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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 is a very creative book with lots of fun absurdity. It channels Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and other old-time children's books, although at a higher level than those... Read morePublished 2 days ago by ncgedanken
This book was such a wonderful and fresh read. I thoroughly enjoyed journeying with September on her adventure to Fairyland. Read morePublished 8 days ago by TheInsatiableBookie
A work of art, that's all there is to it. As an author, I wished I had written it, which is in some ways the highest complement we crazy writers can give.Published 17 days ago by Christina M. Bauer
I'm so thrilled that this is just the first book of a series- it's got so much promise and the writing is sophisticated yet inviting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jenn
My daughter loves fantasy books and it sounded like this book would appeal to her. It did and so did its sequel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Young
I rarely review. Mostly bc my mother taught me if I didn't have anything nice to say, shut the hell up. Read morePublished 1 month ago by RavenWriter
My daughter wasn't too sure of this book and after diving in she loved it and wanted to read morePublished 1 month ago by fred
I read this story after being given it by a friend. I found a incretible and sweet book filed with love and a great plot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jennifer
My daughter loved this book.She read the first one and was so anxious for this to come. She read me the first chapter as I made dinner one night and I have to say it is a very well... Read morePublished 1 month ago by CPA in CA