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.
6 thoughts on “The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente”
Ohh I STILL need to read the first book!! I won it like, omg, nearly a year ago now?! And I still haven’t gotten to it…
I do think the titles are funny because they’re all the “Girl Who…” and then it gets to a boy and he broke fairyland. XD *dies laughing* AHEM.
I’m sad this one let you down though. That is no fun. Will there be more books?!?! I hope it gets back the magic that it missed!! 😀
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Yes, the switch to The Boy Who Lost Fairyland confused me at first. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a companion book or what. There is one more book in the series.
I love that your review for this went live as I just finished reading the third book! Sorry to read that this book felt rushed and stuff; I too found that as the series progressed it’s not as whimsical and all the things that made me love it in the first place. I’m in no rush to pick up this book and the last one when it comes out but I hope like you that it brings the magic back as well 🙂
I think this one is a nice, whimsical fantasy, but Valente set the bar so high that in comparison it seems a little disappointing. If the first book didn’t exist, I’d be much more enthusiastic about book four! I do like book four more than I did book three, though (to be honest, book three confused me and I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t reading carefully or if the plot itself was just confusing).
I think book five will bring back a lot of the magic, just because this installment seemed to be setting it all up and that means some care is going into the finale–but I’m also worried that all the set-up means book five will veer a little more toward standard fantasy (with a huge cast reunion to boot) and away from the whimsy.
It was good to hear your take on the series so far, though, as I haven’t seen anything but positive comments on the series as a whole.
I’m sort of allergic to Catherynne Valente. I’ve tried to read several of her books and I can’t get past the first few chapters. I wonder if this series would be different, but it’s good to know your thoughts about the later books — even if I like the first one I might not have such high expectations for the others.
I’m more ambivalent about Valente’s adult fantasies because they’re so dark and tend to end on a note of resignation that I find deeply unfulfilling. I’ve loved the Fairyland books, though, because they’re more whimsical than dark and hold out a little more hope for the possibility of magic to change things.