16 Apr 2014

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.

SOURCE: Received for review from publishers Constable & Robinson whose catalogue can be found HERE.

September is a twelve-year-old girl from Omaha. With her dad fighting a faraway war,and her mum always out at work, she is lonely, stuck in a rut and starved of adventure. So when a Green Wind arrives at her window and invites her to Fairyland she accepts in a flash (mightn't you?).

But Fairyland is in crisis, crushed by the iron rule of the villainous Marquess - and September holds the key to restoring order.

With a book-loving dragon and a mysterious boy named Saturday by her side, she sets out on a thrilling quest to fix things. But time is short, and time is ticking, and every story must have an ending. Can September save Fairyland? Can she even save herself?
 ..... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: Exeunt on a Leopard}: Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents' house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillows, and played with the same small and amiable dog.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS {Page 167}: The Wyverary drifted helplessly to sleep, sitting up. He snored lightly; it sounded like pages turning.

MY THOUGHTS: Having seen it featured and positively raved about on so many blogs this has been on my Wish List for a long time but I kept putting off for fear it may not live up to all the hype. Something as it turns out it both did and didn't do.

For the sites requiring a star rating, as an exceptionally whimsical and magical read with some truly memorable characters aimed at ten to fourteen year olds I'd have to rate The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland a solid four, perhaps even five, out of five. But older than the intended audience and given there is so much more to a book than merely an original plot and fanciful characters I'm having difficulty in rating it.

Overall I felt this was a unique read, a one of a kind, and yet at the same time there were elements of it that were so reminiscent of other works - of authors such as Terry Pratchett and Lewis Carrol, of books such as Alice In Wonderland and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - that I found myself feeling a bit let down.

Full to bursting point of wonderfully imaginative characters and creatures too numerous to mention though I will make exception for my favourite A-Through-L the wyverary (a wyverary being the result of a wyvern and a library who happen to love each other very much). My problem being there were simply too many and whilst some were woefully underused (the three witches, Hello, Goodbye and Manythanks come to mind) others, seemingly only there to tantalise, disappointingly never got anything more than the briefest of mentions.

Though undeniably creative and full of delightful imagery, imagery so vivid as to make it perfect for a movie adaptation (arguably something the author had in mind whilst writing the book) whilst I'm sure the story would have appealed to my childhood self it just didn't live up to my adult expectations hence the final mark of a lesser if still respectable rating of three out of five.


Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.
Disclaimer:  Read and reviewed on behalf of publishers, Constable & Robinson, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.

17 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

I'd never heard of this one. If it's getting a lot of buzz, I definitely have to read it!

Sherry Ellis said...

It will be interesting to see if this book is ever adapted as a movie.

Literary Feline said...

I love the sound of this book--it sounds like something I especially would have been able to relate to when I was growing up--and probably dreamed of being able to do too. :-)

I'll keep an eye out for this one to add to my daughter's library. I know she's not old enough for it yet, but eventually . . .

Kelly said...

I enjoy your reviews of YA and Children's books given I don't seem to have much access to them otherwise. This one sounds interesting.

I think it can be difficult for a children's book (more so than YA or Teen) to have that cross-over appeal for adults. It's hard not to compare to classics from authors like C.S. Lewis, Milne, etc. Some of those book (i.e. Narnia) I never even read until I was grown.

On another topic, even with notifications I think some of my posts fall through the cracks. Since you're one of my few readers that actually enjoys book reviews, please go back and check out the one I posted over the weekend. Not that I need or expect a comment, but it's one you might possibly enjoy given that it's historical fiction.

carol said...

I read this with Amber when she was 11 and she really loved. I didn't so much. I started my review at the time by stating that I was clearly not the right audience for the book.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. It does sound unique, though I'm sorry it was a bit disappointing to you.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

this does sound great for a younger crowd. I'm still curious though!

fairyhedgehog said...

It sounds tantalising: so nearly the book I'd like to read!

A lot of "children's" books do manage that extra something which make them appealing to an adult. It's a pity this one doesn't seem to.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sorry you didn't love this one, but you had me at unique. Just for that I do want to try it for myself! Great review!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I only tend to read either YA fiction, or books from the fantasy genres, when specifically requested to do so by an author or publisher, as neither particularly make up my ideal reading list.

Despite all the hype about this particular book, it isn't a title or author I am familiar with and probably isn't going to make it to my TBR pile, I'm afraid, despite the better than average cover art.

I loved your even handed review and especially liked the analagy between the "light snoring sounding like pages turning"

Can't wait to see what you decide to read next!

Yvonne

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, This has been on my wish list for ages too (I just went to check – and yes, there it is). I love Alice in Wonderland and the Lion, the witch – so maybe I would enjoy this? Or then again, maybe not, I’m going to leave it on my wish list for a while, but I’m sure I wouldn't be able to resist if I saw it in a book shop or the library.
I do enjoy your reviews; you have a knack of being honest but fair.
Have a great weekend. x

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I quite often think authors might have a film version in mind when writing (this is usually when I'm enjoying the book) - sorry it didn't live up to expectations for the adult you. I like the premise though.

Mama Zen said...

Not my thing, but my daughter might enjoy it!

Melliane said...

oh yes I remember seeing this one, it sounds so nice and cute. I think I should try something like that mainly creative and different. thanks for the review!

Claudine G. said...

I can't really remember but I think I gave it a 4*. I was really excited to read this one, and still think the characters were fascinating, but the writing went slightly over what I like, and there were parts when it was a little tedious to read.

Claudine G. said...

Just checked, and I'd given it a 5* previously. I was in a generous mood, I imagine. (Just revised it to a 4 though I'm wishing I could give it a 4.2 or 4.3.)

Gina R said...

Aww... well I suppose we can't fall in love with everyone's favorite books. I personally adore the series although book three is a bit of a stretch. To each their own. Great review nonetheless!