Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...

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


May 10th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Locus Award for Best Young Adult (2012)
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children's Literature (2012)
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2009)
Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011)


My Rating: 
4.5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

My Thoughts:

First of all, THAT TITLE! What a mouth full! It's a very fun and intriguing title, though, and is what interested me most and spurred me to read it. I've never been the biggest fan of the 'fairy' sub-genre. The books I have read were all very similar and covered the same mythical creatures and plot lines. This book, on the other hand, surprised me very much, kept me entertained and intrigued, and was overall a very fun and adventurous read.  I think the only thing in this book that I could relate to other 'fairy' fiction that I've read before is the mention of 'changelings'.  I'm very glad that I gave it a chance.

It starts out with our main character, a girl named September, who is quite bored with her life and jumps at the chance to whisked away to Fairyland by The Green Wind on a flying leopard. Once there, she encounters all sorts of  extraordinary characters and fantastical creatures. She sets out to right the wrongs of the evil Marquess and finds herself in one dire plot twist after another, traveling through seasons and questing for magical items.

I was quite surprised by this book. Firstly, because it is nothing like traditional fairyland stories. It is it's own imaginative world that was extremely fun to read. I think my favorite thing about this book was the Wyverary (a wyvern that claimed his father was a library). I also really loved the autumn/winter parts of the book even though they were a bit complex.

My only problem with the book was the very graphic killing of the fish and the death of the paper lantern (yes, there was blood involved, even with the paper lantern) that made me question whether or not this is truly a good book for young children. It would really depend on the child, seeing how this is a bit more than just a chapter book. There are also a lot of rare words that children would be confused by but I particularly love books that include big or rare words so that they expand the reader's vocabulary. 


Here's a little book video for it!

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