Review + Blog Tour Giveaway: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Blog Tour Giveaway: The Girl Who Soared Over FairylandThe Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 1, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

“One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”—TIME Magazine, on the Fairyland series

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home, and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

Here is another rich, beautifully told, wisely humorous, and passionately [layered] book from New York Times-bestselling author, Catherynne M. Valente.

Those who know me well are aware that I’m not generally one to give praise lightly. While I read a lot of books I think are fantastic and authors who I believe have talent, not every voice or novel is one that makes a lasting impression or will likely impact future fiction. So please take me seriously when I say that I do believe Catherynne M. Valente is one of the most gifted authors writing today. Fifty years into the future, I want her Fairyland series to be a classic, read in place of or alongside the Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland.

To be, as ever, quite honest, I thought for quite a good part of the book that it was not the ending that I wanted for this series. I really should have had more faith in Valente, because the way she pulls everything together at the end is brilliant and mysterious, and basically makes me want to go read back through everything for hints and clues about what’s really going on in the Fairyland series.

In The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, our young heroine is no longer quite so young. She’s a teenager now. She’s learning to drive and starting to worry about what her future career will be. This journey to Fairyland will likely be her last, much like Susan and Peter were kicked out of Narnia after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader or adults cannot go to Neverland with Peter Pan. September misses Fairyland with a fierceness made stronger by her tenuous relationship with it now that she’s grown older. Even more than that, she misses herself, the young girl that she was before who had free and easy access to Fairyland.

At this juncture, I am less sure that Fairyland is a metaphor. Or maybe I’m more sure. Either way, Valente purposely makes the reader question whether September’s experiences are real or imagined. Either way, Valente constantly drops truth bombs about growing up, social norms, and any number of other things. A scene in TGWSOF actually explains monetary systems and how they’re all entirely social constructs. It’s brilliant and couched in such a way as to make sense to young readers.

Though I dearly love Ell and September and Saturday, I think my favorite character in the series may actually be the narrator. Any time the omniscient narrator speaks to the audience or weighs in, I revel in it. Perhaps because omniscient narrators are not often done these days and perhaps because this narrator is fantabulous.

Moving to the sad part of the review, I did have a couple of issues with how this one went down. First, the pacing in TGWSOF was a bit slow. The part where September first arrives on the Moon in particular; there’s this part where she goes to the library and the librarians infodump a whole bunch of stuff over several pages that was a real slog. Second, and perhaps related, this quest really does not feel like September’s. In the other instances, September made choices that lead her to a particular place. Here, September gets into Fairyland and is then told what to do. It felt arbitrary, which increased my sense of disengagement during the slow parts.

Catherynne M. Valente is nothing short of an authorial genius in my opinion, even if I didn’t find this installment to be entirely without flaws. You can bet that I will read anything she writes.

Favorite Quote:

“It’s not a tool, anyway; it’s a machine,” grumbled September. “It came off an assembly line at the Ford factory with hundreds of others just like it.”

“Oh, and I suppose you weren’t born in a building with hundreds of others who look just like you?” a short, squat Blue Wind snapped, his beard thick as ice cream.

“That’s different!”

“Only because you’re squishy and ugly and useless and it’s fiery and shiny and useful!”

Giveaway:
The wonderful folks at Macmillan have offered up the complete Fairyland series for one of my readers! You want this in your life, guys. In case that didn’t convince you, here’s the book trailer for the first one, and much as I’m not really into those, this one is AWESOME.

The set will include paperbacks of the first two books and a hardback of TGWSOF. US/Canada only, I’m afraid.

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10 responses to “Review + Blog Tour Giveaway: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland”

  1. Angie says:

    Ackkkkkk. I’ve been eyeballing this series for a while, as well as another of her novels, but for some reason I keep putting it off but after seeing how much you enjoy them and reading your reviews I know I’ll have to bump them up the list.

  2. Steena says:

    I am so many reviews behind but I knew I had to check out this one.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Oh my gosh… I didn’t realize this was going to be the last one?? But of course it would have to end eventually since September is getting older. Despite its flaws I’m glad that it was a sufficiently resolved ending and I eagerly await Audible putting it on their site. *shakes fist*
    Bonnie recently posted…Book Review – All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin TerrillMy Profile

  4. Kayla Beck says:

    Okay, I’m going to try to not read the review because I really want to read this series. Seeing these keeps reminding me of that! The book is super small, so I think I’m going to have to dig around my house to find it. 😀
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Cover Reveal (Giveaway): Born of Deception by Teri BrownMy Profile

  5. For some reason I’ve been adding a ton of MG books to my TBR list. The covers of these books are pretty cool, and I’ve seen quite a few people talking about them on GR and on twitter.

    You’re becoming one of my go-to reviewers when looking for new books to read in this category.

    Great review, Christina! 😀
    Lisa (Fic Talk) recently posted…Comment on Cover Reveal for Ride by JC Emery by Lisa FicTalkMy Profile

  6. Every time I read ANYTHING about this series, it makes me want to twirl. They sound FANTASTIC.

    Also, I love that your favorite quote discusses the ugliness of babies.
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Review: SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

  7. This sounds so, so good! I really hope I can get to the first book soon 🙂
    Scott Pilgrim recently posted…Cover Reveal: Born Of Deception by Teri BrownMy Profile

  8. Heather says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been holding out on reading this series, mostly cause I think once I get started I will need ALL THE BOOKS! But even knowing that there’s more to follow, I might have to suck it up and head out for Fairyland. Thanks for spreading the love for these books and getting me even more excited to read them!

  9. Celine says:

    “So please take me seriously when I say that I do believe Catherynne M. Valente is one of the most gifted authors writing today.”

    Whoa. That’s some praise right there. I haven’t read this series yet because I was really unsure if it was something for me, but I might pick it up if you enjoyed it THAT much! I’ve always loved the titles, but nothing more, really. It sounds like an important story that has lots to with self-growth, and I love books that mess with my mind and make me wonder what was real and what wasn’t. So I guess I’ll have to read this soon!
    Celine recently posted…Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail HaasMy Profile

  10. I agree, I hope these books end up classics someday.

    Also I just want to say that I had wayyyy too much anxiety over Ell.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Allison: All The Truth That’s In Me | Julie Berry | Book ReviewMy Profile

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