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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente {4.5 Stars}

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente is a wonderfully whimsical story reminiscent of classic children’s literature such as Alice in Wonderland. The writing is more beautiful than I can properly describe, there are lovely illustrations at the start of each chapter, and Fairyland is much more sinister than it first seems, though also full of lovely friends that both September and I quickly came to adore. The fact that our main character is named September, the title is so long, and the secondary characters have names such as A-through-L and Saturday already gives you a pretty accurate feel for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making ;-).

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente {4.5 Stars}

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (Fairyland #1)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 10th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 247 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • The writing of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is really the strongest and most wonderful part of the book. It flows beautifully, gives you absolutely stunning imagery of Fairyland and literally made me laugh out loud on an airplane >.>. People gave me funny looks but I don’t care!
  • The world described in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is vast and intriguing. We obviously get to see a fair amount of it since September has to circumnavigate it, but even with all that I found out about Fairyland, I just want to know more. September visits the realm of Autumn and ventures into Winter, but that just makes me want to visit Summer and Spring too!
  • I absolutely adore the secondary characters in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making! A-through-L is kind of a wyvern (I want you to get to experience his full explanation instead of me mucking it up ;-) ) and is featured on the cover. He knows everything there is to know about anything that starts with letters A-through-L but his siblings are the ones who know the rest of the alphabet and I really really want to meet them. There is also a young boy named Saturday who is meek and quiet but so perceptive and kind *tears up*. Just gah! I love them okay??
  • One of my favorite things about the style of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is that the narrator breaks the fourth wall quite a bit. The narrator speaks directly to the reader in such a cheeky style that I actually had to read passages out loud to my friend because they were just too priceless. If you are a fan of quotes, you are going to find yourself saving A LOT of quotes ;-).
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making fantastically sets up the subsequent books. There are some really dire hints at the end that something big is brewing in Fairyland and that reminds me that I need to go pick up a copy of book two *wanders off*. But seriously, you are so lucky that three books are already out so that you don’t have to wait! I can’t imagine having to wait for book two to be published D:

Weaknesses:

  • For the most part The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is completely romance free because it is middle grade/children’s literature. However, that lovely point is spoiled eventually in a weird way and I found myself quite unhappy knowing that there will be romance in subsequent books….
  • I actually almost DNF’d this one right at the beginning because the writing definitely takes getting used to. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is definitely not a light and fast read because the writing is so whimsical. You really have to be able to concentrate to get started, but it is completely worth it!

Summary:

I can’t believe I waited so long to read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and I highly advise you to not make my mistake for much longer! If you enjoy the more classic children’s literature style of whimsical and rich writing in a portal fantasy setting, then you have to grab this book. I can imagine that it isn’t for everyone, but I think most fantasy fans will love The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

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

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! It really is such a whimsical read, very magical :) I can’t wait to read the third novel (so far the first one is still my favourite :))
    Lianne @ caffeinatedlife.net recently posted…Review: The Book of Lost ThingsMy Profile

    • So much awesome! I keep meaning to request the second from the library, but I bought all three for my friend for her birthday just because of my love of book one :D

  2. See you’re pretty wrong – there really isn’t romance in the next two books. So don’t worry. It’s pretty much what you saw here the hints of things that could happen in the future. I think the three books that are currently out are the end of a trilogy arc in this world. The fourth I know features a completely different kid and I can tell you these books never become romantic like you might be thinking.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Dark Eden by Chris BeckettMy Profile

  3. I’ve heard of this title off and on for years, but I’ve never picked it up. But it does sound like Wonderland, but with more plot! I’ll definitely have to give it a shot, to see the writing style if nothing else. Great review!
    Kel (Booked til Tuesday) recently posted…Updates: Family & Book BuyingMy Profile

  4. AHHHH, I adore this series! Such whimsy and creativity and heart! I also think Valente does an amazing job of making each of the Fairyland books it’s very own adventure. Book #2 was actually my favorite – I think you’ll love it! Instant classics, all…
    Cecelia recently posted…love in the time of global warmingMy Profile

  5. It’s been a while since I read anything MG, but I like the idea of a more sinister fairyland and a book-loving wyvern.

    • Then I think you would really like this one! The writing level is definitely not MG so it is weird to try to classify it, haha

  6. I am so, so happy that you enjoyed this one Anya :D It really is a book that you cannot read quickly or distractedly…which might be partly why I struggled a bit more with the sequel >.< but yeah, I adored the whimsical writing style of this one, not to mention the host of ADORABLE characters! Fairyland was brilliant of course and I loved exploring it too! And YES: SO MANY QUOTES ♥ Gah!! I can't wait to compare notes on the sequel ;-)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Born of CorruptionMy Profile

    • Good to know about the sequel, I’m thinking of taking some days off to read during Bout of Books so maybe I’ll try then so that I can really sink in, haha.

  7. I loved this one. I think Valente’s writing is always so lyrical! It does get surprisingly dark near the end, given that it is (I suppose?) children’s literature. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but it’s on my to-read list.
    Allie recently posted…Review: Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim PowersMy Profile

    • It is such beautiful writing! I guess it seems like the classic “children’s” literature that really seemed more appropriate for adults, haha. I’m hoping to get to book two soon, but I need to grab a copy first hehe

  8. This is a YA book that forced me to the dictionary at one time. I loved it. I have tried to grab the audio for the next one several times but Overdrive is currently kicking my ass.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Traveling – Quest ObjectsMy Profile

    • Hehe, I’m honestly not sure if it is classified as YA, middle grade maybe? But almost adult if you go by reading level…. This is why these genre distinctions don’t make any sense D:

  9. This is one of my favorite series now. I did have some things I did not like about the third book, but it has some amazing library quotes and moments, so I had to forgive it for not being absolutely perfect.
    Kristen recently posted…Book Review: The One Safe PlaceMy Profile

    • Oo intriguing, I don’t want to know what you didn’t like about book three yet, but I’ll definitely be reading it so we can discuss then :D

  10. This book looks good, but I’m not sure if it’s my kind of book or not. I never liked Alice in Wonderland. You made me curious about the bad romantic aspect. As always, nice review.

    • I honestly wasn’t an Alice in Wonderland fan either, so don’t let that put you off ;-). If you like fun and whimsical writing, then this is your kind of book :)

  11. Yesss I loved this book, though I do agree that the writing takes awhile to get used to. ANd WHAT? There’s going to be romance later on in the series? That’s…interesting, I didn’t catch on that in the first book. I’m still planning to read the sequels though. :D
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #21My Profile

    • Do you remember when there is a young girl at the end and Saturday asks September if she saw their daughter? I assume that there is romance, I guess babies could be produced without, haha. I’m definitely still going to read all the books since it seems likely that the romance might not even be mentioned for a while again.

  12. I’ve seen this book around and love the cover and title. I wasn’t sure how it would be since it’s a middle grade book, but it doesn’t sound like it reads as too young at all. Great review, Anya.

  13. I love the cover but I don’t think this would be up my alley. However, it is going on the gift list for a young reader I know :)
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: The Sweetest Revenge by Dawn HallidayMy Profile

    • It is surprisingly advanced for the cover, so hopefully the young reader is at a pretty good reading level already ;-)

Trackbacks

  1. […] – I have only read the first Fairyland book from Valente, but I already know that I will read ANYTHING she writes. I have been saving the rest […]

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