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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.
"This book is quite simply a gold mine." -- Booklist, Starred Review
"Amusing, wrenching, and thought-provoking." -- The Horn Book
If there's ever a word to describe Catherynne Valente's writing, it's luscious.
I find the characters fun, the story involving, and the setting the perfect backdrop And Valente's writing style is absolutely superb.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, and suggest that they read it aloud to younger readers rather than just handing it off.
The cover is the best part of this book. The book did have a few good moments (and a quite good twist at the end ala the movie Inception) but it was all buried under a mountain of... Read morePublished 9 days ago by LostWorlds
“The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making” is the first book in a fantasy series about a girl named September and her adventures in a magical place called... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Young Mensan BookParade
A beautifully crafted read that mixes whimsical silliness with bits of profound insight that can give me the warm tinglies. Read morePublished 23 days ago by rollen
Fantastic! A whimsical Alice in Wonderland feel, with non stop adventure!Published 25 days ago by Amandine
If I.Q. were a measure of strength of imagination, Catherynne Valente would most certainly be the Albert Einstein of writers. Read morePublished 28 days ago by dang_rover
Read this Princess Bride style to my five year old, a chapter a night. Our first real foray outside of the abysmal little golden book style of bedtime stories; save the sainted Dr. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BobDobbs
Wonderful and imaginative read that takes a page from the likes of Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. Recommended for older children and the family. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Farrin
Wow! I love this book! It is officially on my favorite books list!! Read more