Goodreads: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Series: Fairyland #2
Illustrations by Ana Juan
September has waited nearly a year to return to Fairyland and her good friends Ell the Wyverary and Saturday the Marid. Fairyland, however, is nothing like she remembers. Her shadow now rules Fairyland-Below as the Hollow Queen and she has been stealing other shadows. Meanwhile, the magic drains from Fairyland, threatening to erase it from the map forever.
The second installment of Valente’s Fairyland series possesses all the wit, whimsy, and magic of the first. Rather than retread old ground, however, this book introduces readers to the world of Fairyland-Below, a place full of revels but also darkness. A place with its own rules, its own quest, and its own challenges. Because this time, September must not fight not a storybook villain, but herself.
Valente handles her material masterfully, managing to capture the enchantment and the heart readers know so well while introducing them to many darker elements. Fairyland-Below is full of shadows, wild things that contain some of the darker elements of a person’s character. So it is that September finds there, not her old friends Ell and Saturday, but their shadows. Her quest this time proves more difficult because she at first has difficulty loving these shadows the same as their more solid counterparts, even though she knows this hurts them. They are different—Ell seems more cunning and Saturday is much bolder. September is not altogether sure she likes this, even as she recognizes that these must be hidden facets of the friends above she thought she knew so well. Furthermore, she can never fully trust these new companions. Her friends’ shadows like being free and they cannot support her decision to overthrow the Hollow Queen.
Facing the Hollow Queen is a completely different challenge from deposing the Marquess. The Hollow Queen, or Halloween as she names herself, is September’s shadow. She has the same wants, needs, and desires of September, and so our heroine can never fully condemn her. Her shadow, someone explains, is how she would be had she never learned that you cannot always have what you want. Still, Halloween has valid arguments, and forcibly reconnecting her to September, ending her autonomy, does not seem like the answer. Furthermore, doing so will never erase the fact that Halloween confronts September with facets of herself she might prefer not to acknowledge.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There fittingly features a more grown-up challenge for a girl who has grown up. Now approaching thirteen, September, the narrator informs readers, possesses a heart. This complicates matters, but life is complicated and even in Fairyland September cannot escape that. Her growth is bittersweet, but she handles it with grace. September is, if nothing else, a heroine of whom readers can be proud.