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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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    97
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    71

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    267
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    120
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    45
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    49

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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    304
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    62
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Magical & entertaining

What made the experience of listening to Among Others the most enjoyable?

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.

What other book might you compare Among Others to and why?

There is no comparison. A book full of magic and, well, other books!

What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She read it perfectly. Her tone, her different accents - she was very good at switching between characters during their dialogue. Absolutely magnificent job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Of course, but my life/job makes that impossible unfortunately.

Any additional comments?

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!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Simply a wonderful book

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

Easily in the top 2. Just a wonderful work and performance. I'm a huge Charles de Lint fan and there are strong similarities.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Among Others?

Morwenna's first time at the book club, really resonated with me. I would have loved to have that experience as a kid.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Cherie
  • FRANKLIN, TN, United States
  • 11-18-13

Had high hopes

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

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.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Walton again?

NO

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Yes, she sounded stuck up and bored. It really controlled the tone of the story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Very hard to hear

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

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.

Would you be willing to try another one of Katherine Kellgren’s performances?

Katherine Kellgren was so hard to understand that I doubt I'll buy another performance by her.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

NO PLOT WHATSOEVER...JUST A BAD REFERENCE BOOK

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone looking for titles of old scifi books they would like to check out.

What could Jo Walton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

write a different book.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

her accent got very annoying after awhile (that sing songy welsh is just so annoying)

Any additional comments?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Mike
  • Urbana, IL, United States
  • 12-12-12

Love Song for Bibliophiles

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!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Expecting climactical turning point

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

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.

Any additional comments?

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).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Doris
  • Monrovia, CA, United States
  • 10-08-12

Amazing Narration

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

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

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..

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • New York, United States
  • 09-11-12

Utterly wonderful.

Would you consider the audio edition of Among Others to be better than the print version?

Without question... the audio version should be the only "allowed" publishing... :-)

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not applicable... the whole idea was the book.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't want to telegraph anything... but this book builds to its ending the way a great book should.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I am not good at capsulizing an entire book... especailly one specifically *about* words... into a few words... or a "tag line". For anyone to do that with this book, it would be insufficent and take away from its magic.

Any additional comments?

The reader took my breath away. She not only read the book as if she understood every word almost as if she had written them herself, but as if she understood every one of the many books this story mentions and precis's in its very illuctable way.

I have never heard any other books read by Katherine Keligher. However, I have been listening to talking books since 1954, so I have no idea how she isn't among the few dozen pure favorites I have come to love. If it means anything... which it most certainly actually does... I will be reading every other thing she has ever done. Soon."

There is an almost magical simultaneity here... but then, that is what magic and this book is about. I recently listened to another book just out on Audible... a book by Orson Scott Card (Earth Unaware). At the end he metnions his favorite authors and that he loves reading audible books. His notes sounded as if I had written them myself. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the bigger, the more epoch, the more amazing ... the more I like it. He seemed to echo my very thoughts about this. The precise authors he named are somehow my absolute favorite authors as well. He even put a special and unchanging place of honor for J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord Of The Rings. It was uncanny to say the least. Of course, I want you to read everything Mr. Card has ever written so you will appreciate that book as much as I did.. and thereby, hopefully, appreciate his short wonderfully "telling" note about his favorite authors. What he wrote could have been a prescient revue of "Among Others".... whether he has read it yet or not... I have no idea.

In any case, if you are in the same realm as he and me in our love of The Lord Of The Rings... and Science Fiction/Fatasy overall... then you will simply love this book. It isn't big, and epoch and it didn't seem like something that would be anything other than a nice read... coming from that full depth of grand fiction and Universes that live in the pages of the best SF and Fantasy. I just didn't think it would blow me away... yet somehow it did. Maybe it did so because it sneakily and smoothly integrated the author's same love of it all into the main thread of the book itself... and it does it magically.

I wasn't quite sure all the way through just how much I really loved it, and wondered a time or two just why it was holding my interest so fast... until the end came. It was nothing short of one of the best passages and conclusions that I have ever read (or heard...) and remember that note about me listening to audio books since I was 5 years old (circa 1954). If you're counting and calculating... and I am now that I'm thinking about it and writing this revue... that is thousands and thousands of audio books. Yes, you can take it to the bank... this is a great piece of science fiction/fantasy and along with the phenomenal reader, this is one credit you will think very well spent. The Lord Of The Rings and all the wonderful books beside it notwithstanding, but included, this little snip of a book fits in and fits in well.

The only thing I could wish for you to make this book the pleasure that it was for me... is that you could somehow *be* me, with my memories of the past 58 years of reading and listening to audio books before you start it. Too bad.... cant make that happen for you... but if your love of The Lord Of The Rings and the genre of SF and Fantasy, and of reading itself... is even one millionth that of mine... this book will bring you great joy.

And if OSC has somehow not yet listened to this marvelous little production... which I highly doubt... he at least won't have to write a review... my bet is he would agree word for word and thought for thought with this one. I saved him some work. -Esak

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Huge red ballon that fizzes out

If you could sum up Among Others in three words, what would they be?

Book on books

Would you be willing to try another book from Jo Walton? Why or why not?

Possibly, but the reviews would have to be rave worthy

Any additional comments?

Picture a book as a balloon. It gets blown up as the story progresses. Some are those long, narrow balloons that take a lot of lung power to get going. Some are normal balloons that fill with air, get tied off and stuck on a poster. Some get filled with helium and float you away. This could have been the later, but instead it was a great big balloon that someone let go of at the last moment and it just blew all over the room making an obnoxious sound.

Characters were personable. Felt like you could have a cup of tea (or water!) with them. Plot seemed to be leading up to something big, and then blah. Can't even say the balloon was popped, because that would at least imply a surprise or shock. This was just a let down. My only hope is that Ms Walton tries again, she'll remember to use helium and let the sucker float us away.

Narration was lovely. Could listen to Katherine Kellgren's voice anytime!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful