Among Others by Jo Walton Book Review

Among Others by Jo Walton is an urban fantasy about a young woman struggling with her traumatic childhood and the impact of magic in her life.

Morwenna Phelps grew up in Wales, the daughter of a mother who dabbled in dark magic. She and her twin Mori were forced to confront their mother in a magical battle that left Morwenna crippled and Mori dead.

Devastated and scared she fled to live with her estranged father in England. Sent to a boarding school she finds herself an outcast and is tempted to use her magic, despite it drawing the attention of her mother.

This is a slow-paced book and it brings to mind magic realism fiction even though this is overtly fantasy, but it would be enjoyable for people who like that genre but want to try something a little different.

Excerpt from Among Others by Jo Walton

“Breakfast of Champions, Welcome to the Monkey House . . .” I reeled off the titles. He was smiling. He looked pleased. My reading has been solace and addiction but nobody has been pleased with me for it before.

“How about The Sirens of Titan?” he asked, as I wound down.

I shook my head. “I’ve never heard of it!”

He set down his drink, bent down and got the book, hardly looking at the shelves, and added it to my pile. “How about Zenna Henderson?”

“Pilgrimage,” I breathed. It is a book that speaks to me. I love it. Nobody else I’ve met has ever read it. I didn’t read it from the library. My mother had it, an American edition with a hole punched in the cover. I don’t even think there is a British edition. Henderson wasn’t in the library catalogue. For the first time, I realised that if he is my father, which in some sense he is, then long ago he knew her. He married her. He had the sequel to Pilgrimage and two collections. I took them, very uncertain of him. I could hardly hold my book pile one-handed. I put them all in my bag, which was on my shoulder, where it always is.

“I think I’ll go to bed and read now,” I said.

He smiled. He has a nice smile, nothing like our smiles. I’ve been told all my life that we looked like him, but I can’t see it. If he’s Lazarus Long to our Laz and Lor, I’d expect to have some sense of recognition. We never looked anything like anyone in our family, but apart from the eye and hair colour I don’t see anything. It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”