Monday, April 15, 2013

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

The second book in the Fairyland series (following the first book: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making) was available at Barnes and Noble one frigid January day when I happened to stop in. See, I had asked numerous times for Valente books at this store (and other stores in the DC area) and always they had none in stock. I didn't understand because I love Valente and find her to be a fabulous writer. Think of the stories and beautifully written words people were missing out on! Sure I could always go and order the books to be delivered at my house but that involved waiting.

When you love an author and you want to read their next book it becomes a creature of desire and demanding and you expect to get that book then and there. That's how I am with Valente's books at least.

I was, by this point, not expecting the bookseller to tell me that he had any of her books in stock so I was completely surprised when he took me right to the book I had been looking for. Not wanting to pass this lovely opportunity, I bought it, and then I dove in as quickly as I could.

This book is a conversation starter, much like the first, as the interesting title and cover capture the attention of passerby's at my office. I can honestly say that both books had people pause and ask if they could look at my book. Many of the other books I've read do not receive the same level of interest.

Anyway, where have we left off with our dear September? In the previous book September returned from Fairyland a changed girl. She had grown in some ways, begun to develop a heart (because children are often heartless), and had lost her shadow. When we've returned to join September many months have passed and spring has sprung and sadly, September is still waiting to return back to Fairyland. She misses it dearly and the venture to the land has changed her, making her an outcast amongst classmates, so she has the friendship of her mother, books and memories of the creatures she had come in contact with in Fairyland to keep her entertained.

Then the fateful day comes where September has the chance to return to the Fairyland she loves and has -- apparently -- lost. The Fairyland she meets is different than the one from her memories. Everything is muddled, different, and strange and it's all September's fault.

Upon her first visit she gave up her shadow and it's her shadow that's caused the change in Fairyland. Her shadow, Halloween (the Hallow Queen), has taken over the underworld of Fairyland and begun stealing the shadows of all the Fairyland dwellers up above. Below is a constant party where the shadows are free to do what they please and up above in Fairyland everything slowly loses it's magic and becomes more and more like the human world. September sets off to set things right but along the way learns more about the world than she previously knew. She learned that friends can betray you, that you may have to forgive even if you hurt very deeply, and sometimes things don't go according to plan.

I was sad that for much of this book the characters I had fallen in love with during the first book were not quite themselves because they weren't themselves at all -- they were their shadows and shadows are undeniably your opposite. A few characters from the past book did return and we, as readers, (and September too) are introduced to new characters who you can love and adore just as much.

This book, for me, had more magic than the past. September has magic affect her a lot more than the previous book and all for the better in my opinion. There is also a threatening presence in the book (the Alleyman) who poses as something frightful but in the end even the Alleyman's mystery is solved (and sweetly at that).

It's interesting to see the little ways that September has grown from the last book and in that way the story has changed and matured. However, I feel that's appropriate for children's books as children grow and mature so quickly. This book still would be interesting for adults to read, so please, don't be deterred by the fact that it's meant for children!

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