Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

April 3, 2015 4.5 stars, Audio Book, Book Review 13 ★★★★½

Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #4
Published by Dreamscape Media, Feiwel & Friends on March 6, 2015
Genres: Middle Grade & Childrens
Pages: 256
Length: 7 hours 24 minutes
Narrator: Heath Miller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
My Reviews in this series: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy -- in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution--until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant.

Time magazine has praised Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland books as "one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century." In this fourth installment of her saga, Valente 's wisdom and wit will charm readers of all ages.


​It all makes sense now, I must be a changeling!

Have you ever felt NOT normal? Like you don’t belong? I know I have and so does Hawthorn aka Thomas Rood in The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. Because he knows there simply must be more to life and all everyday objects then this.

I’m leaving on a jetplane…err flying panther

Stolen away as a babe from his troll parents and home in fairyland, Hawthorn is made a changeling and left on earth with human parents. But even when he’s a baby his parents sense something off about him. The whole of his life he’s told he’s not normal, and why can’t he be normal? He remembers that things should be able to talk, practically every thing should be able to and yet they can’t – but that doesn’t stop him from trying to get them to talk to him anyways. Ultimately as he gets older he tires of the therapists and his father’s rants that he should act normal and so he spends quite a bit of time trying to be normal for their sake and ultimately forgets that he is a troll. Until one day when he realizes that his longtime childhood friend Tamburlain is also far from normal.

A troll and his knitted wombat, a fetch and her pet gramophone

So begins their journey back to the land of fairyland! And much to do it is. Tamburlain has a pet gramophone and she taught Tom how to use magic, with which he brought his toy wombat to life. This troupe of four was such marvelous fun to travel with especially Blunderbuss the wombat. This little creature has the BEST lines in the book that left me chuckling every time. I admit I went back again and again just to listen to them. All hail the land of Wom I say!!

There is a lot in store for them as they try to find the Spinster on behalf of the King of Fairyland because he no longer wants to be king. They meet a lot of other changelings along the way – even the true Tom Rood. What I love most about these books is that they are full of lighthearted whimsy but also darker undertones that really tug at your heart. This was a story of feeling like you don’t belong which many kids and adults will likely relate to. But it also is about adapting and going after what you want and finally finding the place you belong. Some reader’s might be sad that this 4th book in the series doesn’t star September (she does make an appearance) but I was so excited to have fresh new characters. You most certainly DON’T need to have read the previous three books to read The Boy Who Lost Fairyland!

Thoughts on the audio narration

THE. ABSOLUTE. BEST! Oh goodness I cannot even contain the sheer glee I experienced listening to this audio book. It makes me want to rush out and buy the three previous books on audio as well (tho they weren’t all narrated by Heath Miller). Catherynne. M. Valente’s Fairyland books definitely lend themselves extremely well to the audio format because so much of the whimsy can come across through the narrator and voice acting. As I listened to Bluderbuss rant and rave I could see the little critter in my mind stomping and flailing around demanding to be heard. The narrator was so skilled at really making me feel Hawthorn’s emotions and sympathizing with him. I think with this listen I may have been completely converted to the audio format for this series. Previously I had read them all in print instead of listening but listening had me enjoying the experience so much more then reading the print books did. Tho I do wish I could still see the illustrations that are likely in the print edition. Seriously this is an audio book that I am already pushing on friends for their kids, and even adults. This will actually be the first audiobook I’m going to get my mother to listen to! Also, I did just check and two of the books in this series thus far have been narrated by the author herself so I will definitely be checking those out even tho I’ve already read the books in print.

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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 Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente”

  1. Dragana

    I keep saying I will read this series… Now you sparked my interest even more by saying that I do not need to read previous books for The Boy Who Lost Fairyland… Are you sure I would not have problems with some holes in world building?
    Dragana recently posted…March 2015 – Monthly RewindMy Profile

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Oh I’m so happy to read that you enjoyed this one so much, and that it was so good despite a change in MC 😀 I actually still need to read Fairyland #3 – it actually just arrived in my mailbox a few days ago (finally), but I’ll definitely be going on with the series after reading your thoughts on book #4. As much as I do love September, it IS exciting to have a new MC to get to know and love 🙂
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Dealing with DragonsMy Profile