The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making


How did I get it?:
I bought it!


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.


I have heard so many wonderful things about this series of books by Catherynne M. Valente. I found myself  with a lot of time to spare so I decided to finish this book off. I thought The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making was an easy, fast-paced middle grade read which didn’t take me long at all to devour. I did enjoy this book, but I’m not overly sure if I’ll continue with it-mainly because I’m trying to commit to less series and finish ones off that are pending! If, however, you’ve really enjoyed this series, please let me know and I shall continue!

I’m going to state the blatantly obvious now and say that this is a beautiful, magical trip into Fairyland. Everything about it is magical. I thought that the writing was beautiful. It’s not too descriptive, yet you can really picture what Fairyland is like. I found some of the writing utterly quotable which such wonderful sentiments.

Here are two of my favourites:

“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.” 


“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.” 

I think that with these quotes you get just a snippet of the wonderful writing. Catherynne M.Valente is truly a great writer!

I loved September, who is our main character. She’s fiesty, fun and curious. I think it was important that we saw Fairyland through a twelve year olds eyes. They’re less cynical than us adults and pick up such unique and special moments/things. All of the characters are imaginative, creative and fun. Their character names are completely strange, but very fun and, I imagine, enjoyable for children to remember.

It might sound like I should be giving this book four or five stars, but I can’t. I appreciated the beautiful writing and the wonderful, imaginative characters but something in the plot didn’t particularly grab me. I didn’t really feel as connected to the story as I would’ve liked. However, I’m really glad I gave it a try!

Would I recommend it?

Although I didn’t feel as gripped as I wanted to, I really enjoyed this magical trip into Fairyland!

12 thoughts on “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

  1. I started reading this book — but kept trying to read it during my morning commute when I really wasn’t able to keep my eyes open — NOT an early morning read… I’m hoping to try reading it again (it’s been highly recommended to me by a few people)… but appreciate your review because, well, I wasn’t feeling grabbed by the pages that I had read so far.

  2. I’m glad you still enjoyed the beautiful writing! I still have to read the sequels (which I am excited for), but I have to agree that I didn’t really get attached to the characters that much. But I still thought it was cool and awesome, and it’s one of my favorites! I’ll let you know what I think of the sequels when I get to them!!

  3. I haven’t heard of this one but the beautiful cover certainly pulls you into wanting to read it. Thanks for the heads-up in your honest review. I often won’t start a series unless I’m in it for the entire way, but I might give it a go or recommend it to another avid reader.

    • Thanks Greg! I do try to write my honest thoughts, I’ve become more aware that I’m starting so many series, and I needed to think about which ones I wanted to prioritise. Unfortunately this series isn’t one of them!

  4. What gripped me in this series isn’t so much the characters (well the dragon did yes) but the writing is beautiful and so reminiscent of traditional fairy tales. There is a short story by Neil Gaiman called “Instructions” and it is basically a guide lines for what you should do if you ever come across a fairy story- for example, never tell them your true name because it gives them power over you- I found this book very much reminding me of that story, and I loved it. I’ve read the first two and I want to continue with the series and her other novels as well. I’m not in a big rush to- but definitely plan to!

  5. Pingback: The Girl who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2) by Catherynne Valente « Fantasy Books!

  6. Pingback: The Girl who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2) by Catherynne Valente | Fantasy Books!

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