Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente

fairyland1I finally caved to peer pressure! This book has been on my radar for pretty much a year now and I finally gave in and read it. Well, actually I listened to it. I used one of my audible credits this month to download the audiobook which is read by Catherynne herself. I was very dubious going in to this, it’s been compared to The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland so many times by so many people that I didn’t want to read it because I love both of those books dearly. Even recommendations by friends who love either or both of those books were not swaying me! While I loved the audiobook, I will definitely be reading the future books in the series as physical or eBooks as I don’t think the narration did this one favours.

For anyone who doesn’t know, this book follows a young girl – September – who is whisked away from her boring Nebraska home by the Green Wind, who takes her to Fairyland. But September soon finds herself travelling through Fairyland herself, encountering a number of interesting characters on the way! This book is utterly nonsensical but completely charming alongside it. While there are striking similarities to classic fairy stories such as Alice and Oz and others such as Peter Pan and The Chronicles of Narnia it is a completely beautiful story in its own right, it was charming and full of its own fantasy that made those other books equally as wonderful. For me though, it was a little too whimsical in places which made it somewhat hard to follow at times, especially listening to the audiobook!

As for the audiobook, while this was beautiful being read by Catherynne herself, I did have to download the Kindle version to follow along as I often found myself missing things! I think if it was being used for a child, or someone who is happy to read on x1 speed it would be perfect, but I like to listen at the speed I generally read which is x1.5 or x2, this didn’t really lend itself to that in my opinion! As I’ve said, I found it somewhat hard to follow without the words in front of me, I was struggling to keep up with what was going on and while it was beautifully narrated, I did need the book in front of me to actually keep up with the story.

So, for all my doubts I too firmly love this book. It wasn’t as incredible as others made it out to be so I’m glad I went in to it with some trepidation as I actually think I enjoyed it more because of that! Ultimately this is a 3/5 from me which is, among the people I’m friends with on goodreads, unusual.

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