Books Kids Fiction The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/d1/90/94/the-girl-who-fell-beneath-fairyland-and-led-the-revels-there-3-1381321576.jpg
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
203   0
Age Range
10+
Release Date
October 02, 2012
ISBN
0312649622
Buy This Book
      
“One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”—Time magazine, on the Fairyland series

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

Editor reviews

What I Liked:
Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland trilogy recalls classic tales very clearly, but, rather than coming across as redundant, Valente weaves them together into something wholly new. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (TGWFBF for short) dives back into the vibrant world of Fairyland, adding further depth and wonder to an already glorious world.

At the novel’s opening, September remains in Nebraska, impatiently waiting some summons to return to Fairyland. As the days pass, September becomes increasingly glum, missing her father, off fighting in WWII, and her Fairyland friends. What immediately becomes apparent is that our little September has done some maturing in her time since the last book. Though still grumpier than average, now thirteen, September’s a bit softer than she once was. Much as I loved the grouchy, irascible September, I love seeing characters mature, and the way that having such wonderful friends has helped her grow.

Now, I’m going to take a bit of an aside, as I seem to have a tendency to do in Valente reviews; I blame her, and the way her words inspire me. In the first book, Valente describes children as heartless. In TGWFBF, she describes teens this way:

"For though, as we have said, all children are heartless, this is not precisely true of teenagers. Teenage hearts are raw and new, fast and fierce, and they do not know their own strength. Neither do they know reason or restraint, and if you want to know the truth, a goodly number of grown-up hearts never learn it."

To some, these designations may seem rather heartless in and of themselves. Keep in mind, however, that TGWFBF is largely metaphorical. Young children do not have fully developed minds, senses of right and wrong, or, in Freudian terms, ego, which leads to that cruelty that can be witnessed in children. Teens have grown so much, but they’re not settled. They’re learning, but everything is new, confusing, awkward, and they don’t necessarily have all the information and experience necessary to parse experiences both emotional and otherwise.

To digress further, the reason I love this quote so very much is that I think it encapsulates why I, as an adult, find young adult, and sometimes even middle grade fiction, so compelling. Yes, there are other factors as well, like the creativity and subject matter, but that right there is a big reason. Though I’m a decade out from 16 now, I often identify more with these teen heroines than the ones I find in adult fiction. Partly, this is market-driven, but it also correlates to the phase of life I’m in. What it comes down to is that teen hearts and adult hearts are not that far removed, necessarily.

Getting back onto track, September does finally manage to make her way down to Fairyland and, in fact beneath it, as the title suggests. When September arrives in Fairyland, she does not find the happy place she left. You may remember that September’s shadow was taken from her during the first book. Turns out that September’s shadow has led a shadow revolution, bringing all of them down below Fairyland, and taking Fairyland’s magic with them.

Almost the entirety of TGWFBF occurs in this shadow world beneath Fairyland, and September spends her time with shadows of her friends, former enemies, and herself. Valente uses the shadows to make a deep comment about what lies within each person. The shadows represent the selves that we keep hidden below the surface. Hesitant people would have impulsive shadows, for instance. TGWFBF beautifully highlights the fact that, whatever we may show on the surface, everyone’s made up of all the same things. We’re all capable of good or of evil.

In TGWFBF, the fact that Fairyland is a mental escape for September from the harsh realities of her real life in wartime becomes much more apparent. Where September and her mother scrape by on rations in Nebraska, she can feast on delicious things in Fairyland. As her worries at hearing nothing from her father increase, she descends into the magical landscape as a way of distracting herself. It’s a rather similar narrative device to the one used in Chronicles of Narnia, but much more subtly and fancifully done.

What Left Me Wanting More:
The cast of characters delights and entrances. The one drawback I had, though, was that I didn’t quite get the emotional engagement this time, as September spent her time with the shadow versions of her dear friends, and I missed them. However, the shadows really opened up Maud, the villain of the first book. Villains so often get passed over characterization-wise, but Valente continues to build out her motivations even from the start made in the first book.

The Final Verdict:
Though the Fairyland series is marketed as a middle grade series, do not let that stop readers of any age. Adults, read this without shame, as you should anything, and teens as well. Valente’s Fairyland series is intricate, clever, and jaw-droppingly magical, and all portrayed with some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Enchanting

What I Liked:
Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland trilogy recalls classic tales very clearly, but, rather than coming across as redundant, Valente weaves them together into something wholly new. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (TGWFBF for short) dives back into the vibrant world of Fairyland, adding further depth and wonder to an already glorious world.

At the novel’s opening, September remains in Nebraska, impatiently waiting some summons to return to Fairyland. As the days pass, September becomes increasingly glum, missing her father, off fighting in WWII, and her Fairyland friends. What immediately becomes apparent is that our little September has done some maturing in her time since the last book. Though still grumpier than average, now thirteen, September’s a bit softer than she once was. Much as I loved the grouchy, irascible September, I love seeing characters mature, and the way that having such wonderful friends has helped her grow.

Now, I’m going to take a bit of an aside, as I seem to have a tendency to do in Valente reviews; I blame her, and the way her words inspire me. In the first book, Valente describes children as heartless. In TGWFBF, she describes teens this way:

"For though, as we have said, all children are heartless, this is not precisely true of teenagers. Teenage hearts are raw and new, fast and fierce, and they do not know their own strength. Neither do they know reason or restraint, and if you want to know the truth, a goodly number of grown-up hearts never learn it."

To some, these designations may seem rather heartless in and of themselves. Keep in mind, however, that TGWFBF is largely metaphorical. Young children do not have fully developed minds, senses of right and wrong, or, in Freudian terms, ego, which leads to that cruelty that can be witnessed in children. Teens have grown so much, but they’re not settled. They’re learning, but everything is new, confusing, awkward, and they don’t necessarily have all the information and experience necessary to parse experiences both emotional and otherwise.

To digress further, the reason I love this quote so very much is that I think it encapsulates why I, as an adult, find young adult, and sometimes even middle grade fiction, so compelling. Yes, there are other factors as well, like the creativity and subject matter, but that right there is a big reason. Though I’m a decade out from 16 now, I often identify more with these teen heroines than the ones I find in adult fiction. Partly, this is market-driven, but it also correlates to the phase of life I’m in. What it comes down to is that teen hearts and adult hearts are not that far removed, necessarily.

Getting back onto track, September does finally manage to make her way down to Fairyland and, in fact beneath it, as the title suggests. When September arrives in Fairyland, she does not find the happy place she left. You may remember that September’s shadow was taken from her during the first book. Turns out that September’s shadow has led a shadow revolution, bringing all of them down below Fairyland, and taking Fairyland’s magic with them.

Almost the entirety of TGWFBF occurs in this shadow world beneath Fairyland, and September spends her time with shadows of her friends, former enemies, and herself. Valente uses the shadows to make a deep comment about what lies within each person. The shadows represent the selves that we keep hidden below the surface. Hesitant people would have impulsive shadows, for instance. TGWFBF beautifully highlights the fact that, whatever we may show on the surface, everyone’s made up of all the same things. We’re all capable of good or of evil.

In TGWFBF, the fact that Fairyland is a mental escape for September from the harsh realities of her real life in wartime becomes much more apparent. Where September and her mother scrape by on rations in Nebraska, she can feast on delicious things in Fairyland. As her worries at hearing nothing from her father increase, she descends into the magical landscape as a way of distracting herself. It’s a rather similar narrative device to the one used in Chronicles of Narnia, but much more subtly and fancifully done.

What Left Me Wanting More:
The cast of characters delights and entrances. The one drawback I had, though, was that I didn’t quite get the emotional engagement this time, as September spent her time with the shadow versions of her dear friends, and I missed them. However, the shadows really opened up Maud, the villain of the first book. Villains so often get passed over characterization-wise, but Valente continues to build out her motivations even from the start made in the first book.

The Final Verdict:
Though the Fairyland series is marketed as a middle grade series, do not let that stop readers of any age. Adults, read this without shame, as you should anything, and teens as well. Valente’s Fairyland series is intricate, clever, and jaw-droppingly magical, and all portrayed with some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.

Already have an account? or Create an account
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
With her birthday coming up, Jessica hopes that, just maybe, her present will be a real-live potbellied pig. Jessica can...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Nonfiction
An enchanting treasury of fairy lore! Around the corner, behind the bushes, and just out of sight...fairies have spent hundreds...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
blue lily lily blue.jpg
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent has found things. For...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying new...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Three wishes go awry in a middle-grade debut as comical as it is spooky. Toxic Vapor Worms. Shark Hounds. King-Crab...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home. Crabby is...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
From talented illustrator Laura Bryant and gifted newcomer Aimee Reid comes a charming, heartwarming story about a little elephant's love...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Nonfiction
This kid-friendly book offers a first thoughtful glimpse into the world of birds: from eggs to nests, from song to...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Hooey Higgins and friends are back for another hilarious madcap adventure — this time, their dubious inventive skills are put...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gene. Sys. Book Cover
Category: Young Adult Indie
The world is supposed to end in about a year. For Atom, that means his quest is about to begin....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This novel-in-verse—at once literary and emotionally gripping—follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Day Human King Cover
Category: Young Adult Indie
After he inherited the power of the late sidhe king, Devin thought the battle to protect Nessa and proceed with...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Core.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Are you brave enough to turn the page? Fight with Ava as she battles the blood-sucking shadows of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
How far would you go to save the one you love? Find Max. That's all Layla cares...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The highly anticipated start of a new romantic suspense series from the beloved, USA Today bestselling author of Ten Tiny...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
McCutcheon Daniels' life is full of bone-cracking violence. As a star fighter in the gritty underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Baseball season has begun for the South Coast Sharks. As a senior, Griffin has college in his sights and plans...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Madeline Usher has been buried alive. The doomed heroine comes to the fore in this eerie...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets. Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)