Customer Reviews for

Among Others

Average Rating 3.5
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Wonderfully done.

I love so much about this book.

I love that it's character-driven rather than plot-driven. Nothing particularly happens in this novel -- a girl goes to boarding school, is shunned, writes and reads a lot, and eventually finds a few friends; the "reckoning that could ...
I love so much about this book.

I love that it's character-driven rather than plot-driven. Nothing particularly happens in this novel -- a girl goes to boarding school, is shunned, writes and reads a lot, and eventually finds a few friends; the "reckoning that could no longer be put off" takes place within the confines of the last few pages, and feels. . . on the whole, slightly unnecessary. Anyone who wants action should look elsewhere. This book takes place almost entirely within the confines of Mori's head, and I love that. I love that it's about grieving, and that it's about identity, and that it's about making the best of your seriously messed up family.

I love that it's about books, and that Mori engages with books, has forceful opinions about them that the reader is clearly allowed to disagree with. I haven't actually read most of the books Mori talks about (somehow I've read lots of stuff from the 60s and from the 80s on, but precious little from the 70s) but my background knowledge of the authors was enough that I didn't feel like I missed anything. Probably the only work any reader has to be familiar with is Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, because Mori uses the terms "karass" and "granfalloon" a lot before she explains them to an outsider -- but even those terms are fairly clear from the context.

I love the way the magic works. . . no flashes or puffs of smoke to let you know something has happened, just a sudden string of coincidences (going back long before you cast your spell) leading to the outcome you wanted. It's the sort of magic I think makes sense in a contemporary setting with our history, and it's the sort of magic I wish there was more of in fantasy, because it seems so much more magical than the magic-by-numbers currently popular. And yes, it IS magic: Mori thinks so, and the author says so, so I see no reason to question that fact.

But somehow. . . I did not quite love this book. Maybe it's because I wasn't particularly alienated as a teenager. Maybe it's because I wanted just a little bit more. . . magic, in Mori's voice, to carry through some of the boarding school drama. Or maybe this is one of those books that will hit me harder the further I get from it -- it certainly has that potential. I expected to love this book, and maybe that's why I didn't; very little can live up to the level of expectation produced by the knowledge that there's a new book by a favorite author that's getting tons of praise from other favorite authors. Whatever the case. . . I will absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes the stuff I laid out above. It's absolutely going on my keeper shelf, and I'm glad I bought it in hardcover. But it isn't quite a book that immediately carved out a place in my soul.

posted by PhoenixFalls on January 29, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Giving up.

I thought this was going to be a great read. Quiet suspense, maybe? A whole paragraph about a bus? Really? All these book names became very tiresome. I realize the plot is supposed to be about this girl, her losses, struggles, love of SF and fairies, but wow. "The Siste...
I thought this was going to be a great read. Quiet suspense, maybe? A whole paragraph about a bus? Really? All these book names became very tiresome. I realize the plot is supposed to be about this girl, her losses, struggles, love of SF and fairies, but wow. "The Sisters Grimm" was more exciting. Half way thru and putting it down to read something else. Maybe just skip to the end to get it over with. Something I NEVER do, by the way.

posted by 101010mdy on January 13, 2012

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderfully done.

    I love so much about this book.

    I love that it's character-driven rather than plot-driven. Nothing particularly happens in this novel -- a girl goes to boarding school, is shunned, writes and reads a lot, and eventually finds a few friends; the "reckoning that could no longer be put off" takes place within the confines of the last few pages, and feels. . . on the whole, slightly unnecessary. Anyone who wants action should look elsewhere. This book takes place almost entirely within the confines of Mori's head, and I love that. I love that it's about grieving, and that it's about identity, and that it's about making the best of your seriously messed up family.

    I love that it's about books, and that Mori engages with books, has forceful opinions about them that the reader is clearly allowed to disagree with. I haven't actually read most of the books Mori talks about (somehow I've read lots of stuff from the 60s and from the 80s on, but precious little from the 70s) but my background knowledge of the authors was enough that I didn't feel like I missed anything. Probably the only work any reader has to be familiar with is Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, because Mori uses the terms "karass" and "granfalloon" a lot before she explains them to an outsider -- but even those terms are fairly clear from the context.

    I love the way the magic works. . . no flashes or puffs of smoke to let you know something has happened, just a sudden string of coincidences (going back long before you cast your spell) leading to the outcome you wanted. It's the sort of magic I think makes sense in a contemporary setting with our history, and it's the sort of magic I wish there was more of in fantasy, because it seems so much more magical than the magic-by-numbers currently popular. And yes, it IS magic: Mori thinks so, and the author says so, so I see no reason to question that fact.

    But somehow. . . I did not quite love this book. Maybe it's because I wasn't particularly alienated as a teenager. Maybe it's because I wanted just a little bit more. . . magic, in Mori's voice, to carry through some of the boarding school drama. Or maybe this is one of those books that will hit me harder the further I get from it -- it certainly has that potential. I expected to love this book, and maybe that's why I didn't; very little can live up to the level of expectation produced by the knowledge that there's a new book by a favorite author that's getting tons of praise from other favorite authors. Whatever the case. . . I will absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes the stuff I laid out above. It's absolutely going on my keeper shelf, and I'm glad I bought it in hardcover. But it isn't quite a book that immediately carved out a place in my soul.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A moving & Fascinating tale

    In Wales their single mother's spell goes terribly wrong when her daughters interfered by trying to thwart the incantation. Teen Morwenna survives but is severely hurt; her twin sister was not as fortunate as she dies.

    Mori flees her raging mother's wrath seeking shelter with her father in England. He welcomes his daughter by immediately shipping her off to a boarding school. Feeling alone, Mori employs a spell seeking souls like her own who escape their troubles with literature. This leads her to a science fiction readers club, but Mori has no time to make friends. She senses her irate mother searches for her to kill her. Mori concludes she has no way to elude her mother much longer and has no place to hide; as her father made his feelings perfectly clear when she first arrived at his home seeking shelter and protection.

    Mori makes the tale with her journal focusing on her loneliness and her obsessive need to belong especially since her only friend, her twin, is dead. The teen is realistic and believes she can never truly belong though she yearns for such; as anyone who befriends her becomes instant fodder for her insane mother's wrath. That is why books are her friends. Readers will be hooked by Mori's lament that she will never really belong Among Others though that is her strongest need (Dr. Maslow would have loved to interview Mori, but her insane mom better had not found out); in many ways more so than surviving the anticipated showdown with her mother.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Giving up.

    I thought this was going to be a great read. Quiet suspense, maybe? A whole paragraph about a bus? Really? All these book names became very tiresome. I realize the plot is supposed to be about this girl, her losses, struggles, love of SF and fairies, but wow. "The Sisters Grimm" was more exciting. Half way thru and putting it down to read something else. Maybe just skip to the end to get it over with. Something I NEVER do, by the way.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I have no idea why this book has been awarded the Nebula and Hug

    I have no idea why this book has been awarded the Nebula and Hugo awards. These prizes are a disservice to the author and to the reader of this novel, for they set high expectations that the book utterly fails to satisfy.

    This is not a book with a plot or any big ideas. It's a story of a teenage fascination with science fiction of the late 70's. Those readers who, like me, are contemporaries of the heroine will enjoy the many references to the fun books that were published then -- but they'll also notice that the book is way more of a bibliography, for apart from the odd quote, it doesn't really seem as if the heroine has actually learned anything thought-provoking from her reading. Dune is a clash of cultures? Gosh, that would never have occurred to me.

    If you are 45 or older, you may enjoy being reminded of all those great books that didn't survive to the ebook era. If you are 15 or younger, you might relate to the heroine or author. And those of you in that big gap in between are going to be left scratching your head at the awards this two-star book has received. It says more about the state of science fiction than anything else, I suppose.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Magical

    Anyone who has lived a period in which books are your only friend and guidance will understand the protagonist...imagination can be both magical and terrible at the same time and books give yoibyhe intellectual and emotional tools to take it either and both ways at the samw time.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Literary and engaging

    A coming of age story with magical realism. I really enjoyed it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Worst book ever! I want a refund and my brain wiped of this crap.

    This book is so bad, I may stop reading SF. And it won an award??

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Great syllabus for future reading

    The book is a fantasy at heart but the protagonist's process of maturing through her experience of seminal works of science fiction was great fun.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Nebula Award Winner for Best SF Novel of the year.

    Nebula Award Winner for Best SF Novel of the year.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This cover is absolutely captivating. The bold orange tones soft

    This cover is absolutely captivating. The bold orange tones softened just a touch with white draws the eye to the book and raises ones curiosity to its contents. Orange is a stimulating color, one of change between two mediums and is quite a sociable also, invigorating people to think and talk. My first impression was a book about a girl swept up into a fantasy world of magic. After reading the book, the cover captures the story of Morwenna perfectly. 

    Essentially, it's a book about a girl who loves books, who basically writes a book (journal).This book is about struggles, personal battles, and a family torn apart. When Morwenna's (Mori) half-mad magic wielding mother pushes the limits of the dark arts to far, she is left crippled and her twin sister dead. Succumbed to living with the father she never really knew, she is shipped off to boarding school at the discretion of her Aunt's only to find that some impoverished crippled Welsh girl doesn't really fit into the aristocratic-like society of Arlinghurst. Plunging deeper into her love of reading science fiction, Mori quickly discovers she can't hide from the world, magic, or even her deranged mother.

    Written in first person narrative as a journal, readers relive five key years of Mori's life. Author Jo Walton has brilliantly sculpted Mori's story into one that is endearing. Enchanting. Cruel, intoxicating, and wraps it up complete with a happy ending. While there seems to be an ongoing issue with questionable content that was included into the reading, but then seemed to go nowhere or was left unanswered, this was still a very pleasurable read and I only wish she had added a bit more content, or left the ending hanging to continue this story.

    I would recommend this book to someone looking for a heartfelt drama that's not the norm. There's no real action, no sultry love scenes, and no real shock and awe. You just have to read it to understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    I was really looking forward to reading this book because it won

    I was really looking forward to reading this book because it won the Hugo and Nebula. However, I was deeply dissapointed. Not for me at all.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    I'm not quite sure why this book was so engaging for me - me bei

    I'm not quite sure why this book was so engaging for me - me being a 50+ year old man - but it was.  It kept me interested from beginning to end, and I finished it rather quickly..

    Among others doesn't get on my  "Greatest Books I Ever Read" list, but it does make the second tier of those I enjoyed reading and would recommend to others. 

    The main character is a socially isolated teenage girl who is Magical.  The thing is that even she admits that any of her magic can be explained by completely natural phenomena - and for most of the book you don't know if she really is magical or just delusional.  But it probably doesn't matter - either way it's an enjoyable read..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Not for me

    I don't understand how ths book got the Hugo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    I don't get it.

    I didn't get it. Maybe because I am not 15 but it just kept going and going and then just abruptly ended without really an ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Hugo Award Winner

    2012 Hugo Award Winner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    So disappointing

    I love sci-fi and fantasy, and I love the feeling of disappearing inside a book. The reviews for Among Others made it sound like one of those magical books that transports you to somewhere else entirely while you are submerged in it.

    What it is, instead, is a rather boring story told through teen-girl diary prose. Granted, the teen girl is interesting and interested in life, not just boys and petty jealousies - I appreciated that. But it didn't make up for the total lack of beauty in the writing. The main character spent most of the book talking about how wonderful the books she had read made her feel, and yet ironically, this book does not make you feel anything like that.

    A book about a love affair with books could be so much better than this. The author seemed to think that just mentioning the titles of a lot of good books would infuse her book with their aura. It didn't work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Filled with odd details and name dropping

    Huge rambles in this diary could be edited out and replaced with meaningful story line. Only curiosity pushed me to plow through the endless SF library catalog listings snd pointless genealogy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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