WWRW: Another Valente Book

I just finished Catherynne Valente’s book The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.  This is the second in the series, and if you’d like to read my much more detailed view of the first book, click here.

I was really excited to find this book in our library a couple weeks ago.  I began it with gusto because I enjoyed the first one so much, but it took me a little longer to get into than the last one.

Our main character September is back in Fairyland a year after her first visit.  She has been yearning to get back to her friends and see how wonderful Fairyland is now that she helped rid them of the little-girl-tyrant, the Marquess.  But all is not well when she returns.  Her actions from her last visit have had unintended and unexpected consequences, and now all the magic is disappearing from Fairyland.

September is nothing if not a brave and dutiful girl, so she does what she must and travels to Fairyland-Below (an underworld of sorts) to right her wrongs.  Along the way she does find her friends, but they are quite literally the shadows of their former selves.  She struggles to know if she can trust them, to understand the differences, and to see what everyone thinks is so great about Fairyland-Below.

This book is a bit darker than the first.  At first it turned me off, as I was enchanted by the magical descriptions of Fairyland in the first book, and Fairyland-Below, while certainly as magical, is just… always dark.  But as the plot went on and September faced more moral questions, I came to believe that this book has even greater depth than the first.

Fairyland-Below is a hedonistic place, one where everyone lives for the parties (Revels) and magic is in abundance.  You can have anything you want so long as you Want It Enough.  Everyone seems happy there, but September sees it for what it truly is.  She knows that the lifestyles of Fairyland-Below are only half-lives.  It’s brilliant, really, and is what I can only assume Valente’s assessment of our very own society.

Other than one scene where I got so annoyed with Valente’s verbose description of a Revel, the prose continued to impress me.  Her development of September’s character is truly remarkable.  My favorite quote, which both brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart was this:

Valente Quote

That’s all I’ve got for tonight, as this is my “bonus” post for today.  Go visit Jessica @ Housewifespice, who has a great list of books for siblings expecting a new baby brother or sister.