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

Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:13
Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Author: Catherynne M.Valente
Publication Date: May 10th, 2011
Genres: Young adult,  Science Fiction Fantasy
Rating: 5 of 5 stars


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.


Remember the first time you read a book?

Remember the feeling of reading your first book?

Remember how much you loved that first book you read?

Remember how you wished you'd get all those feelings back while reading other books?

It is completely safe to say that I got them back, all those diverse feelings of reading one's first book. I got them back while reading this book and I felt like a small child giggling with joy. This book just restored all the happiness and sweetness I so dearly miss these days. 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a brilliant and a delightful escape from reality. This book made me realize why I love reading so much. It is completely witty and has a lot of depth and it is certainly not a children's book because I think adults would benefit more from this book. 

"Readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief."

The story starts off with a girl named September who is whisked away by means of a leopard to Fairyland where she has the time of her life! In Fairyland, she decides to go on a adventure because that's what ravished girls do in Fairyland, don't they? They go on adventures, solve puzzles and celebrate happily in the end. 

But everything is not so easy in Fairyland anymore. An evil bureaucracy has turned the lovely lawless Fairyland into a land filled with rules and slavery, just like our world. 

"We all live inside the terrible engine of authority, and it grinds and shrieks and burns so that no one will say, lines on a map are silly. Where you live, the machinery is smaller, harder to see. Less honest, that's all.

In Fairyland, September meets a lot of queer creatures like the Wyverary, a wish-granting Marid, witches, fairies, spriggans, velocipedes and many more fantastical creatures whilst she goes on a quest to retrieve a spoon for the witches from the evil queen, Marquess. I found all these creatures to be adorable, cute and sometimes a bit like dark chocolate. 

Our heroine, September is one of the best protagonistsI've ever come across. She is kind, spirited, brave, bold and just lovely on the whole. I must say that the supporting characters were truly outstanding in this book. Very few novels have memorable supporting characters but this book justshines in all aspects.

"It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else."

The story is simple and not really that complex but it's Valente's writing that made this read an unforgettable one. Her narration was fluid and warm and it flowed like honey; rich and golden. I completely immersed myself in her writing like one would in a hot tub. 

In the end, I teared up. I mean, this book is so adorable and whimsical and it's all coming to an end, isn't it? When a book evokes a truckload of emotions and memories, one would always run from the inevitable ending. Sigh. 

"Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out or cause trouble."

I've heard that goodbyes are only temporary and in this case, I'm glad that it is very true. Never have I ever come across a book that reminded me so much of so many things. Highly recommended.

Hershey