Fairyland (series)

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Fairyland is a series of five fantasy novels by Catherynne M. Valente. It follows a 12-year-old girl named September as she is spirited away from her average life to Fairyland.

In Valente's previous novel, Palimpsest, the narrator briefly discusses a book that one of the characters read as a child, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Valente then began a book by that title as a crowd-funded project and published the story online. The book was later picked up by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishers) for traditional publication.[1] It is published in the UK by Much-in-Little (Constable & Robinson).[2] Valente has stated that Fairyland will be a five book series.[3]

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While[edit]

On July 27, 2011, a short prequel was published as an e-book by Tor.com, and is available to read there.[4] The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While features an opening illustration by Ana Juan, and tells the story of the young girl who became Fairyland's evil Marquess.

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland - For a Little While
Author Catherynne M. Valente
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Tor.com
Publication date
July 27, 2011
Media type Print (e-book)
Pages 31 pages
ISBN ISBN 978-1-250-02350-6 (e-book)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making[edit]

Published in May 2011, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was written before the prequel, but set after it. In this book, 12-year-old September has her first adventure in Fairyland.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
FairylandbyCatherynneValente.jpg
Cover of the first edition of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author Catherynne M. Valente
Cover artist Ana Juan (jacket illustration), Rich Deas (jacket design)
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre Fiction, Novel
Publisher Feiwel & Friends
Constable & Robinson
Publication date
May 2011
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 256 pages
ISBN ISBN 978-0-312-64961-6 (hardcover)

Plot Summary[edit]

An unseen narrator relates the story of September, a twelve-year-old girl from Omaha, Nebraska. September's father is a soldier at war in Europe and her mother works all day building airplane engines in a factory. One day a Green Wind visits her and she accepts his offer to take her to the great sea that borders Fairyland. September meets a gnome who gives her the ability to see Fairyland as it truly is before pushing her into that world. September's adventures continue in Fairyland, where she meets witches who give her a mission to steal a spoon back from the Marquess, who rules fairyland with an iron fist. She teams up with A-Through-L, a wyvern who believes his absent father to have been a library and thus considers himself a "Wyverary", a wyvern and library hybrid. When they find the Marquess, she hands over the witches' spoon in return for September's promise to retrieve a special sword from a casket in the Worsted Wood. September meets Saturday, a marid, and with A-Through-L they head for the Worsted Wood, where September finds the casket. The "sword" inside varies depending on the interests of the finder's mother, so September found not an actual sword, but a wrench because of her mother's work as a mechanic As September escapes the Worsted Wood with the wrench, Saturday and A-Through-L are kidnapped and she sets about finding them. She must circumnavigate Fairyland in a ship of her own making to land at the Lonely Gaol, a jail at the bottom of the world. Along the way, she befriends a one-hundred-and-twelve-year-old paper lantern named Gleam, who helps to guide September to the Lonely Gaol. Once there, she learns the Marquess's full story and that she wants September to use the wrench to permanently separate Fairyland and the human world. September refuses and frees her friends from the Gaol. She uses Saturday's marid powers to wish everything well again, just before her time in Fairyland runs out—until the next spring, when she is bound by law to return.

Reception[edit]

Fairyland was published by Feiwel & Friends as a novel for young adults (10–14 years old), but has been embraced as a tale for all ages. The New York Times noted that "there’s a ton of grown-up humor — Valente mocks bureaucrats, Bergman and put-­upon grad students, lost on kids but fun for oldsters."[5] Neil Gaiman called it a "glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian Fairy Tale", while Peter Beagle said "Catherynne Valente is a find, at any age!"[6]

Selected as a Best Book of the Month for May 2011, Amazon.com called Fairyland "a fantastical tale that's somewhere between Lewis Carroll and Terry Pratchett", stating that "Catherynne Valente's imaginative cast of characters and spirited prose turn what could be a standard heroine-on-a-quest story into something on par with the best (and weirdest) classics."[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2009, Fairyland, which was published online, won the Nebula/Andre Norton Award.[8] It was the first book to win the award before traditional publication.[6]

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making won the readers' choice CultureGeek Best Web Fiction of the Decade award for best web fiction of the 2000s.[9]

In May 2011, it debuted at number 8 on the New York Times Bestseller list.[10]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There[edit]

The second book of the Fairyland series was released on October 2, 2012. In it, September returns to Fairyland and attempts to reunite with her shadow, Halloween, who was lost in the previous book. It was published in the UK in January 2013.[11]

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Author Catherynne M. Valente
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre Fiction, Novel
Publisher Feiwel & Friends
Constable & Robinson
Publication date
October 2, 2012
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 258 pages
ISBN ISBN 978-0-312-64962-3 (hardcover)

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two[edit]

The third book of the series was released on October 8, 2013. In the third book, September is spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and finds herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland[edit]

The fourth book of the series will be released in March, 2015. The blurb released to USA Today summarizes the novel: "When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy -- in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution--until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant."[12]

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
Author Catherynne M. Valente
Cover artist Ana Juan (jacket illustration), Rich Deas (jacket design)
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre Fiction, Novel
Publisher Feiwel & Friends
Constable & Robinson
Publication date
October 8, 2013
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 256 pages
ISBN ISBN 978-1-250-02350-6 (hardcover)

References[edit]

External links[edit]