Saturday, January 2, 2016

Audiobook: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the first book in Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series. I just happened to stumble across this book at my library and can't believe I've never heard of the series before, but what an epic fantasy world! Kudos for Valente's funky title, because that is what first grabbed my attention.

(picture taken from Goodreads)

First Impression: Enchanting. If I had one word to describe this book so far, that would be it. I love how lyrical the writing is, and Valente practically mesmerizes me reading her words. I keep finding myself drawn so far into September's Fairyland that I'm confused for a second each time I turn it off. The experience is very similar to the first time I read Harry Potter, but the world is very different. It's hard to describe without giving anything away, but my favorite things are the unique little details from Valente throughout the book: the love of the green smoking jacket; the heaviness of Saturday's hand; the dutiful, always-belated trail of the little key brooch; the textile fairy city, Pandemonium; wild velocipedes; and so on. Just amazing. And very unique. I'm curious to see where it goes.

Conclusion: The whole ending to this thing was an emotional whirlwind! Valente's re-imagining of the overbearing monarch backstory with the Marquess was brilliant. Her pain is so vivid, so strong and unexpected, and you want to help her but also everyone else. September also gives up quite a lot in this story and has to make hard decisions every step of the way. The separation from her shadow is particularly memorable, rendering her in two painfully, and yet the shadow seemed happier that way (darker itself perhaps than I expected). The one thing that's a little inconsistent is the explanation of the Ravished and how they visit Fairyland versus other people visiting. It's impossible to explain without giving something away, but it's also not significant enough to dwell on, so I'll let it go. Anyway, I loved this story. Simple as that.

Recommendation: You will probably enjoy this book if you love magical worlds and words and don't mind a narrator with an outside view and a main character who's a child. And you might have an extra bit of love for this one if you loved the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

This is my thirteenth listen for the 2015 Audiobook Challenge. Crushed that challenge!


  1. So glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I've had this series on my radar for quite some time, not really sure why I haven't tried it yet. Definitely more intrigued now! :)

    1. It is so good, Kara! I listened to it on audio, but I think the experience would still be magical in print. And I got the second one for Christmas, so I'll be listening to that soon and can tell you how it is, too! :)