The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
by Catherynne M. Valente
Rating: PG; 5 stars
Summary: One ordinary in day Omaha, Nebraska, twelve-year-old September is whisked from her house and into Fairyland by the Green Wind. Once there, she finds that fairies are not as they seem in stories. She also learns about the cruel Marquess who has recently taken the throne in Fairyland. As she journeys through Fairyland, she makes many friends and learns a great deal, both about herself and about the inhabitants of Fairyland itself.
Opinions: The minute I started this book I was enjoying it. I probably actually fell in love with it the minute I read the title. It is a wonderful title, isn't it? This book reminded me of a combination of The Tale of Despereaux and Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland. The narrator occasionally breaks the fourth wall, as in Depereaux, but the book has that same sense of magic and wonder that Alice has.
There is such a sense of wonder to this book. There is this tone to the story that everything is new, even to the narrator. This wonder really brings the reader in and makes you want to keep going. I loved the fact that traditional fairy lore was used but was totally reinvented. There's a trend nowadays for fairy books to be very edgy and contemporary, and there's nothing wrong with that at all (I'm a huge fan of several of those books), but sometimes it's nice to come back home to a cozier story.
Not that this story was all rainbows and kittens. There were some downright scary parts to it, and I'm in college; I don't (or at least, I shouldn't) scare the same way the intended audience (ages 10-14) does. The Marquess is quite the frightening lady, though. There's also a scene, involving Autumn, that was rather terrifying.
The story is rather episodic, hence my summary is so short. And everything is really intertwined, so by the time I explain one thing, I'd have to explain another, and soon the whole book is given away. I rather like that about it, though. It means that you can read it in small chunks and still be satisfied, but the bigger picture is definitely what makes the whole thing worthwhile.
I rated this book PG because of the scary parts, and also there's some violence. Not very graphic violence, but there are quite a few mentions of blood. I gave this book 5 stars because I absolutely loved it. I loved the storyline, the characters, the world, and definitely the writing style. I really think the writing is what sold me. This is a book meant for younger audiences, in relation to the YA books I usually read, but because of the way it was written, I didn't feel for a moment like I was too old for the book. Nor do I think that it is inappropriately written for its audience. This is one of those books that I can imagine parents reading to young children (and enjoying as much as the kids do) and older children reading it themselves. In any case, I gave this book 5 stars because of how much I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful book, and I am definitely going to be buying it as a gift for someone in the near future.
This book was sent to me by the publisher.