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)
210   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

Michael completed the Path. What he found at the end turned everything he’d ever known about his life—and the...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel....
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
“Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.” Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This quirky, narrative scrapbook gives readers a witty, honest look at what it means to be a teenager.Using mini-graphic novels,...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Sammy Keyes has spent the last few years solving other people's mysteries; now her friends (and some foes) come together...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Charlie and Tommy have big plans for Halloween. They hope to get out of taking their little sisters around and...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
The reading scores at Ella Mentry School are way down, so Mr. Macky has decided to hire a special new...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
A.J. and the gang from My Weird School star in this special series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring all-new...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Stanley is working at his garage today. From filling up Hattie's red sports car with gas to changing the tire...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When Stanley's friend Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Julie Kagawa's groundbreaking modern fantasy series, dragons walk among us in human form. Long ago, dragons were hunted to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
As the junior concierge at her father's posh hotel, thirteen-year-old Chloe escorts three troublemaking royals on their trip to New...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
It's 1926, and the one thing eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis wants more than anything is to leave Portland, where she is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When an earthquake causes the deadly band of air that covers the post World War III Earth to begin to...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil...
 
4.0
 
4.0 (1)
blue lily lily blue.jpg
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)