Monday, 1 October 2012

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

Finished September 30
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

This children's novel attracted me by the title, but that is just a couple of chapters of the story. September is the name of the girl, and when asked by the Green Wind if she wants to go to Fairyland, she doesn't hesitate. The time is World War II (although not stated explicitly) and her father is off in Europe where the war is, while her mother builds airplane engines. September is quite handy herself, as she proves along the way.
Getting into Fairyland isn't as easy as she thinks, and she finds that there is more than one way of doing it. Once she arrives, she finds that Fairyland itself has undergone a few changes, and the one in charge seems to be a bit of a tyrant, especially compared to the previous well-loved Queen Mallow.
This book talks about losing one's heart and the tendency towards heartlessness in many children, but also the changes that take place as one gets to care about others. September is an adventurous child, but also one who is willing to make friends and take care of those she believes deserve it. She is a good judge of character, and not as heartless as she thinks.
From soap sculpture characters to large dragon-like creatures, from sea creatures to walking lanterns, September finds many interesting friends along her journey. Her actions will bind her to Fairyland in a way she never imagined.
I particularly loved the Wyverary, a creature whose mother was a Wyvern and whose father was a Library. His knowledge is limited to A to L, but very useful still. September herself likes words, and is a reader who "liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying."
The Fairyland portrayed here is an interesting one, with certain rules, places that move around, and dangerous forests. A great place for an adventure for a young girl with an attitude.

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