Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review of Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making

I do believe that is the longest title for a post I have ever written. However, I must say the lengthy whimsy of Valene's book title is fitting for the wonderful meandering of the story itself. (Also, any book with a fun word like "circumnavigated" will always draw my attention). The story follows the many (mis)adventures of September, the book's unwitting heroine, who seizes an unexpected opportunity to leave her mundane life behind to visit Fairyland. But when she arrives, September discovers the land has been ruined by the many rules of the tyrannical Marquess, who issues such unreasonable orders as every dragon must chain its wings as such beasts are not authorized for flight.

Here are the 3 top reasons you should read The Girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making:

1. Quests for the absurd abound. September doesn't set out to oppose the Marquess, merely to take back a witch's spoon. But the consequences of that choice set her on a wild, wondrous journey that risks her life, heart, and shadow.

3. Alice in Wonderland would feel right at home in Valente's Fairyland, which is brimming over with the bizarre. There are herds of living Velocipedes, Marids (djinn) who meet their future children before their spouse, reverse werewolves (who are always wolves except on full moons), and golems made of lovely scented soap scraps.

4. The Marquess is one of the best villains I have encountered on the page in awhile. She is cruel, yes, but the heartbreaking history that made her so is equally cruel. She is not a stereotypical, flat character, for the choices she made out bitterness and hurt are uncomfortably human.

This novel nourished and enriched my imagination like a rick, dark gold maple syrup poured into all the folds of my brain. I can't wait to read the sequels!

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