"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Among Others by Jo Walton

First I want to start by saying this is the most relatable character I've read in years. Mor loves books. 
"I care about so few people really. Sometimes it feels as if its only books that make life worth living, like on Halloween when I wanted to be alive because I hadn't finished Babel 17. I'm sure that isn't normal. I care more about people in books more than the people I see every day." 
This is how I feel all the time. It's hard for me to relate to non-readers, even harder to relate to people who have no imagination. When I open a book, creep inside its pages, characters can come to life. So when I read this story, this girl who sees fairies and reads SF, who sees her librarian more than her friends...Well, I can't help but wonder if Jo Walton secretly wrote a fantastical spin off of my life.

This is a story told by Morwenna (Mori) in diary formatting (a format I normally dislike, but the book is just that good) and she manages to drop titles and authors each and every entry, along with moving the plot onwards. The plot meanders, I won't lie. It takes awhile to figure out exactly what the main point is. But Mori is one half of a pair of twins; her sister Morganna dies and Mori winds up living with her estranged father, who then sends her to a boarding school. There are things left unexplained... Her parents separation, her mother's madness, are her aunts witches? And I admit to being a bit confused by the showdown between Mori and her mom; as cool as it was to see all that magic thrown around, there wasn't a lot about Mori's mom in the story. All that was ever said was that the mom was a crazy, evil witch... And seeing how important her mother being a crazy, evil witch, is to where Mori ends up, you'd think there'd be more about her.

But I like the idea of magic as a chain reaction, the idea the objects we love or hate can contain power for having sentimental value. And the fairies. Some are good and some are wicked although they aren't actively either. The ones who smile, help and the creepy ones, sneer... I think the point of the story isn't so much coming of age or defeating evil, but more that there's a point to being alive... You need a reason to live, a reason not to be a martyr for a cause, and it has to be your own. Life isn't a popularity contest, it's enough to love books and your crazy family... and the cutie-pie at your book club. But that's just my interpretation.

Rating 4/5
Original post date:
Dec 30, 12


  1. Great review I love it when characters are bookworms or relatable in some other way too can't wait to get my hands on this one :)

    Rimsha@Ramblings of a Bookworm

    1. thank you Rimsha! I always say the best thing about a good book is a really complex character; but its always fun when that complex character resembles yourself or someone you know.


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