My rating: 4 of 5 stars
That’s probably what Catheryn M Valente said after she finished this book.
Story of an eleven-year old girl, September, born on a Tuesday in May(like me!), who escapes from the tedious life of everyday Nebraska and washing pink and yellow tea cups, this book starts out whimsically, turns scary and sad, encountering the occasional hitches of bitter, against the backdrop of imagination and absurdity. The whole book can be divided very well into three non-sequential parts:
In Which We Are Acquainted With the Vagaries of Children
Children are often frightening creatures and none more so than September, who is Somewhat Heartless. But she indeed grows a heart and loses it, as well. She becomes a knight and is given a blue favor, she sings to her Death and befriends old lamps, among various other nefarious and brave things. She morphs into one magnificent beast.
This clever pre-teen from Omaha is one of the truest characters I’ve come across and her losses are relatable even amidst all the eccentricity and oddity that fills this book. Her sacrifices and her pains have a touch of reality and are truly admirable, even the little ones.
In Which the Shameless Novelist is NOT to be Trusted
Catheryn M Valente dutifully made a complex and creative fairyland, and provided bountiful-s of playing with words, creating kingdoms out of puns and giving life to figurative’s. The writing is whimsical and funny; giving us a small cast of wondrous characters and an even larger host of funky, bizarre ones. The characters are gored and tortured, some are driven by the need to please whilst others are forced to heed.
The book has a certain quality of wonder and heartbreak and such layers that I’ve now come to expect from her. It picks out parallels to the much darker real world and deals with the much tougher themes of our lives in its own fashion. Plus, it also gives a very different outlook on various everyday things.
The writing is not so much florid as I expected, in fact it may be very well straightforward in its own ridiculous way. The descriptions are infinitely fun to imagine and, weirdly enough, not at all dramatic.
In Which a Valiant Swings a Wrench to Uncover a Sad Ending
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making starts out rather simplistically. Girl falls into Fairyland, loses her way, meets bizarre creatures. Is given a quest, and then forced into another one. There is a cruel monarch, a few sleeping tigers and other inventions but the ultimate ending, the final reveal is extremely sad. It again shows the cruelties in our lives by the way of a completely differing situation.
A truly fantastic novel, somewhat akin to Alice in Wonderland and Doctor Who, but still very shrewd in its originality.