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.
- 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)
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Adolescence, Magic and some Girlie Chatter
“Among Others” is not a bad book, but because of all the awards and the praise, it received, I expected more. It does not matter to me, what kind of genre you attribute to it, but I would not know, why it is supposed to be science fiction. There is some magic, especially towards the end, so there is a justification for the “fantasy” title at least, but in general the book is about a young girl coming of age, the problems she has with her oppressive mother and the estranged father and of course, first love.
The book is written in the style of a diary, but it is good to listen too, if you get used to the chitchat of a young girl. Somehow it looks like the book is written for younger female readers, but the numerous references to classic phantasy writers like Heinlein, Delany etc. make this very unlikely.
The protagonist of the story is the 15 year old Morwenna, who ran away from home and from her evil and abusive mother. Her mother is deep into black magic and is to blame for the death of Morwenna's twin sister and her own disability. The authorities place Morwenna into the care of her estranged father, who left her mother before Morwenna was born. In due course she is sent to a boarding school. In her unhappiness she devours science fiction and fantasy books to shut out the misery of her present life. Her biggest joy is the participation in a readers club, where she meets a very exciting young man. But all of that cannot take the fear away that her mother would track her down. In her heart she knows that the show down is inevitable.
The book has a charm of its own and if you are a patient reader, you will enjoy it.