AMONG OTHERS

Written by Jo Walton

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/


AMONG OTHERS
Corsair
RRP: £17.99
Released: 1st November 2012
Hbk

Fifteen-year-old Morwenna lives with in Wales with her twin sister and her mad mother, in an alternative world where magic is real and fairies exist.  One day Mori and her sister try and stop their mother from using a devastating magic, and in the battle that follows Mori is left crippled and her sister is killed.  In order to escape her mother, Mori flees to England to find the father she has never really known.  Sent to boarding school, Mori takes refuge in the science fiction books she loves, and seeks help from the fairies for the final battle with her mother that she knows is coming.

 

This is in no way a crime book.  It’s more urban fantasy, but since it’s set in 1979 it could be classified as a historical fantasy also.  The book takes place in diary form, and effectively takes place after the main climax.  Mori writes about her life after the death of her sister and the battle to stop her mother, which is never fully described.

 

Among Others is an appropriate title for this book, as Mori is always the outsider.  In the house where her father lives with his three sisters she is treated as a peculiarity, though the first time she sets foot inside her father’s study and finds it stuffed with science fiction paperbacks, she decides that this man can’t be so bad after all.  At her boarding school in England she is the outsider because she is Welsh, and at a school where the emphasis is on sports she cannot play because of her damaged leg.  Mori feels at home amongst the fairy folk, but being human she will never belong in their world.

 

With books being her first love, Mori uses her diary to comment on the books she reads, and she gets through vast quantities of them – sometimes two a day.  When she discovers a science fiction book club in the library of the nearby town, Mori is delighted to finally find people who are interested in hearing what she has to say.

 

If you like a book with a strong plot this one probably isn’t for you, as not much really happens.  Although Mori does have a final confrontation with her mother, the ending feels somewhat rushed and anti-climactic, and the book does feel like one long epilogue, with the actual story having happened before the book begins.  However, Mori is a beautifully drawn and thoroughly realistic character, and anyone who went through adolescence feeling like the outsider – particularly one who grew up reading science fiction – will empathise with her and find much to appreciate in this study of adolescent “otherness”.



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