Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship Of Her Own Making
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online.
I wanted to be swept away by the magic and the whimsy of this novel but I had a hard time getting into it. I started it before my vacation. Gave up and read something else. And then I tried to read it after my vacation. I gave up and read something else. And then I got even farther into the book (about 80 pages) and gave up again. I came back to it and the rest managed to fly by, but it was hard to become comfortable with this writing style for me.
I think you can already tell how the book is going to go, just by reading the title. Every sentence is wordy and complex. All the descriptions are way over the top. It feels very Alice in Wonderland-ish, but it's just so very long.... For me, it was just too much, but I've read tons of reviews that absolutely rave about this book.
And I can see why, because holy cow was the plot good.
It was a brilliant weaving of events, places, objects, characters. It felt Newbery-ish in that way and I've been hearing buzz that it's high in contention for the Newbery. I'd be surprised, though - Newbery hasn't picked many fantasy books recently.
Anyway, by the end I was completely in love with the characters and even a little misty-eyed at one point. The villain is a fantastic, complex creation. And September is very likable. Nay, lovable. And my favorite character was half dragon (ok, technically half Wyvern) and half library. What's not to love? This book came really close, but I just don't feel like I can give it a completely glowing review because the language and story-telling style were hard for me to get into.
P.S. And I have to mention that part of the reason I picked this up in the first place is because September is from Omaha! Since I lived there for three years I thought it was fun to have it mentioned so often, even if the Green Wind never mentioned Omaha without insulting it. :D