Google+ If You Like Books: Among Others by Jo Walton

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Among Others by Jo Walton


If you like: sci fi books * libraries * fairies

Among Others is the story of Mori, who is struggling to live in a world without her twin who was killed when she was struck by a car. At the same time Mori's pelvis was shattered, leaving her with persistent pain. The two were struck by the car during their efforts to stop their mother from achieving world domination through evil magic. Mori seeks out her estranged father and is sent to boarding school by his sisters. At school she meets up with a sci-fi book club that allows her to come into her own and finally face the ghosts of her past.

Among Others is so much more than a fairy story. Yes, there is a magical boarding school, and, yes, the protagonist must use magic to fight an evil villain. Though this sounds very familiar, the story is nothing like you’d expect. Mori is like so many of us. She struggles to find companionship in her classmates. When she does have an opportunity to share her passion, she can hardly control herself and worries her excitement is a bit overbearing. Mori’s most consistent companion is literature. Her injury prevents her from doing many things, which allows her hours and hours a day to read. No one wishes for a debilitating injury, but reading all day in a beautiful library doesn’t sound half bad. In books, it doesn’t matter how awkward or alone a character is, they always end up finding their people. Sometimes this seems too convenient, but Mori makes it feel like it could happen for everyone. Find the people with your passion and you will find your best friends.

Though the plot of Among Others is not insignificant, reading the story feels like spending time with a close companion on a lazy afternoon. Mori faces incredible obstacles, but she rarely worries about them. Mori does not concern herself with the potentially dangerous consequences of what the fairies tell her to do. She accepts her tasks with a utilitarian ease. If she can see the larger benefit of what they ask, she does it without hesitation. So many protagonists struggle with their burdens, but Mori has no doubts. Her growing understanding of how her magic works and the connectedness of all space and time gives her an almost Neo like ability to influence her world. Pairing that with her natural cost benefit analysis allows her to be all powerful without the evil that so often accompanies it. In spite of all she must do, she still always has time to read a good book and expand her mind.

If you can see something strange out of the corner of your eye, read Among Others.

Walton, Jo. Among Others. New York: Tor, 2010. EPub edition.

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