Friday Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

September is twelve, lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a typical kid, until her father leaves to go off to war and her mother goes to work. September is bored, unhappy, and looking for something, but she’s not exactly sure what. And then, one day, the Green Wind arrives at her kitchen window astride a spotted leopard and tells September that Fairyland needs her help. The Marques, who happens to be September’s age, needs a talisman retrieved or she will make life in Fairyland unbearable. And September is the one who must get it.

Despite the rather long and unwieldy title, this is a lovely book. It’s kind of like The Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland but with its own distinct voice and feel. The writing is lovely and complex, with a bit of an old-fashioned feel, despite this being a book written for a middle grade audience. It never talks down to its readers, and that makes it a delight for an adult audience as well.

September is a terrific lead character. She’s stubborn and intelligent, never just accepting things at face value, always questioning and speaking her mind, and unerringly loyal to her friends. The Marques is a delightfully evil antagonist. And the supporting characters are inventive and grand, from the Green Wind and his leopard, an enigmatic boy named Saturday, and the Wyverary, (a wyvern whose mother was a library) A-Through-L.

The book was a thorough delight and I think anyone who enjoys well-developed character, a twisty plot full of surprises, and just a good, fun story will find this one fits the bill.

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Coming in May 2022: “Crossed Wires and Other Very Short Stories”. Twelve Scifi and twelve fantasy short stories that can each be read in minutes.

I have written science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy stories. There are novels, novellas, and shorter pieces to fit everyone’s reading time. There are even some free stories, both here on the site and in other places. You can go here to find out more about the books I have published. They are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and most ebook retailers. Thank You!

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