The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Author: Catherynne M. Valente

The book
This is the second book in the Fairyland series. I thought it was a trilogy, turns out it isn’t. Lots of books. Anyway. The first book tells the story of 11-year old September who lives in Nebraska in the 40s. Her dad is in France fighting Germans and her mother is fixing cars and things. September is bored and wants to have something exciting happen. One day she is whisked off to Fairyland. In this book she goes back to Fairyland. She is 13 years old and she has a heart, but not a shadow, since she left it there last time. Her shadow has been causing a lot of trouble as the queen of Fairyland-Below, bringing the shadows of Fairyland-Above down to her kingdom. September has to go to the bottom of the world to find Prince Myrrh, who is the rightful king. And it is amazing.

What I thought
It’s just so beautiful and wonderful. The writing is amazing, as always. It’s also very clever. September has to go on a quest and the different parts of quests are explained, and sort of broken down. It’s delightful.

I thought it was interesting and beautiful. It’s darker than the first book and possibly more teen than children’s books. It’s set in a world of shadows so clearly it’s darker. September has grown a lot in the year and a half-ish that passed between her first and second visit. Children don’t have hearts, but teenagers have raw and wounded hearts and we see this in September. She is more introspective and thoughtful. She doesn’t just act instantly, she shows kindness and mercy and it’s just lovely.

I loved A-through-L and Saturday’s shadows. The idea is that shadows are part of you, but the dark part of you, so we see the darker, wilder parts of Ell and Saturday. It’s interesting to see how the shadows would like their own lives and don’t want to go back because they have their own, awesome lives.

It’s creepy sometimes, with the Alleyman taking shadows and creating revels down in Fairyland-Below. It’s always odd to not know where you have characters you thought you knew, like Saturday and Ell. Because you like to think you know them, and suddenly they’re acting completely differently from how you would expect, and it’s sort of unsettling.

It has a dodo, and I love dodos. I don’t know why. Because they’re awesome probably. I always have loved them, and this book has a huge Night-dodo named Aubergine, so I’m pretty pleased. I like dodos, because I’m weird.

I quite liked the ending, it was beautiful and sweet and hopeful, and I can’t wait to read the next book, because, you know, awesome. Valente is good at tying her books together, and I look forward to that. So, yey.

Final thoughts
It was funny, it was a little dark, it was sweet and so well written and beautiful. And there are dodos, and Wyveraries and Winds and Alleymen. There’s a tapir at the bottom of the world, I loved it.