Something clever I'll change later

I like fantasy. The end.
Among Others - Jo Walton As seen on Stumptown Books.

Actual rating: 3.5

This was a strange one. I feel like I am exactly the target audience: I was a quiet girl in high school and was never without a novel to read, and also kept a diary. This book was made for the 15-year-old me. And yet, it still didn't quite hit the mark it was going for.

It is essentially a love letter to classic science fiction. If you have more knowledge of that genre than I do, I can definitely see getting a lot of enjoyment just out of recognizing all the books Mori mentions. Here's the complete list of every book mentioned in Among Others - it goes on and on! I got a lot of awesome recommendations, as I had only read a mere fraction of all the books paid tribute. Unfortunately, that means my eyes inadvertently glazed over a lot when lists of books were being rattled off. I couldn't help it. They simply didn't mean anything to me besides titles. So to enjoy this book as you are meant to, I feel like you have to be very well versed in some pretty obscure sci-fi. Otherwise a lot of the book will simply pass you by, like it did me.

So if you are like me, and many of the titles were just that - mere titles, with no story that you're aware of. There was still something that came across that said "You are a reader. I am a reader. We have something in common, even if it is only that." No matter what happens in life, no matter where you go, there will always be books. Even if you have no one to talk to them about, someone, somewhere, has read that book and loved it as much as you did. The reader community is one I hold near and dear to my heart, and there is nothing I like more than talking about books to people. Anyone who considers themselves a "reader" can identify with this, and understand some of this book simply because of that fact. Reading sci-fi and fantasy makes me feel so hopeful for the future - and this book set a tone that reminisces on what it was like to remember discovering sci-fi and fantasy for the first time.

The novel is in diary format which I enjoyed, because that seemed very real and made the characters close. I can totally see Mori alternately scribbling down everything that happens in her life, going to class, and spending any free moment reading. Thankfully she is very thorough. Sometimes when books are written as diaries it is easy to fall victim to the "Oh I haven't mentioned this person yet but we met last month and now I'm going to talk about her/him." Everyone important was always acknowledged as they appeared. Unfortunately, that meant that while we got to hear about Mori's mother every once in a while, she was never actually there, and her evil influence was not tangible enough. The climax felt rather dismal because of this.

Overall, the characters were strong but the story was weak, and it was more about the books Mori was reading than the book Among Others. I'm honestly not sure who I would recommend it for, as I feel like I was the exact right person but I still thought it was missing something.

Among Others won the 2012 Nebula Award for best novel and was also nominated for the 2012 Hugo Awards - congratulations Jo!

On an unrelated note, Jo Walton is a blogger for Tor.com, and I HIGHLY recommend her blog. It's awesome; she's a great writer!

Also, I didn't know who Cory Doctorow was upon reading the blurb on the front cover. I have now remedied that. I am ashamed.

Currently reading

The Dog Stars
Peter Heller
Predator Cities #1: Mortal Engines
Philip Reeve