Friday, 18 May 2012

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Paperback,336 pages

Expected Publication: 7th June 2012 by Corsair

My shelves: 
arc-or-review, dragons, fae, fairy-tales, fantasy, magic, not-for-me, read-in-2012, series-or-companions, supernatural, title-appeal, to-be-reviewed, young-adult

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other. September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).

When she gets there, she finds a land in crisis and confusion - crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.

As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a partly human boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes; loses her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .

My thanks go to Corsair for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I've been trying hard to put off this review, or rather, trying hard to think how to rate and review it - it's been very difficult for me. I think that the only thing I can do is say it outright - this is a truly fantastic book, but it's just something that I just couldn't get away with. If I had to rate my enjoyment of this book, it'd be around 2 stars, but if I had to rate the quality of the book, I can honestly say that it'd probably be around 4 or 5 stars.

This book is set in Fairyland and it is obvious that is where we are - the whole setting, the characters... absolutely everything in this book is magical. The writing was lovely - the imagery was very vivid without being overly descriptive. This book is so quotable - there were so many lovely phrases and ideas used throughout. I particularly liked the direct narration to the audience - it was strong, sometimes emotional and very easy to connect to the messages. There's nothing wrong with Valente's writing, it is very clear that she is talented. 

September, our twelve year old main character is quite real, she has the inquisitiveness, the curiosity and the braveness of a child and it is good to see Fairyland through a child's eyes, it makes it even more special. It wasn't just September who was imaginative and whimsical though, the other characters we are introduced to are just as intriguing, if not more so. I absolutely loved the character 'A through L' (or Ell), a wyvern who was just so friendly, fun and totally loyal to September throughout her journey. A myriad of other supporting characters with equally bizarre names are scattered throughout the book and they are also very amusing.  

So why didn't I enjoy this as much as I could? It was confusing. It was one of those things that just went over my head. It was all, quite frankly, nonsense, but it's meant to be - I just guess that's not for me. I think that thought that the separate sections are the stories were quite interesting and it did help me to follow things a little bit, but it was a bit too random for me and the jumping around from place to place, person to person, left me lost. 

Overall, I really do not want to put anyone off reading this book - I think a lot of people will appreciate it and love it. Valente is a genius for writing this (extremely) creative piece of writing and I only wish I could've followed it more. If you're looking to get carried away into a fantasy world and meet lots of magical creatures, this one is for you. If you're easily confused, perhaps try a few pages until you fully commit to it. I will be posting an excerpt of the book on the blog tour soon, so hopefully then you'll be able to see for yourself if it's your kind of thing.

Check out an excerpt of this book when the Blog Tour
drops by my blog soon! For now, to give you an idea of
how this book is, check out the book trailer.



  1. Wonderful, honest review! I have mixed feelings about nonsense in books, so I'm not so sure about this one.

  2. Thanks for such an honest review.
    I don't think I would enjoy this book all that much though I get what you mean when you know the quality of a book is better than what you enjoyed it. It's tough to decide what to rate it.

  3. tnx 4 this review
    heck alice in wondrland was wacky
    looking 4ward 2this1

  4. Interesting! I'd heard from someone that this was a really great book (like, 6-star status), but I loved your input. I'm not a huge fan of books that don't make much sense, so maybe this one won't be as big of a hit with me as I thought it would.

    Thanks for the great review!

    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

  5. Awesome review i appreciate that you explained your rating and the author's writing style..looking forward to the excerpt.

  6. I only got a few pages into this book before I put it down. It just wasn't for me either.

  7. I loved this book SO MUCH! But as long as you didn't hate it, I'm happy :)

  8. Thanks for the honest review! This just arrived in the post for me and I'm enjoying the quirkiness of it so far, so hopefully I will continue to enjoy it :) Can't wait for the blog tour!

    Beverley @ A Reading Daydreamer


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