Name: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Date published: 7th June 2012
Source: For review
Rating: 4 teacups
Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other. September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).
When she gets there, she finds a land in crisis and confusion - crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.
As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a partly human boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes; loses her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .
[summary taken from Goodreads]
There is something really beautiful about Catherynne Valente's writing style. Her wording and descriptions and the way she builds up her sentences are just stunning! There were parts in the book where I felt that I had to go back and read some of it out loud or at least linger over the words just to fully appreciate it. Bizarre - I know! The style of writing featured definitely deserves top marks for its ornateness: it's as if the author smothered a plain sheet of paper with gems and jewels of scrawling ink, creating a breathtakingly beautiful masterpiece. I could gush about her writing for ages, but I'll spare you...
I loved the way the book was set out: the third-person narrative was really effective and it truly felt like I was reading a childhood fairytale - with the witty narrator who tells the story adding a touch of light pessimism and suspense. There's a true whimsical feel to the book, where you abandon your common sense and just believe everything Catherynne Valente tells you and I loved that aspect.
But it was hard for me to get into the book at the beginning and I was incredibly confused by what was going on. I thought: 'There is no hope if the rest is like this!' Thank goodness everything fell into place later and I didn't need to concentrate too hard on every detail: I was a happy reader :) My advice would be don't give up on it!
Throughout the book, I was introduced to a colourful array of characters: all quirky and eccentric in their own way. The main character, September, is a brave, stubborn, courageous 12-year-old who I adored because of her maturity and willingness to stand up for friends and I didn't think she was 'Heartless' at all. And how can I not mention A-Through-L, her companion the 'Wyverary'? Apparently he is half-Wyvern, half-library! Hmm... how can you debate with that? ;) He was such a good friend and his determination to protect September was adorable. There were many others, from Saturday the blue Marid to Doctor Fallow the Spriggan - oh and there was the little pooka girl who seemed like the dearest, most innocent soul ever! I felt like I was going to burst with adoration for her!
However, by the end I felt pretty overwhelmed and was just as tired as September. Don't get me wrong - I loved every member of the bright, cheerful cast! - but I wish the number of characters was cut down to let me get to know each one in more depth - instead of spending a chapter with one and then flying off to meet the next. The chapters were also a bit long for my liking, it was difficult to find suitable places to stop so make sure you have more time to spare when you read it. On top of this, the overall book seemed too lengthy as well and while each chapter shaped the story as a whole, some of the chapters could have been shortened and merged with another.
Overall, a sweet whimsical story full of fun and laughter and courage and standing up for what you believe in. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is a modern fairytale for teens, written exquisitely and ornately by a wonderful new author. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series but I just hope that the flaws I mentioned won't be making an appearance in the following reads!
4 teacups for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland
Remember to look out for the Fairyland blog tour which will be stopping by on Saturday 16th for an interview, guest post AND a giveaway!