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Michelle

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairlyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

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I first noticed this book when I saw an advert for it, and I requested a review copy just because I loved the cover! The publishers very kindly sent out a copy, and thankfully the contents didn’t let me down.

On face value, this is a fairytale for children – September is a twelve year old girl who’s taken away by a Green Wind and a Leopard, and taken to Fairyland. She meets some strange characters, gets involved in some strange incidents, and goes on a quest. However, things are not as they should be, and September may just be the person to fix things.

This is not, however, *just* a tale for children, as there’s plenty on offer for adults. It’s an imaginative world, where the usual rules don’t apply, and nothing is really as it seems. The writing style is lyrical and rather wonderful, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the world, and almost hope to visit!

It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and Labyrinth, with a proper plot running through, and some colourful, memorable characters, such as the wonderfully loyal dragon who believes his father is a library! I’m hoping Catherynne returns to this world soon, and I’d love to see it made into a film.

Recommended for children, and those young at heart – lose yourself in this weird but delightful world.

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I have this on my wish list as I loved the title - I found it on Fantastic Fiction. You'll be glad to know there is a second one called The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led the revels there, which is due out at the end of this year.

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I absolutely love the title of this and it sounds great - definitely one for the wishlist, and hopefully a relatively immediate purchase!

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This sounds delightful, am going to see if I can get it from the library.

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This has been on my wish list for quite some time now. :)

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I made the mistake of starting this one in the bath earlier on and 60 pages later I was so engrossed I hadn't noticed the water going cold or my very wrinkly toes!

 

I'm not sure what age group this story is really aimed at as the writing style, as Michelle says, is quite lyrical and musical but there are words in there that have made me stop and think, like vichyssoise. I get the idea that it's a wonderful book to read out loud to a group but how old would they have to be to understand phrases like diplomatic immunity?

 

So far though, I'm loving this story. Anything that pulls you away from the dreary world we live in, to a fantastical world of colours and loveable creatures can't be a bad thing.

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Lots of people adding it to their wish list, has anyone read it yet?

 

I've just finished the sequel..

 

Another great cover, and another long title! ‘The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There‘ follows on from ‘The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making‘, which I reviewed last year. It’s probably not necessary to read the 1st, if you’ve picked up this one, but it would certainly add to the experience, so I would recommend going back if possible.

 

Both books are quite difficult to describe, and I don’t think my reviews do them justice. They are, in essence, wonderful fairy stories, with some very imaginative creatures and characters. Catherynne’s style is very lyrical, and no matter what strange thing she is describing, the words seem to flow from the page.

 

Most of the important characters from her earlier adventure are there, but are not themselves. In the world under Fairlyland, she meets their shadows, almost the same, but with differences – some subtle, some not so subtle. Her own shadow, taken from her during that first adventure, is in charge, and September feels that things are not right, and it’s up to her to put it right.

 

Amongst the strangeness and magic, there are serious themes and truths, and this felt like a more grown up book than the 1st. September is now a young teenager, and throughout her adventure, she somehow manages to go through those usual teen thoughts and situations, including learning to think about others, her plans for her future, and her first kiss.

 

I don’t see these books mentioned enough, and I think they have the potential to be future classics – younger readers will enjoy the magical strangeness, whilst those a little older will start to see a little deeper. There are many layers, and I’m sure I will find more on re-reading.

Recommended for readers of all ages who enjoy falling into a book and getting lost there.

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