Among Others by Jo Walton
Review by Ellen
The book opens as Mori is sent to boarding school by her previously unknown father after running away from her mother’s house bizarrely several months after their epic clash. At first the author gives hints about the battle that has already happened, leading the reader to believe that all will be revealed as the book unfolds, but this never happens. The characters remain two dimensional, even Mori, whose only real defining characteristic is her obsession with reading and analysing books. In this it feels like the constant referencing of sci-fi novels (and the discussion about their relative merits and meanings) is a way for the author to impress upon you just how many books she has read, let alone her heroine. I am a keen reader but I have not read these books and although it does not take away from the general plotline it did mean that I could have skipped many of the paragraphs without losing any of the context that I got from reading them.
There is little character development for any of the cast and whilst Mori is desperate to gain friends who love reading as much as she does, her interactions with those around her do not have a great deal of impact on her. Even the moment when her drunken father tries to climb into bed with her is brushed aside without consideration and not referenced again. Surely this would have an effect on her mental state?
Throughout the novel Mori sees magical fairies of uncertain origin who give her warnings from time to time. As I turned the pages I awaited the “final reckoning” as the blurb promised. When I got to the last few pages it became clear that this was never going to arrive with the briefest of unmemorable conflicts in its place.
The magical world was not fully developed and the grand storylines failed to materialise, making this a disappointing read.