Review No.45 – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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

Corsair, 2012

Whisked away from her perfectly ordinary home by the inexplicable Green Wind, on the back of his Leopard, September is ready for adventures. When she falls into Fairyland, however, it is not quite as she had expected. The land is buckling under the rule of the malicious Marquess. September sets off to do something about it, encountering along the way an encyclopaedic wyvern, a migration of bicycles and a caged boy called Saturday. But her quest shifts unpredictably under her feet. What can September do to stop the Marquess’s destruction – and what will it cost her?

What an irresistible title this book has! My library’s Corsair reprint of the 2011 novel is a beautiful, whimsical paperback that promises a great deal, and lives up to it with a mad adventure that is equal parts exuberant and poignant. In the tradition of Lewis Carroll and Maurice Sendak, but with a style that is entirely her own, Valente has created a book that feels like a journey, and one that I didn’t want to end. Fortunately its sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, was released earlier this year. I can’t wait to get hold of it.

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