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The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (2012)

by Catherynne M. Valente

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Girl Who (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1117517,112 (4.06)74
After returning to Fairyland, September discovers that her stolen shadow has become the Hollow Queen, the new ruler of Fairyland Below, who is stealing the magic and shadows from Fairyland folk and refusing to give them back.

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English (74)  German (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
This book was simply delicious in every way possible.
I loved the first book in the series, but felt hesitant about the rest of the series: sometimes a great first book is every good idea that the author had, and the rest of the series merely tries to scramble along on the coat tails. Moreover, one of the things that I loved about [b:The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making|9591398|The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)|Catherynne M. Valente|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388179691s/9591398.jpg|6749837] was its depiction of childhood, and I worried it couldn't be continued in a sustainable way and also have the heroine grow.

I should have put more faith in [a:Catherynne M. Valente|338705|Catherynne M. Valente|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1220999852p2/338705.jpg]. First of all: I am insane with jealousy over her imagination. Every page of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland... was just as inventive as the page before, and it all seemed to flow effortlessly. We met characters that I never would have thought of: a beautifully inventive family of coffee and tea people, and turquoise kangaroos that wear their memories in pouches, and allusions to classic mythology that seem Just Right, only no one's ever thought of them before, like Valente's take on the minotaur, and what seems like it will one day be classic mythology, like Queer, Questing and Quiet Physicks and in between are beautifully depicted characters, who are neither deeply inventive, nor cleverly allusive so much as they are wonderfully depicted, almost real people, who are flawed, and brave and everything else I could ever ask for.

One of the things I love about Valente, as mentioned above, is her depiction of childhood. Her depiction of young adulthood/early teen years is just as spot on. She treats it with Valente whimsy, talking about how September has a Heart, but it is new and raw. And underneath the whimsy she is just so spot-on about the ways that Right and Wrong feel so intense in those early years, and how raw betrayal feels, because you aren't emotionally scarred down from years of them same yet. It's a magical combination of lovely prose and deep insight. I love how it flows clearly from her depiction of child September.

I can't review this book properly without talking about the shadows. I loved this plot: that Fairyland needed its shadows in order to have magic, but the shadows needed to be free and not have to do the bidding of their person. I felt the moral tug in both directions, and I loved that September felt equally torn. I won't give away the ending, but I will say that I worried that it was going to end uncomfortably: I felt like Valente had set up an unsolvable quandary and that any solution would either be morally offensive or seem like a deus ex machina to the beautifully set up puzzle. Again, I need to learn to have faith: Valente did not disappoint.

Although these are young adult books, they are challenging in terms of the morals they present, both in the world-savingly large, and in the romantically-inclined small and they examine teen-years in a way that I'm not sure I would have tolerated from up-close. I think that they are books that absolutely should be read in adult years, but I think there is probably much to be enjoyed here by young readers as well. I know I plan on reading them to my daughter early and often. But before that: must read book #3. Preferably right now.
( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
I really just read the first one to vet these, but I want to know where the story goes! Delightful children's series and nothing in them to give me pause.
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
This is an objectively splendid book. It just didn't vibe with me. ( )
  Rubygarnet | Feb 10, 2023 |
Magic and adventure and fairy-tales and becoming-your-own-person and that feeling of slightly-familiar-but-mostly-strange. Just perfectly perfect.

I took my time reading it because most else of what I've been reading has been mediocre and it was lovely to be able to go back and take bite-sized pieces of wonderful rather than devouring it in one sitting. ( )
  wonderlande | Jan 1, 2023 |
September continues to be a champion of my heart. We return to September, the heartless girl who is now growing up and growing a heart, who had to pay the piper and deal with what happened to Fairyland after both the giving up of her shadow and the going to war of her father. Two subjects that I think sandwiched together really well the way they were wound together here.

I wasn't all that in love with the shadow story, but it did end up with me staring at the shadows of everything around me differently for a day or two. There is no way not to admit I didn't not miss The Green Wind and all of September's normal crew (or more aptly the 'original' versions of them). But there were amazing characters newly introduced whom I did love all of (The Duchess of Tea and the Dodo especially). I loved the even more we learned of music, and how the novel played out.

I'm quite ready for the next adventure, and the onward chronicles of September's life. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Dec 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Catherynne M. Valenteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Juan, AnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tucker, S. J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For everyone who has taken a chance on a girl with a funny name and her flying Library.  Let the Revel begin.
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Once upon a time, a girl named September had a secret.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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After returning to Fairyland, September discovers that her stolen shadow has become the Hollow Queen, the new ruler of Fairyland Below, who is stealing the magic and shadows from Fairyland folk and refusing to give them back.

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Average: (4.06)
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