Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M. Valente

16128147Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Much-In-Little
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Genre/themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Adventure
Source: From my own bookshelf
Series?: Book 2 in the Fairyland series

You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.

WARNING, THIS IS BOOK 2 IN A SERIES SO THIS REVIEW MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Goodreads Synopsis:
In the kingdom of Fairyland-Below, preparation are underway for the annual Revels… but aboveground, the creatures of Fairyland are in no mood for a party.

It has been a long time since young September bid farewell to Fairyland, and she is excited to to see it again; but upon her return she is shocked to find that her friends have been losing their shadows, and therefore their magic, to the kingdom of Fairyland-Below… it spells certain disaster and September won’t stand for it. Determined to make amends, she travels down into the underworld where, among creatures of ice and moonlight, she encounters a face she recognizes all too well: Halloween, the Hollow Queen. Only then does September realize what she must do to save Fairyland from slipping into the mundane world forever.

Come and join in the Revels with September and her friends. But be warned: in Fairyland-Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem…

My Thoughts:
I started this book right after I finished my re-read of book 1. I was eager to see what more the author was going to do with the world. I must say that she pleasantly surprised me.

September is once again whisked away to Fairyland, although this time she manages to do so on her accord, as she follows the Silver Wind through a crack in the worlds. Her return starts off pleasantly but soon September notices that something is wrong. The shadows of all the creatures are disappearing. At first September is not quite upset, as she had already parted with her shadow the last time she was in Fairyland. But September’s shadow has taken on a new name and is now ruling the land beneath Fairyland. It is up to September to talk some sense into her shadow and save Fairyland from losing its magic.

September is faced with some difficult scenario’s in this book and I feel that is what makes this book much better than the first one. I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland but this book had much more depth. Usually Middle Grade Fairytale books are characterized by their black and white view of the world, where the main character is represent good and the villain represents evil. Although these stories can be lots of fun there is an enormous degree of predictability in those stereotyped books. After all, it is rarely that evil wins. Cathrynne Valente tried break down this binary of good and evil and that made for a very fun read!

When September is confronted with her shadow’s evilness, she is indirectly faced with her own evilness, as shadows take on all the bad traits that people normally not really express in their character. And September’s shadow has a valid point: why shouldn’t the shadows deserve their own chance at happiness? September is faced with a major dilemma: on the one hand Fairyland is losing its shadows and on the other hand there are shadows that she cannot rob of their newly received freedom. It is this conflict that makes this book so interesting, because this starting point there are so many scenario’s that can play out. There is a very real chance that evil might win this time!

As mentioned in the review of the first book, The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland, I do not really consider this book to be Middle Grade. First because it has much more depth than Middle Grade and secondly because there use of language is advanced. There were some words and phrases that I did not get, and although I am not a native speaker I do consider my language level adequate enough to comprehend 99% of what I read.

Bottom-line is that I enjoyed this book. September is a clever girl who really thinks for herself and questions the motivations of others. This makes for a very interesting journey in the quest for the shadows of Fairyland. Even if you thought that the first book was just ok, I still urge you to give this a try; there are so many wonderful things to discover in Fairyland!

5 Stars

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M. Valente

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