for paying homage to classic authors and stories that probably shaped the lives of many young readers.

A unique and thoroughly enjoyable story that I would recommend for any fan of sci-fi or fantasy!

(One last comment: the narration is fantastic! The main character and narrator equally had me eager to get back into my car so I could listen more.)

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Slow, tedious and no plot.

Would you try another book from Jo Walton and/or Katherine Kellgren?

No.

What was most disappointing about Jo Walton’s story?

Lack of a plot. Constant discussion of SF authors a pointless addition to story.

Which character – as performed by Katherine Kellgren – was your favorite?

Kellegren did a good job with weak material.

What character would you cut from Among Others?

None.

Any additional comments?

Hard to believe that this won a Hugo.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Maryanne
  • DEXTER, OR, United States
  • 10-18-12

Starts in the middle and ends in the middle

This book sort of caught my interest because of the accents and colloquialisms but that is about it.

It starts with little or no explanation how the girl got there accept a few vague crazy mother observations by only the girl and ends with a crazy mother and the mother does what????

Seems like reading a paragraph out of a long book without the context and expecting folks to enjoy it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed it, but I'm not entirely sure why.

I originally got this book because I wanted to hear Katherine Kellgren read me another story. She's the absolute best audiobook reader I've ever listened to. The book reads like a diary, and the magic and Sci-Fi I was promised by the summary was very lacking. The Sci-Fi only really shows up as the main character drops constant shout-outs to her favorite SF authors, and the magic isn't as prominent as I expected. That said, I had trouble putting it down until I finished it. Despite the story not really being exciting, it was well written and never lost my attention. Katherine Kellgren knocked it out of the park again with her performance, as well. I can't point to any specific reason that I liked this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who has read a lot of science fiction or anyone who just wants to hear one of the best in the business read a really good story.

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  • Candice
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 10-09-12

Reality meets fantasy

Any additional comments?

I was torn with this one just because i found the story rather depressing. It was really sad and didn't have enough 'up' moments for my personal taste. In saying that the story is very well written and the narration is fantastic. I loved the depth of the characters and the narraters accent choices for each one were perfect.

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  • Scott
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 10-08-12

What's the fuss?

Would you try another book from Jo Walton and/or Katherine Kellgren?

An interesting premise, but I was underwhelmed by the arc of the story. It was a long lead-up to a tepid climax.<br/><br/>Also, the narrator's accent was so thick as to be distracting.

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  • Kris
  • Australia
  • 09-28-12

What a performance!

I've heard Katharine Kellgren with an English accent in Pride & Prejudice and Zombies, but her Welsh accent was just as brilliant, maybe better! (At least to this untrained Australian ear.)

The story by Jo Walton is also lovely, the inner monologue, or conversation, that Mor has with her diary is honest and amusing. Read in Kellgren's Welsh accent just listening to this book made me smile, a lot.

The main character Mor is a teen learning about life. Between her passion for science fiction novels, her disinterest in the vain girly things of her classmates and her interaction with the fantastic and magic things of the world this book is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful