11/5/12

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

You might think from the title of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel & Friends, October 2012, ages 10 and up), that young September's second visit to Fairyland is all fun and parties.  It's not.  Yes, there are revels...but this journey is a rather serious quest through Fairyland Below--one with Consequences.

In September's first adventure (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making), she parted with her shadow.   And her shadow went down below, and became ruler of a land of wild revels, drawing ever more shadows down to her kingdom, and, in so doing, fatally weakening the magic of the land above.   So September decides to set things right (feeling somewhat responsible) and sets of to wake the missing prince of Fairyland below, and somehow bring the shadows back up above, to restore the missing magic.  In her travels, September meets the shadows of old friends, encounters many strange and magical beings (including lovey new friends, like the Night Dodo), and is sorely tested...but, being stubborn and determined, she never gives up. 

Like the first book, this is a somewhat episodic story, but here, because September (and the reader) know what's at stake pretty early on, it's a more clearly focused journey (which I appreciated).   The rich panoply of images and descriptions, and the unforgettable persons and places, full of marvellous detail, still comprise the bulk of the story telling, but the more serious focus, and September's greater self-awareness, make this one richer and deeper.

I enjoyed it very much (despite the fact that the Intrusive Narrator claimed to be my friend at one point, which I thought was presumptuous).

Note on age:  although this is one that is just fine for all ages, 13 year old September is very much the upper-middle-school-aged archetype--she does get her first kiss, but the YA themes of romance and separation aren't here.  Instead, it's a book about finding oneself in the context of friends and family (while having fantastical adventures).

Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

8 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I agree with you that it was more focused, which I liked (but still, can you top the first book?!). *sigh* I adore Fairyland.

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    1. It really is a wonderful place! Certainly one of the most richly described Fairylands to come along in recent times.

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  2. I'm reading this one right now. It's so beautifully written. And I also agree that September's journey is pretty focused.

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    1. Yes, it was a pleasure to read her writing!

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  3. Nice to hear that this one's more focused than the last! I enjoyed the first one, but didn't love love it, and one reason was indeed the episodic nature of the story. I like things in episodes but I do tend to prefer the feeling that the writer is doing a long con. (In TV too.)

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    1. You will probably like this one more too then! I'm thinking the tighter focus comes from the fact that she wrote the first one in episodes, and this one was to be a book of its own from the get go. And knowing her main character better, and having past events to play off of, must have helped as well!

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  4. I *loved* this book, especially for the beautiful writing. I definitely gushed in my review for this one!

    And I don't mind if the Narrator wants to be my friend. ;)

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  5. I have this but haven't found time to read it! Need.More.Hours.In.Day!!!

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