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

Posted July 26, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 17 Comments

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Pages: 247
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Source: I own a copy of this book.

Blurb: 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.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

Review:  Wyverary! Gleam! Saturday! I don’t think a book’s ending has ever made me smile quite like this one. But before I get to the ending, I need to talk about the rest. Listen. I am not good at raving and exclaiming about books that I love. I’m much better at reviews that have something to criticize. Writing reviews for books you love is really hard to do. So this will probably be short. But I’ll try. Take a seat. Now. Heh.

So the one thing you just HAVE to know about this book is that the characters are fantastic. They are exactly the kind of characters you find in a children’s fantasy novel but they are so intelligently rendered that it will make your head explode. EXPLODE. Mine did. I would love to talk to you about them, but beside the protagonist, I think they are best discovered by you reading about them on your own. September, however, is a perfectly precocious and brilliant child. Not everyone is going to like her because she is outspoken and a bit bossy but I really identified with her because this is how I was as a child. And still am. So I kind of fell in love with myself. What a narcissist I am.

When I started reading this novel, I had no idea where it was going or what  the plot was supposed to be. But that’s the beauty of it. And once the book hits its stride, you will be circumnavigating fairyland right along with September. The book is so whimsical. There are shades of Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland in here. Some of it is a little weird but it’s also very cute. Adorable is the perfect word for it. There are talking animals, and on a few occasions I wondered if I was smoking up the ganja. Was I really reading what I was reading? Indeed, I was.

It’s an amazing book. It truly is. It needs to be read by all and if you haven’t gotten to it yet, bump this up on your tbr piles immediately. The ending had me in tears. I mean…I wish I could talk about it. I am DYING to talk about it. There is no cliffhanger. The loose endings were all wrapped up. I was worried about that but the happy ending that I would normally roll my eyes at had me squeeing for joy. There is a little thing at the end that has you thinking about the sequel but it’s nothing that will leave you feeling cheated. 

This is a perfect book in every way. The world-building is utterly detailed and mesmerizing. There are so many intelligent puns and I went “WOW” at this author’s imagination so many times. This is the type of book that has you falling in love with reading all over again. Especially if you are feeling disillusioned. And I was. I cannot wait to read the sequel. I need to have it immediately.

I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite lines/quotes/scenes from the book. There will be a giveaway on the blog coming for this one in August.

“My sister has no shame at all, September,” Goodbye continued. “That’s a very secret thing she did–right in front of you! You see, the future is a kind of stew, a soup, a vichyssoise of the present and the past. That’s how you get the future: You mix up everything you did today with everything you did yesterday and all the days before and everything anyone you ever met did and anyone they ever met, too. And salt and lizard and umbrellas and typewriters and a lot of other things I’m not at liberty to tell you, because I took vows, and a witch’s vows have teeth. Magic is funny like that. It’s not a linear thinker. The point is if you mash it all up together and you have a big enough pot and you’re very good at witchcraft, you can wind up with a cauldron full of tomorrow. That lump of greasy, slimy goop is a prophecy, and my sister cast it for you.” ~page 32-33

Lye poured a bucketful of golden water over September’s head. “When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you’ll never be brave again. Unfortunately, there are not so many facilities in your world that provide the kind of services we do. So most people go around with grimy machinery, when all it would take is a bit of spit and polish to make them paladins once more, bold knights and true.” ~page 60 

Absolutely brilliant book. You should buy a copy. And if you do, use my link to Amazon. The Kindle edition is 6.99: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

17 responses to “Book Review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

  1. I **loved** this book! Also because it scared the crap out of me – the scene in the woods, where she’s turning into a tree? Holy crap.

    You should definitely reading Cathrynne M. Valente’s THE ORPHAN’S TALES duology. It’s like 1001 Mindblowing Nights. Stories within stories. You will get lost – in the best way. I cannot recommend those books enough.

  2. Everyone was squeeing about this at BEA. I didn’t have time to get a copy, but CLEARLY I need to read it. Oh well, I can always stalk your giveaway. Lol.

    • Definitely stalk my giveaway. They had the sequel at BEA. If I had been there and had already read this book, I would be running through the aisles to get to that booth. LOL.

  3. Wow this sounds so awesome! I actually have not heard of this one before but the characters and world building both sound fabulous!!!! I adore the quotations you included from the novel!!! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ Great review!

    Following your blog. Feel free to visit my blog.

    • Thanks for stopping by! It’s a great book! Everything is fabulous! I was already following your blog via GFC but I’ve added you to my Google Reader as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thank you so much for your review!
    I’ve put this on my TBR list when I saw it on a few blogger’s best of 2011 list, and I haven’t gotten around to getting a copy until now.
    I literally have it in front of me (since I was planning to read it–then I saw your review), and I can’t wit to delve into Valente’s world now.
    I hope I’ll love it as much as you did~

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  5. Amy

    This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I have never heard of it, but judging by your review it’s a book I should definitely get. Fabulous review Kara!!

  6. OMG I’ve been dying to read this book! It’s most definitely been moved up on my TBR list lol. I’m gonna be buying a few books soon (finally!) and this will for sure be one of them! πŸ˜€

    Great review as always πŸ™‚


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