Finally, FINALLY, a worthy addition to the YA fantasy genre! The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the story of September, a young girl who is Ravished – a.k.a. whisked away by a Green Wind, on the back of a Leopard, for an adventure in Fairyland. But Fairyland isn’t quite what September expects. It’s not a land of fun and joy and happy adventures with hot cocoa and a warm bed at night. Instead, Fairyland is a land currently under the rule of an evil Marquess, who wants to chain it up in the humdrum realities of time clocks and industry and bureaucracy. Boo on that.
September’s adventure begins when she stumbles across some witches and promises to retrieve an item of value for one of them – which will require her to steal from the Marquess. Along the way she meets a Wyverary (like a dragon and a library, but not quite) named A-Through-L and a young Marid boy (like a genie, but not quite) named Saturday. Together they travel with a pack of bicycles, meet a Fairy and a changeling, visit a forest where it’s always autumn and crisp and Halloween (my favorite part of the book, as I love autumn and Halloween), until A-Through-L and Saturday are whisked away and September must strike out on her own to save her friends.
Fairyland reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia in that it was completely fantastical – but the language was pseudo-Victorian and the characters were even more whimsical, if that’s possible. The descriptions of the cities of Pandemonium and Mercurio were delectable and September was a sweet, warm-hearted and brave heroine, for all she tried to be irascible and ill-tempered. I loved it, and I’ll be waiting anxiously for the sequel.
Get the book! The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente (not an affiliate link)