February 4th, 2012
From one kind of magic to another seems to be the theme around here lately. Jo Walton’s ridiculously good novel, Among Others, while dealing with a similar kind of world, where magic exists as reality and not illusion, couldn’t be more different than The Night Circus. The novel follows the diary of 17-year-old Morwenna Phelps, who after living through the horrific death of her twin sister, which leaves her disabled and walking with a cane, is shipped off to live with her estranged father in England, where it’s exceptionally hard to see the fairies.
Promptly enrolled in boarding school, Mor tries to make sense of the world, and, as if it’s hard enough being a teenager, she’s got to contend with a terrible witch for a mother, aunts insistent upon casting their own spells, and a crush on an adorably inappropriate boy in her science fiction book club. An outcast if there ever was one, Mor’s also incredibly strong-willed, fiercely intelligent, and remarkably brave in terms of the troubles she endures. When my friend Dan sent the book over to me, he implored me to ignore the cover, which is, honestly, quite terrible — and I’m ever so glad that I did. I devoured this novel. I simply couldn’t put it down, then I gave it to a friend at work just so she could read it and I’d have someone to talk to about it. I didn’t want it to end — I was so proud of Mor and how she dealt with her tragedies, and I haven’t rooted for a female character like this since Katniss volunteered in The Hunger Games. (more…)