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

Girl Who Circumvented FairylandInformation

Goodreads: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Series: Fairyland #1
Source: Purchased
Published: 2012


One day the Green Wind catches up September and takes her to Fairyland—but all is not how it should be.  Fairies are scarce, winged beasts are forbidden to fly, and the Marquess has stolen the spoon the witches use to see the future.  September agrees to travel to the capital and retrieve the spoon, but somewhere along the way she realizes that her quest has grown bigger than she anticipated.


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making possesses a magical charm all its own.  Full of quirks, whimsy, and a lot heart, it grabs readers from the beginning with its evident desire to transport them along with September to the world of Faerie.  And what a world it is.  Far from the safe, comfortable land of candy and sparkles some might expect, Fairyland is rife with danger and the unexpected, hearkening back to traditional tales where an encounter with the fey folk would leave a person changed forever.  September, however, is young–as our sly narrator likes to remind us–and apt to heartlessness.  She does not yet understand the cost her journey may exact and watching her journey carelessly onward full of her innocence broke my own heart just a little.

Of course wonder exists in Fairyland  as well, and I found myself nearly as enchanted as September.  Whimsical cities made of yarn, a wyvern fathered by a library, a lamp come to life–the landscapes and the characters captivated me almost more than the plot.  The plot held its own, however, masterfully intertwining the story of a girl spirited away, the introduction of politics and progress to Fairyland, and the depiction of a quest for a Spoon that turns out to be so much more.  Valente uses familiar elements in her story–after all, don’t we all think we know, despite its oddities, how Fairyland works?—but utterly transforms them.  Her story seems not “fresh” or “new” or “bold,” but something else entirely.  Almost as if it simply sprung up and was not crafted at all.

Yet Valente clearly is a master crafter.  Her love of words suffuses each page; I wanted to linger to savor them, as Valente seemed to have done when she wrote them.  Her prose is part of the magic.  With only a few words, she can draw out the myriad unsaid aspects of a character or the terrible implications of a short uttered phrase.   She makes words her words count and she makes her words mean something.  It is a rare gift and I felt privileged to be able to share it.

I do not often find myself rereading recently published books, but The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making possesses so much charm and wit and magic that I found myself picking it up for a second time–and I can see myself rereading it many more times to come.  Three books of the projected five in the series have already been published, and I dread a little the day that September’s adventures end.  But it is comforting to know that I can always go back.

Krysta 64

5 thoughts on “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

    • Krysta says:

      I’m glad you liked the review! The Fairyland novels are one of my favorite new series, so I was excited I could finally share them my enthusiasm. 🙂


  1. DoingDewey says:

    I love when I can tell that an author loved what they were writing. I recently learned that Maggie Steifvater’s favorite books she’s written are also my favorite books she’s written (Scorpio Races and Dream Thieves) and it didn’t surprise me at all. They just seemed as though she had enjoyed writing them 🙂


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