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

October 3, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 13 ★★★★★

Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland cover

“One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”—Time magazine, on the Fairyland series

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .


An Adventure, with a capital A! This Fairyland installment shines as much as the tale before it! The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There continues to chronicle September’s exploits in Fairyland with whimsy, flair and a healthy helping of balderdash!

If you are of a mind to pick up these books you will find a world full of wonder and nonsensical wisdom that of course makes the most perfect sense you will ever read. What makes these books so marvelous is that Valente takes the simplest thoughts, pleasures and actions you might ever have an impulse of doing – and brings them to life in such a way that is not only true – but FUN!

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There’s something to be said for breaking things. They make a satisfying sound when they crunch. ~location 2884
September’s return journey into Fairyland brings her back a year older, a touch wiser and no less determined to do what needs doing. She is still without a shadow and discovers so are many of the residents of Fairyland. With the shadows gone from Fairyland-Above the magic is seeping away into Fairyland-Below. Magic is in such short supply that it needs to be rationed. September knows this must have started with her shadow and sets out to confront herself.

At each turn of the page I was delighted and amazed at how much more in love with September and this world I could become.

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“A book is a door, you know. Always and forever. A book is a door into another place and another heart and another world. ~location 2027
There are no truer words that could be written and captures the exact reason why I read: To see those other worlds and know those others hearts.

Then would come a line that would make me crack an evil smile like no other, squeeze the book and let out a forceful, “YES, precisely!”  These are the things I could picture myself doing…whether I was a child or the 30-something I am now. I know such lines will resonate with the child within us all.

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September could just barely see the ornate handle in the dark. It made her think of the one that, when flipped, animated Frankenstein’s monster in the film her mother quite regretted taking her to. For a week afterward, September had run about the house, turning on the lights in every room and booming out what she considered a very scientific and professional cackle. ~location 717
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There would be a perfect book to read together with your child or one that a middle grade reader could devour on their own, but is most definitely a guilty pleasure that I highly recommend to every adult who has ever imagined Fairyland.


The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Find: Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads
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Read my Review of Book 1 The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making


and see my review of The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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13 Responses to “Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente”

  1. Pamela D

    If I hear a book is good, I will check it out even if I am way older than the recommended age. This way if I meet someone of any age, I can recommend a good SF&F book to them. 🙂
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      • Pamela D

        Awww shucks. 🙂

        But seriously, I feel that is important to encourage kids to read, so I always like to have a few book ideas handy that might fit him/her. If the book happens to be SF&F, that is just the cherry on top, but that is just because I think SF&F is the bees knees.
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        • Tabitha the Pabkins

          I completely agree – I frequently buy and give books to the children of my friends. And when I’m in book stores browsing the teen or children’s racks, strike up convos with their parents and recommend books. Maybe they think I’m some weird lurker when I do that LOL.

          • Pamela D

            I do the same thing in the bookstores! I usually start with some general comments, and then if they seem interested in suggestions I throw some out there. A parent can read through a picture book in the store; however, once you get into chapter books, it is nice to have someone confirm that a book is good or not.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I love the covers too! They are so great and the stories are so wonderful in these books! I just found out today there is now a soundtrack, a professional soundtrack to go with the books!