Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Author: Cathrynne M. Valente
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Hardcover: 272 pages
Is There a Pooka in This Book? Sadly, no.
I’m not going to give a full review of this book as I feel it’d be a bit redundant after having just lengthily reviewed “TGWCFSHOM.” Suffice it to say that while being totally different (plot-wise), this sequel is very much the same as the first – except with a more Tim Burton-y feel. (The only difficulty lies in figuring out who Johnny Depp would play if it were made into a movie. None of the male characters seem extravagant enough to suit him).
I think a character name is all that’s needed to show what I mean: Halloween, the Hollow Queen. See? Tim Burton.
September remains true to herself and keeps kicking ass (she is less pumpkin-y, though, having undergone a complete wardrobe change). The language is still to-die-for. The “villains” are even more sympathetic than those in the first novel.
What also remains, maddeningly, is the confounded alliteration. At the outset, as September waits to return to her beloved Fairyland, Valente writes, “Surely the Green Wind would be sailing back over the sky for her any day, laughing and leaping and alliterating his way back into her world” (5). I was hoping that this was a sort of tongue-in-cheek, almost bashful acknowledgement of the fact that she went a bit overboard with the alliteration in “TGWCFSHOM.” No such luck. Despite the fact that the Green Wind remains conspicuously absent, the alliteration is omnipresent. We get references to “violet velvet” and “painted parchment” (92), “pendants of piquant power” for girls who are “plain and practical” (46), the “weird well of the world” (190), “Duchesses in the deepest dells” (164) and “lamps lit for a little lunch” (134) throughout.
Things I Loved:
- More weird creatures: especially the Hreinn and the Monacielli
- The discussion about shadows and pronouns
- Chapter VI: “The Elephant’s Fiery Heart”, in which September meets a family with a greater penchant for coffee and tea than even I have. They assert that these delicious hot beverages are a sort of magic, called “wet magic.” I could get down with being a Wet Magic Witch… if I weren’t already a Pooka, of course. Do you think I could be both?
- September’s reaction to seeing the movie “Frankenstein.”
- The Narrative Barometer
- The sixth kiss (much better than the first)
In all, “TGWFBFLRT” is much the same as “TGWCFSHOM” and my love for it is much the same. However, there was no one image that stuck with me as much as the personification of Death did in the first novel. There were some misprints in publication. (The wrong character name being used, and once, the notes to a chapter say that we’re going to meet a “rather unfriendly reindeer” and then the reindeer we meet is all kinds of friendly). And, I think it lost a little bit of its shine because I was ready for the beauty this time around. Nothing can compare to encountering a new, fantastical prose style for the first time. This isn’t Valente’s fault. It isn’t as if her writing style changed and I was disappointed. And I did love the moral complexities she presented (having to do with freedom and individuality). The message that our shadow selves should be embraced (that we need wildness and darkness) was well heard. And of course, I’m a sucker for a very happy ending.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Nibbles