Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

17172391Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

Format/Length: Paperback/328 pages

Publisher/Date Published: January 1st 2013/Much-in-Little

Category/Genre: Young Adult/Whimsical-Fantasy

Source: Library

Description: Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

3/5 stars —


This was the book of  Unnecessary Capitalization and Beautiful Writing. And just so you get the idea of how irritating this Unnecessary Capitalization is, I will proceed to write the whole review in this format.

So overall? This was a Good Book. Really, it was. If you’re a fan of Alice In Wonderland — and similar stories which feature talking animals, creative storylines, and an overall whimsical feeling like me — you’re going to at least like this one. I debated whether I should write a review for this one, considering that I felt like most of the plot was rather forgettable, and I don’t mean to sound Overly Negative, because honestly, I did enjoy this book, though there were a few issues I had with it that hindered my enjoyment.

This post will also include lots of Alice In Wonderland gifs. Duh.

alice in wonderland animated GIF

The best way to describe this book is by saying that it was really, really creative.

The author  is a Wildy Creative writer, and what I loved most about this book was the surreal, whimsical feeling that it had. I likened this to Alice In Wonderland not only because they share similar themes in a young girl entering a magical world — in September’s (by the way, love the name) case, Fairyland, and loveable talkative animals. (WHO DOESN’T LIKE TALKING ANIMALS? I DARE YOU TO STEP FORWARD.) I seriously have to applaud the author on her skills to creative a Wonderfully Vivid world, which sucked me in from the first page.

The Beautiful Writing, people. It was Spectacular.

I’m not sure whether I would describe the author’s writing style as being Lyrical, exactly, but her Beautiful Writing was attributed to the fantastic descriptions that kept Fairyland alive, vivid, and entertaining. She is definitely a writer I would Read Again because her style was something I enjoyed.

…for the Most Part, anyway.

alice in wonderland animated GIF

Fun fact: I’ve never watched any Alice In Wonderland films. What’s wrong with me?

The problem with having such Beautiful Writing can mean it might sometimes becomes dull.

Okay, so let me explain myself. Yes, I said that she is an author I would  Read Again, but there were times in the story — during the middle, especially — where I felt like the Beautiful Writing became too much. There came a point where I wanted something more to happen, because the story was becoming a Little Dull. My other negative point was September. She was an All Right Protagonist, if not a bit Predictable, but I didn’t really connect with her. For one, she just left her mother behind without a second thought, and never really felt that guilty about it. Secondly, because of the third person writing style I was quite distanced from her. (I realize that in third person you’re going to be somewhat disconnected to the characters, but I just didn’t get September.)

Do I recommend this book?

Here’s my answer: If you think you might like it, then yes, give it a try. But this book probably isn’t for every reader out there.

moon animated GIF


9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

  1. LOL, the unnecessary capitalisation. Awww I’m sorry you didn’t like this more. I loved it. I do agree it got a bit dull at some points, though – and then there’d be something new and I’d love it all over again. I just loved how DIFFERENT it was!! And there are quite a few more in the series so I’ll really have to get them…somehow…

  2. Wonderful review, Kara! I have this on my TBR, but it’s not a priority for me, being MG and all. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one more, but I’m glad to hear it’s different and creative. :) Though not so glad to hear about the unnecessary capitalisation…

  3. Great review Kara! This sounds like a really interesting read – I love the sound of the creativity and writing style, but i guess that sometimes that can come at the cost of progressing the plot. Either way, I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR :)

  4. Gosh, what IS wrong with you?? Never seen ANY Alice in Wonderland films….*tut tut* They’re awesome.
    I actually won this so I have it to read I just…just haven’t gotten to it! I think I’ll enjoy the creative imagination but the being detached from September is really frustrating. I totally get that.

  5. Loved this review-the capital letters cracked me up lol. I also gave this book a 3 star rating, it had so much potential and the writing really was beautiful, but the actual plot was a bit dull.

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