Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review | The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own MakingThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the first book in Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series.

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

I just went six months without a single 5-star read and then suddenly I read two in a row!

I'm the king of the world!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was a beautiful read. The writing was so brilliant and so imaginative. I absolutely loved it.

There was a lot of this:

One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.

And it made me feel just like this:

There is a place, September, oh, very far from Pandemonium. A place where it is always autumn, where there is always cider and pumpkin pie, where leaves are always orange and fresh-cut wood is always burning and it is always, just always Halloween.

That's one of the best feelings in the world right there, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was simply a joy to read.

There was a whole host of imaginative characters in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and I loved every single one of them. Even the evil Marquess. September was an awesome little girl to follow on an adventure. I totally fell in love with her, and I cannot wait to start another adventure with her in the second book.

I have to say, the ending to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is exactly how I wish all books in a series would end. There was enough closure to feel like I was given the entire story, but also a spark of excitement for what's to come.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is an imaginative coming-of-age fairy tale that I highly recommend to anyone who is young at heart. It is one I am certain to revisit again and again.

10/10: Awesome


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  1. Good to hear that this one had a bit of a cliffhanger but enough wrap up that you felt satisfied, those are the best kind of endings! So happy that you are having better luck with books lately, Jennifer! I'd say you were definitely due for a 5 star read. I haven't picked this one up yet, but everyone seems to love it so damn much that I think I may have to grab myself a copy. Fabulous review!

  2. Now I am especially interested to read this!

  3. This sounds really different! I also love a book with great characters that really brings everything to life! I also had a few more 5 stars reads lately it seems like 2013 is a great reading year! ;)

  4. Glad you loved this one! I thought it was lovely and Valente is such an amazing author. I thought the second one was even better than the first, look forward to seeing what you think of that one. :)

  5. I agree with your review. The originality in the story and the uniqueness of the characters (Wyverary and Gleam) are what made this one so special for me. I also fell in love with the author's voice. Such an awesome book!

  6. I'll definitely pick this one up. Thanks Jen!

  7. OH jeez those were AWESOME quotes you picked to share with us - it makes me want to pick it up and read it stat. It's been on my shelf forever! YES! a books in a series still SHOULD be its OWN story I know exactly what you mean! I hate when they aren't!
    Pabkins @ My Shelf Confessions

  8. Why haven't I read this yet? Smack me! Okay, no need to do that, but this review finally convinced me.


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