This review spoilers everything. You are warned.
I finished Among Others in the last five minutes of my open house yesterday. I had things I had to do when I got home, so it was three hours before I got around to having this phone conversation with my sister.
Sister: Can I call you back later?
Me: No, I’ll be busy. But I just need a minute.
Me: I just finished reading a book and I need to tell you something: If we both have to help fairies stop somebody from becoming a dark queen and you get killed, I will not screw it up when it’s time for you to pass on and if I do, I definitely will not thwart your opportunity to become a fairy later.
Sister: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Me: I’m just letting you know that I’d take better care of you than the character in this book I read and I’m very upset with it and I love you.
All the things you’ve heard about Among Others, that the prose is pretty, that it captures what it’s like to grow up as an alienated book nerd, that it captures a love of stories and the power of SF community beautifully, it’s all true. It’s a very good book that does very nice things.
I hate it a lot.
I have serious, serious problems with the thematic concepts behind the idea that Mori did the right thing by deciding to grow up and go be with her boyfriend rather than fix the fact that she screwed up her sister’s afterlife. That was not the right decision, and Mori lost all of my sympathy the moment she made it. She lost it so hard I retroactively withdrew my sympathy for what happened at Halloween which she got only because she was confused and distressed and hadn’t known what was going on or what to expect.
I really don’t care if Wim turns out to be David Xanatos with a TARDIS, or Mori grows up to live a rich fulfilling life that is exactly everything she deserves and which saves the world from athletes. If you get the chance to becoming a faerie and help your dead sister while you do, YOU TAKE IT.