The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M Valente


Another great cover, and another long title! ‘The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There‘ follows on from ‘The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making‘, which I reviewed last year. It’s probably not necessary to read the 1st, if you’ve picked up this one, but it would certainly add to the experience, so I would recommend going back if possible.

Both books are quite difficult to describe, and I don’t think my reviews do them justice. They are, in essence, wonderful fairy stories, with some very¬†imaginative creatures and characters. Catherynne’s style is very lyrical, and no matter what strange thing she is describing, the words seem to flow from the page.

Most of the important characters from her earlier adventure are there, but are not themselves. In the world under Fairlyland, she meets their shadows, almost the same, but with differences – some subtle, some not so subtle. Her own shadow, taken from her during that first adventure, is in charge, and September feels that things are not right, and it’s up to her to put it right.

Amongst the strangeness and magic, there are serious themes and truths, and this felt like a more grown up book than the 1st. September is now a young teenager, and throughout her adventure, she somehow manages to go through those usual teen thoughts and situations, including learning to think about others, her plans for her future, and her first kiss.

I don’t see these books mentioned enough, and I think they have the potential to be future classics – younger readers will enjoy the magical strangeness, whilst those a little older will start to see a little deeper. There are many layers, and I’m sure I will find more on re-reading.

Recommended for readers of all ages who enjoy falling into a book and getting lost there.

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