It's almost time for you to be able to get your hands on The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland... (can we all just agree to call it that for the duration of this post, so I don't have to type the whole title every time?)
I am super excited to be kicking off the Fairyland blog tour - You may recall, I am a fan. And I got to reveal the trailer to y'all (which you can see again - or for the first time, if you haven't
But before we jump into what I thought of The Girl Who Fell (gets shorter every time...), let's take a moment to refresh our memories with this awesome trailer for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Check it out:
Okay, let's get down to business:
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
Amazon | Goodreads
Fantasy, 272 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
What can I say that I didn't already say in my review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated? When I finished the first book, it felt complete. That's not to say there wasn't room for more, but it felt like it easily could have been a somewhat open-ended stand-alone book, and I was happy about that. But that doesn't mean I wasn't tickled to death to hear there was a book two - and that it dealt with September's shadow! In fact, I wasn't even nervous going into this that it was going to be a lesser book than the first, as I often am with sequels and 2nd-in-a-series books. I went into this fairly confident that Valente would masterfully avoid the Sophomore Slump, and I think she did. The Girl Who Fell is just as strong as its predecessor, but with a with a more mature, more insightful September at the helm.
Now, I think some people are going to find this a little...hmm - harder? to connect to; I think they'll find it less whimsical and a bit darker, and September a little more serious, and they may interpret that as the story losing some of its magic and charm. But I don't think that's the case, and I personally found it the opposite. I think it's simply that things have changed. September is older now (as our narrator coyly tells us, she now has the beginnings of a heart), and her perception and experiences are different. She's more thoughtful - and more hesitant - which I think for some readers will mean the magic is starting to die. Which in the scope of all things fairy is generally true - the older you get, the more it slips away... But September is still September, even though everyone around her is a shadow of what they're supposed to be (literally), and I think she still comes through very strongly. I actually really really love that September is starting to grow up (as much as we may not want her too); this makes her so much more authentic, AND ALSO this means that a younger audience reading this can potentially grow alongside September and relate to her, and that gives me Happy Reader Shivers.
But even if September is a little older, a little wiser, and a little more introspective, the fact remains that she's still September and she's still going to do Septemberly things and approach the world (both "real" and Fairyland) as only September would. And frankly, Fairyland-Below = awesome. It expands the world of Fairyland really nicely; familiar characters popped up in unexpected ways, and new characters crept in - many of them fleetingly so, as in the way of the first book, but what's so wonderful is that even the minor characters who just pop up and disappear are never confusing. Instead, they make the world full - everything has a place, everything has a purpose, and everything comes into play.
The struggle with the shadows and with Halloween (the Hollow Queen, ie September's sort-of-stolen shadow) are just fantastic. I loved that nothing is ever easy/black and white. I love that you begin to feel for the shadows and for Halloween just as much as you do for their tangible counterparts. I LOVE the idea of everyone's shadows just hanging out, being a part of you but never really getting to experience, never getting credit, never getting to do their own thing. The bittersweet, melancholic streak I talked about (and loved!) in Circumnavigated is stronger in Fell (shortest yet), and perfectly suited to Fairyland Below, AND to where all of the characters are now; it's not just September who has grown and changed, but all of the characters - even some you may not expect.
There are FACETS.
I like FACETS.
Makes everything shiny.
Basically, I doubt anyone who liked Circumnavigated will dislike Fell; those that found the beginning of the first slow moving will find the same here, but again, it's a good slow. It's a savory slow. And it will once again charm the pants off kids and adults alike. (Um, scratch that; everybody keep your pants on. You can be charmed with pants.)
Valente is still the Queen of Nonsense, and I still mean that in the best of all possible ways. As far as I'm concerned, she always will be.
Long may she reign.
So if you've read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and liked it, you should pick this up. If you haven't, you should do that.
But if you can't pick it up just yet, maybe read this Fairyland short story to tide you over?
But before you go, head over to my guest post from Catherynne (and while you're there, enter to win!!)
And don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour here!