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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


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  • Eoin
  • Kilcullen, Ireland
  • 09-15-11

Subtle Character Piece

I loved this from start to end. Essentially a coming-of-age story, its diary format does not lend itself to strong plot points, and my major criticism is that the denoument is rather rushed at the end. But you can't help falling for Mori, especially for me, as she is such a SF/Fantasy nut and *devours* books.

But I adored Katherine Kellgren's performance, and was amazed to find out she's from the US. The "singsong" accent, with its "changes of inflection" was, to me being a Celt, a really great Welsh accent, along with good Southern English and west-country accents. Well done Katherine! Yes, it may be a little difficult to get used to, but on the eastern side of the pond it works really well.

Give it a go. It's a simple character piece that will make you smile.

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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I Think it Deserves the Hugo

There are several different ways you could go about narrating a book. You could simply read it aloud, you might go so far as to add inflection to the spoken parts. And if you want to stand out, you try to give each notable character a distinct voice. But if you seek to be as extraordinary as Katherine Kellgren, you must bring the story to life, imbue every word with color. There are some wonderful pieces online about the lengths Ms. Kellgren goes to achieve such dynamic performances, and it truly shows. The result is that this reading is anything but stayed, the narration achieving an artistic quality all its own. Of course, this means that it is even more a separate and distinct creature from the words on a printed page than any audiobook already is, and to some that might be a bad thing, possibly a very bad thing. But with a case such as this where the experience is far more about the person telling you the story than her story per se, the end result is truly delightful.

It is understandable that for someone used to traditional narration, this performance might take some getting used to, because the emphasis on reproducing the character's voice occasionally overrides clarity, requiring you to pay closer attention than you might be used to. But this is more than worth it because if you give in to this way of relating the story, it's very much like listening to Mori speaking to you through her diary entries rather than listening to a woman read.

This approach helps the presentation of the material immensely, since this is so much about one person's journey, her thoughts, fears, ambitions, and observational asides along the way. You cannot help but love this girl who has suffered so much but still loves so dearly in her own way.

As for the end, it is rather sudden, especially given how the beginning so wonderfully takes you by the hand and leads you deeper and deeper into a world where magic is real, but always deniable, infinitely subtle and incalculably powerful. This book is a nominee for the 2012 Hugo Award for best novel. And though there are other worthy candidates this year, I would be very happy if it won.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Great Start, Weak Finish

I like a lot about this book: the vivid characters, the strong narration, and enchanted settings. Jo Walton does a fantastic job creating a captivating world that's filled with characters who seem alive. She deftly builds up the plot, but the book's climax felt rushed and flat - like the author didn't know how to end it.

Among Others was an easy listen and I looked forward to hearing it everyday. I'm not a science fiction fan, but even though there are multiple references to scifi titles it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. I'm guessing fans of the science fiction genre would appreciate the extra layer, but the book is enjoyable enough if you aren't.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 11-03-11

Excellent book, beautiful narration.

This book is a beautifully written account of what it can be like to grow up with different interests from everyone around you. It's not over-the-top on melodrama, as some "geek anthems" can be, but it's by no means boring. It's thoughtful and feels, above all, honest. As a reader, I felt less like I identified with Mor, and more like she and I might have been friends had we met in school; or maybe we'd have been in the same book club.

Katherine Kellgren was excellent. She has really crisp diction and clear delivery, imbuing the words with emotion and emphasis without overdoing it. I really enjoyed her Welsh accent - I have family in Wales and I've always loved the musical quality of the language, and Ms Kellgren did not disappoint. It also fits the story, naturally enough.

All around, a personal favourite.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Redmond, WA, United States
  • 01-13-12

Simply fantastic

What more can be said about this audio book than, "simply fantastic"? The narrator is in perfect tune with the story. The story itself is a fantastic coming of age tale celebrating the discovery of life and magic through a passion for sci-fi novels. This was one of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to listen to ever.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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kept waiting for a plot then the book was over

What would have made Among Others better?

There was no real plot. Just like reading an interesting journal with a weird fight at the end.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Walton again?

Only if recommended by someone I trust.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

She was actually amazing.

What character would you cut from Among Others?

Characters were fine; they just needed to do something.

Any additional comments?

I bought this book because of the award but was very disappointed. I wish someone would have told me there was no real plot and a weak story to this book.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • lafayette, LA, United States
  • 01-16-12


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

I liked the conflict the narrator feels with her coming adulthood best. I liked the neat and tidy ending least.

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

Yes. I do think she is a fair writer with a talent for writing novels literature fans can latch onto.

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

I loved the Welsh accent. She makes the narrator come alive and injects personality and character. She made the people in the book real.

Was Among Others worth the listening time?


14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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This SF book is Brill! Hated the end!

I don't mean that I hated THE ending, I mean that I hated the fact that it did end! What an interesting, exasperating, quirky, loveable, frustrating character. Just like a teenager, and probably like me when I was a teenager! The accent was a little bit of a challenge for me, but I am in no way an expert on what a person from Wales would have spoken like in 1979, so my difficulty was just the strangeness of it. And that ended up working congruently with the story for me. I also got not only used to it, but kind of attached to it. I can hear Mori's voice in my head right now. I think I will look for a book club.... and will also add more SF books to my "to read" list, Mori's enthusiasm is powerfull!
I absolutely loved this story, I loved how the story was told to me, and I loved the characters. I can't say enough about this book, I really enjoyed it!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Critically overrated; bonus points for nostalgia.

I picked this up when it got a Hugo nomination, and went into it pretty excited. The results are fairly mediocre.

This is a book where nothing much happens in the sense that the plot ark is more of a modest bump. This isn't automatically a bad thing in a book because a great character driven story can still provide a fantastic read, but that doesn't happen here, The characters are mildly interesting but never really compelling. What's worse is that some of the more interesting plot threads are simply abandoned by the end without ever being resolved in an ending that is both predictable and rushed.

So why the Hugo nomination? That's easy: nostalgia. Mori, our protagonist, finds direction and solace in science fiction and reads incessantly offering a whose-who of pre-80s name and title dropping and an accompanying analysis of SF writers and stories of the era. I think many critics are willing to overlook a mediocre story because of the nostalgia and fondness they feel at listening to Mori discuss her relentless reading list. While these certainly provide the most interesting parts of the novel for a big SF fan like myself, it's not enough to carry the entire story. This was a great premise suffering from mediocre execution, and in the end fondness for listening to other people talk about classical science fiction shouldn't be enough to make us ignore the mundane story in which that discussion is embedded in.

This is a perfectly acceptable story but not a remarkable one, and it certainly did not deserve a Hugo nomination. It will be most interesting to those who have read a lot of classic pre-1980 science fiction, and far less interesting to anyone without such a reading background.

37 of 48 people found this review helpful

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Not SF and not deserving of the 2012 HUGO

Coming of age story with an excellent reader. A reflective walk though of the SF genre pre-1980 by way of the characters reading habits and book club. In no way SF and only a marginal fantasy.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • 12-13-12

A spectacular ode to science fiction

This book was one of my favorites to listen to since I started my audible subscription. The narrator is wonderful, and the welsh accent makes such a difference (an accent I know I wouldn't have been able to keep in my head if I'd read the book instead of listened to it). The story is complicated to explain, but not complicated to listen to, and the book is addictive in the best way.

And for a fan of science fiction, it was like a hot bath and a comforting meal - even though the main character Mori read few of the same authors as I did, the feeling was the same, and it reminded me of how much love I felt for reading when I was a teenager, the way I devoured books and how much they impacted my life and my imagination.

Just a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo
  • 12-02-13

Loved it

I wanted a nice gentle read with a bit of fantasy thrown in and thats what I got. I so loved this book and will listen to it again and again. I loved the accent, which was wonderful and left me wishing for more. It takes you through some of the issues faced by young girls as they enter womanhood especially those that are a bit different.

It entwines the real bland and everyday reality with that of magic mysticism and escapism. It questions if one creates the other and is it reasonable or even advisable to try and control these – after all who wants to live with puppets or to become one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacob
  • 07-09-17

A well written mundane and pointless story

The story really could have been a short story, but is stretched out in this novel.
It is well written, but unless you enjoy a slice of life (despite a few fairies) it seems really pointless.

The narrator speaks in a quite thick dialect, but with clear pronunciation. It is very fitting for the setting of the story.

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  • Elaine
  • 06-21-14

I had not expected this to be so compelling

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

For SF addicts

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

The realisation of the heroine that her local library runs a weekly book club for SF enthusiasts; or perhaps when she finds out about inter-library loans.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

I was initially put off by her Welsh intonation but after a few minutes this became quite addictive and I think she has added a whole new human dimension to what was already a very compelling read (as is often the case with first-class narrators).

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's a slow-burn read, as the heroine is not one given to laying all her cards on the table. The impact of the book cannot be laid at the door of any one episode; it's the entirety of the book that is moving.

Any additional comments?

The more SF and fantasy you have read, the more you will get out of this book. One quibble: in a book set in 1979-80 with a heroine whose head is full of Tolkien, Niven, Heinlein, Le Guin, Delany and Zelazy (among others), even if she is cooped up in a girls' boarding school, how come she doesn't seem to have heard of Alien?

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  • Annika
  • 12-31-13

Does not seem magic at first, but...

It is a story about a girl who claims to see faeries and do magic, but reading/listening to over half the book it seems like it is a child's delusion like invisible friends and so on. And only in the second half magic becomes more real. I awaited a totally different story, but I like it much much more the way it is really written than it usually might have been written by someone else.
Even without magic turning out to be real it would have been a fantastic book. I liked it a lot. I hope there are more like this from the writer.
Oh, and I adore that all the nice characters read SciFi. ;)

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  • Sally
  • 12-14-13

Some interesting ideas not fully realised

As a girl who grew up in the South Wales Valleys in the 70s and 80s, with a passion for science fiction and fantasy I had high hopes for this story. There was a lot to like. The central character was complex and appealing and the author developed some interesting characters around her. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories of going to Lears in Cardiff to find new SF books, and the burning passion I felt for boks at that age.
However, the book was also very slow, and the fantastical elements felt a little clumsy. As the story of a girl coming to terms with the death of her twin and learning to love life again it was moving and thought provoking; as a story of magic less so.
I also found the narrator very trying. As an American actress attempting a Welsh accent she did well enough, and if the accent had only belonged to a minor character it probably would have been fine, but as the voice of the whole novel it really started to get on my nerves. It was like Gladys Pugh trying to put on a posh accent! It really undermined the voice of the main character and I felt we lost some of her sharpness and wit because the accent was so ridiculously sing song.
I would certainly try more books by this author, and this story has stayed with me, I just feel it didn't fully realise its potential.

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  • Hazel
  • 12-05-13

Light on plot, high on nostalgia

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

This is a lovely, meandering reflection on being young and being shaped by the magic of books. It isn't fast-moving like some books I've listened to, but every few minutes I'm reminded of my own adolescence and I smile.

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

The narrator's accent got a bit dodgy at times, but I'm from South Wales, so very familiar with what she was aiming for and therefore more likely to be jarred when it went wrong. It was still a fantastic effort for someone who isn't actually Welsh!

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

This book made me smile. I remember being a disabled child and having to rely on books, and on the escapism that only the very best ones could provide.

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  • Lynette
  • 03-13-13


It is with regret I have to write a negative review for this book. Several times I gave up then thought no I must finish listening to see if there is a reason for this story. I am sorry to say it was as disappointing as I imagined and I should have gone with my gut instinct and given up earlier. Although I did like the characters I just felt it was just a wordy book and no real direction, just very pointless.

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  • Shabra Dowson
  • 02-21-13

I don't want it to end!

I haven’t finished listening to the book yet and I really don’t want it to end. I’m really believing in the main character’s existence and I’m sad that I have pierced ears because this means that I won’t be able to see fairies (not that I ever have). The narrator’s accent is just right. There is a lot of talk about science fiction books and I have a moderate interest in them so that’s fine, I might even read some of those that are mentioned. I really like the main character: she is brave and resilient, resourceful and interesting. I like the way the back story is slowly revealed through the diaries.

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  • Calvino
  • 10-24-17

Disappointing on many levels

The lit and tone of the narrators voice, becomes very annoying after a period of time.

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  • Mari
  • 10-06-14

Growing Up in a World of Sci Fi and Fantasy.

I enjoyed this story of Mori, a young girl who has to battle her half-mad witch mother in Wales and the fantasy devoid life of boarding school in England. The story is, in part, told through Mori's diary so can sometimes feel that the plot is moving slowly, but at all times Mori's intelligence, frankness and bravery shine through.

Whilst the story telling involves Mori's love of sci-fi and fantasy novels, don't let this put you off - I know nothing about these genres but still loved Mori's descriptions of the books and authors.

The narrator is absolutely fabulous - making the Welsh accent simply beautiful to listen to.

A very different 'coming-of-age' tale (at least for me) with elements of fantasy, yet very much based in the real world.

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  • Thesle
  • 06-04-14

Sci-fi fans will wallow

Jo Walton creates a book that is more about the story telling than the story. The story telling gives an idea of her character more than the character she tells. Sci-fi fans will enjoy her nostalgia as well.