The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This time with my 9-year-old daughter. I thought it would be a perfect match, with gorgeous writing, fantastic ideas, and a sweet-and-bittersweet core. And of course, fairyland.
In actual fact, she just thought it was okay. It had a few bright points. Sometimes it was kinda a chore for her to get through -- EXCEPT -- muahahaha -- when we got to the climax and after, when all those glorious little details started snapping together, it all changed.
Suddenly, the book came to utter life. The Marquess's motivation, the storm, the fight, the resolution, all of it became something much better and better BECAUSE of all those glorious details.
So the book was, actually, a huge hit. She's even bugging me to read the sequels, which really surprises me because it had to force her to get through the first. But that's hindsight for you. Once it DOES all come together brilliantly, it changes your perception of everything that came before. :)
This is easily one of the most delightful and magical YA titles I've ever read.
I know people do like to compare it to Alice in Wonderland, but in a lot of ways, it's better. There's more than a basketful of clever, more than a truckload of beautiful language, and a whole ocean of delight.
The darkness doesn't overwhelm and there are no overt or subtle religious messages. A lot happens, but it's friendship that carries the final day.
I'm going to be reading this to my daughter when she is a little older. I honestly think it surpasses Pullman and Gaiman and Carroll. It's so light and it tickles all my funny-bones.
And best of all, it leaves no aftertaste except for a pleasant glow. No saccharine. No pedantic moralizing. Just plain magic, trickery, adventure, and a twist of the tongue that makes me grin from ear to ear.
Valente is quickly becoming one of my most beloved authors. I knew I had to read everything after Radiance, and this just cements it. :)
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