Magic isn’t inherently evil. But it does seem to be terribly bad for people.
Mori is one half of twins. After she loses her sister, she runs away from her home in South Wales and finds herself living with her estranged father. She’s running from her mother because she’s a witch and responsible for the death of her sister. Mori is packed off to boarding school where she can stay hidden and lose herself in the science fiction books she loves.
One of the things I’ve always liked about science fiction is the way it makes you think about things, and look at things from angles you’d never have thought about before.
From now on, I'm going to be positive about sex.
It is a book about a book lover. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t share Mori’s taste in reading matter, you will recognise her love of books in yourself. Set in 1979, her reading list is full of classic sci-fi. Whilst I recognise many of the titles, I haven’t read them, yet I still understood the way they made her feel. These are the reasons we read books. To both escape the world we live and to find answers. It’s told in a diary format and you get a wonderful commentary on the books she is reading as well as her own story.
The magic is subtle. If you are expecting an action-packed fantasy adventure you may be disappointed. In fact, Mori’s magic could be put down to an over-active imagination and coincidence. She is escaping a parent who is dangerous, she lost her twin; the magical world could easily be a coping mechanism. It’s a book you could read in two different ways; one completely believing her and the other looking for signs that it’s all make-believe.
When you mention magic and boarding school, minds are going to inevitably going to want to compare to Harry Potter. It is far too real for that comparison. Her boarding school is completely believable, with its odd customs and bad dinners. She feels alone when surrounded by others who have no chance of understanding her. She isn’t a heroine and she isn’t the centre of attention.
“Bibliotropic,” Hugh said. “Like sunflowers are heliotropic, they naturally turn to the sun. We naturally turn towards the book shop.”
I want to befriend Mori. I can imagine her being a book blogger if it was set in the present day (and of course she wasn’t trying to hide). It’s a bitter sweet tale; with moments that made me laugh out loud and others that made my heart bleed for her. There are so many quotable passages, I urge you to read it and find yourself in complete agreement.
If you fancy checking out any of the books Mori reads, this Pinterest board contains them all. Among Others, winner of Hugo and Nebula awards, is published by Corsair, an imprint of Constable & Robinson, and is now available in paperback. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
Follow the tour:
The Speculative Scotsman - Review
Civilian Reader - Libraries and Civilization
Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews - Extract
2606 Books - Review
The Book Smugglers - Jo Walton on Inspirations & Influences
Jan Edwards - Extract
As part of the blog tour, I also have two copies of this fabulous book to give away (UK only this time). You don't have to follow the blog to enter but there are bonus entries available. Entry via Rafflecopter only (please don't leave your contact details in the comments).