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A Look at Ana Juan's Illustrations for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
|Exeunt on a Leopard||The Wyverary|
|Thy Mother's Sword||One Hundred Years Old|
Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making: sweet fairytale, shot through with salty tears -- magic!
Feiwel & Friends has done the world an enormous service by putting The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente's extraordinary, award-winning, free web-novel, between covers. What's more, they've augmented it with Ana Juan's wonderful illustrations, one for every chapter.
Fairyland is a book that is both deeply in love with fairy tales and sharply critical of them: the story of September, a girl who flies from her dreary and sad life in Nebraska to Fairyland on the Green Wind. In Fairyland, she meets every sort of wonderful mythical beast (including a wyvern that's half library), eats the most wonderful and strange things, and has the most wonderful and extraordinary adventures and quests. And it really is wonderful: whimsical and lyrical and shot through with an imagination that simultaneously renders the traditional furniture of fairy tales fresh, and manages to make the author's own inventions seem as mythic as the first story told in the first cave in front of the first fire.
But Valente's fairytale broods and seethes, and it is not always such a nice place. For every velocipede herd thundering across the plain, ridden by a marvelous fairy in aviator's leathers and jodhpurs, there's a whipped blue water-djinn who bears the emotional scars of slavery. For every autumn kingdom filled with fiery sylvan alchemists, there is a political exile in the winter country, banished and sorrowing. For every brave sacrifice from September's companions, there's an abandoned soap golem that wishes the good queen would restore Fairyland to its glory.
And that's what makes Valente's work so truly fairytale fantastic: the sense that the magic sweetness is alloyed with a pinch of salty tears that makes it all so flavorful and complex, a wonder streaked with anxiety. So as September embarks on her quest to topple the evil Marquess who is bent on remaking Fairyland so that it is as dull and regimented as Omaha, Nebraska, we cheer her on, fear for her, and wonder, a little, if she might not be on the wrong side of the war.
Valente's lyrical fairytale is billed as a young adult novel, but like all the very best young adult novels, this is a book that can (and should be!) enjoyed by grown ups too.
After reading the first page and a half, I realized the writing was atrocious! When the title of the first chapter is in Latin, you know you're in trouble. Read morePublished 9 hours ago by Chris
Excellent book for my 4th grade advanced students. It's hard to find appropriate books for them, and this book fit the bill. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Becky
I'm afraid I like to read books that are stories. The prose was lush, and at times captivating, however, after I read half the book I didn't see the story going anywhere. Read morePublished 18 days ago by D. Robinson
My nine year old daughter says that this was a good fantasy book with a lot of detail. The characters were funny, but the scary parts were bizarre.Published 1 month ago by Cherie-Lee J T Stafford
Imaginative and resplendent with Valente's particular flourish for language. I even teared up a little, there at the end. However, I was also a little bored throughout the middle. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sadie Forsythe
Among tales about little girls who get whisked away to fairyland, this one stands out for a less than perfect heroine, September. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Ang
The story and imagination of the author are phenomenal. But you should be warned that each sentence is packed with quite a lot of information. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kristopher Chavez