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


Series: Fairyland – Book one
Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 2011
Pages: 247.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.


This is such a fantastic book, the title alone made me desperate to read it and the rest of the series too!

The story follows a young girl named September as she lives her every day boring life but is swept away into fairyland. She meets wonderful new creatures and embarks on an adventure. But the leader of fairyland – the marquess is not all that she seems. The marquess demands September collect a magical object for her deep in the woods, or the marquess will do terrible things to the new friends she has made. And so, September journeys on to find the talisman and save the residents of fairyland.

This book appeared on my Goodreads timeline, with someone else having just started reading it. On hearing the title “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making” I instantly had to find out more. It’s a beautiful title with an especially beautiful cover, in fact all the books in the series – there’s currently two more and another few on the way! – have incredibly clever titles and beautiful covers. Beautiful is perhaps the best way to describe Catherynne M Valente’s work. The language is lovely, and the illustrations – drawn by Ana Juan – that grace the chapter pages just make it an incredibly wonderful read. It’s intelligent without being heavy reading, the writing is clever without being overly pretentious. I flew through the book in a matter of days as I just could not get enough.

The book is aimed at children/young adults but it’s perfect for anyone of any age who enjoys a good read. It’s light hearted, the characters are beautifully imagined. My personal favourite being the wyverary A-through-L. A creature that is part wyvern and part library. The book has a very Alice in Wonderland feel to it, as well as sometimes reminding me of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, perhaps with regards to the narrator that occasionally pops his head in.

The story is in essence, a coming of age story, but it’s told in a highly imaginative, original way. It can be funny, silly and clever all in a single page. I definitely recommend this one for anyone who might be looking for something on the lighter side, or someone who’s just looking for something a bit different.

Looking for something similar? Try: Breadcrumbs or Kat, Incorrigible.

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