Narrator: Catherynne M. Valente

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

Posted September 3, 2012 by Bonnie in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA / 2 Comments

Audiobook Review – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Narrator: Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on May 10, 2011
Length: 7 hours and 17 minutes
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

Also by this author: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two


Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making tells the story of a girl named September, who was actually born in May, who was fortunately born on a Tuesday, who is 12 years old, who’s mother builds planes and who’s father is off fighting in the war, and who is from Nebraska. She leaves her home one night with the Green Wind on the back of his flying leopard and doesn’t say goodbye and never looks back.

“… but as has been said, September read often, and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying.”

September was a charming child who was full of heart. She escaped to Fairyland in hopes of a little fun but what she got was not what she anticipated. Fairyland was full of violent and evil beings which was in all actuality no different than the world she left behind, yet, along the way she made some dear friends like Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday that made it all worthwhile.

“I wouldn’t even consider it if I were you. But then if I were you, I would not be me, and if I were not me, I would not be able to advise you, and if I were unable to advise you, you’d do as you like, so you might as well do as you like and have done with it.”

I’m quite glad that I took this adventure to ‘Fairyland’ via audio because I think the flowery words and huge sentences would have been too much for me to bear on print. As it was it still took some getting used to but I ended up enjoying this. ‘Fairyland’ (because it’s simply too long of a title to say repeatedly) is one of those Middle Grade novels that will be well loved by children because it’s adventurous and imaginative yet in retrospect will only be able to be truly understood and appreciated by an Adult reader. I do wish I had the second book on audio, but I think now that I know what to expect from the writing style I won’t have such difficulty.

Recommended for those that enjoy children fantasy stories with a dash of seriousness.