Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente. The GoodReads summary:
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
I’m feeling very a bit on the lazy side, so I’m just going with the good ol’ bullet-point format for this review:
-This book was definitely quirky. It kinda reminded me of a mixture of Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

-It seemed more like a children’s book for adults rather than a children’s book for children. Like, it was trying so hard to be unique and clever that I feel like a lot of it would go over a kid’s head or just be unappreciated by that age group.

-The book has a lot of description, as well as frequent interpolations by the narrator. Which is part of what makes me think this book would go less appreciated by children than by adults. But I generally felt that while the descriptions, etc., were witty and observant, they also made the book drag a little.

-I wasn’t that fond of September as a main character at first, but she did grow on me and I came to like her for her courage and pluck. Similarly, it took me about half the book to really get into the story, but once I did, it was all smooth sailing from there.

-I really loved the resolution with the evil Marquess. It was probably my favorite part of the book, actually. I was totally not expecting it to work out the way it did, and I just love it when a story works itself out much more skillfully and sensitively than I was anticipating.
Overall, a unique and quirky book that felt more geared for older readers who are young at heart than for actual children.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

1 comment:

  1. This was one of the last books I bought for myself in 2012 and it is on my summer reading list. I wish you liked it a little bit more, but I'm still looking forward to reading it myself. Great review!


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