I just purely loved this, from start to finish. Valente plays with and creates her own Fairyland that is magical, delightful, a little ominous, whimsical and so much fun to be in, even if only for the length of the book. (Does that make me a Stumbler?)
Valente has such a sure
hand in creating the world, and exploring it, and the writing style is
absolutely perfect for the story she's trying to tell. It is one of
those books where every sentence is beautifully crafted and fits into
place so securely that it seems impossible that there were ever other
words blustering their way in, to be surgically removed by an editor.
September is kidnapped away into Fairyland by the Green Wind, who is
not allowed to enter, himself. Once she passes Customs, she meets a
Wyverary (the offspring of a Wyvern and a Library, naturally) named A
Through L, a Soap Golem waiting for the return of her mistress, a blue
Marid who can grant wishes only to those who defeat him in single
combat, a Marquess who has chained all the wings in Fairyland after
deposing the Good Queen Mallow, a roving pack of velocipedes, the
Alchemists of Autumn, a Wrench of Power, and yes, needs to
circumnavigate Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. And all the way
along, she is followed by a faithful Key.
The adventure toddles
merrily and sometimes ominously from place to place, and each one is
interesting, internally logical and entrancing to visit. Young September
gives up more than she realizes during the story, and finds wonders she
This is a Fairyland I would love to revisit. But I guess it rarely happens that way, does it?