Goodreads: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
Series: Fairyland #4
Published: March 2015
Stolen away from Fairyland by the Red Wind, the young troll Hawthorne becomes a Changeling boy in the new world of Chicago–a world that the Wind promises is full of adventure. But something about Chicago seems wrong. Hawthorne thinks he remembers a land full of magic, a land where objects came to life and one could wear jewels and wield swords and be bold. Then one day he stumbles back to his home, but not all is well. The monarchy is in chaos and the kingdom on the brink of revolution. What side will Hawthorn land on and is he prepared for quite this much adventure?
The first book in the Fairyland series, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Making, enchanted it me with its whimsy and quirks, and I regularly gift it to all my friends so that they, too, can share the magic. However, as the series progresses, I feel myself less and less attached to the characters and even to the world. When I saw that the fourth book would leave September for a time to focus on a new character, I was relieved. This, I thought, could breathe new life back into Fairyland.
However, though I enjoyed this installment and found it amusing, it did not manage to capture my heart all over again. The story somehow feels rushed. The plot spends so much time building up to the journey back to Fairyland and, from there, everything seems a muddle. I was supposed to remember old characters and circumstances that, frankly, I did not. And I was supposed to (I assume) understand just how wrong Fairyland had gone from a few chance meetings and a splash of dialogue. But Valente does not spend enough time in this world or with its people for me to really care. In the end, this book came across to me as simply a lengthy set-up for book five.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland has its moments of beauty and it possesses some of the same heart that infuses the entire series. However, I have seen what Valente can do and I wanted more. More tugging on my heartstrings, more whimsy, more poignancy, more bittersweetness. I can only hope that the final story brings that magic one more time.