With Among Others, though, she's redeemed herself in my eyes. This is nothing more than a love letter to classic science fiction and fantasy novels, but unlike the political books, Walton doesn't skimp on the characterization and plot.
My review is now up on Curled Up With a Good Book.
"Morwenna Phelps (Mori) is a young Welsh girl in the 1970s. She has been sent off to live with her father and his sisters in London after the death of her own twin sister and some mysterious incident with her mother that left her crippled. Her father sends her off to a boarding school because he can't take her in full time. For Mori, magic and faeries are real, but the school is a place where no magic resides. As a coping mechanism throughout her life, Mori has immersed herself in the world of science fiction and fantasy, a recluse who shies away from most social interactions. She risks everything to use her own magic to form a circle of like-minded friends at the school, which unfortunately draws the attention of her mother for a final confrontation that Mori can no longer avoid."
I'm not a big fan of coming of age tales. They can be interesting, but often they just leave me cold. Mori's story, however, really affected me. I don't know if it's because of the SF homages or whether I just liked the story, but I really felt for Mori's isolation. I remember being able to lose myself in my books like she did, and while my familiarity with all of the classic SF books is fleeting, I still understood it enough to immerse myself in Mori's situation.
If you're an SF fan, you will love all the classic talk. If you're not, you can still follow a great story that moves along at its own, sedate pace, but will keep you entranced nonetheless.