Norain's Reviews > The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. Valente
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Jun 26, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: middle-grade, fairy-tale
Read from June 26 to July 02, 2012

It was hard not to compare this and the classic Alice in Wonderland: here was also a story about a girl who followed her whim and sought an adventure in a magical land. But the heart of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (here on known as Fairyland) was different from Alice in Wonderland, for to me, the latter was a meandering story written by pedophile while he was not quite right in the mind. Fairyland had a more coherent flow and was very neat at that, too.

I was deeply impressed by Valente's imagination and the vividness and richness of her description. Previously to this, I had just finished Cinder and thought that writer Marissa Meyer was very descriptive. After reading Fairyland, I am sorry to say but Meyer's talent dimmed profoundly compared to Valente's. But it was because of the beautiful description that I wrongly expected to see adventure AND laughter in Fairyland, and albeit the many warnings that this was not meant to be a happy frolic, I stubbornly refused to accept the misadventures gone through by September. I hoped against hope that things would right themselves and September could enjoy her journey at Fairyland. I guess that was the reason I found it hard to totally feel September's misery, anger, pain and fear, until she had to kill a fish for meal (and that was quite small compared to her other misadventures), and that was nearly the end.

Still, despite my high applaud for Valente's descriptive narration, there was some scene which was not quite to my liking, like the one with velocipides (living bicycle) which felt too Wild West for my taste. The wedding ceremony of the Squiggles was like Mad Hatter's tea party and the Tsukumogami seemed to be influenced by Japanese ghost stories. And it was because of too much a description at the early part of the book, what with the introduction of so many rules about Fairyland, my focus was not really there.

There was however something quiet and somewhat lonely about this book. And humane too, for none of the character was wholly black or white. This was no fairy-tale, despite the name Fairyland, for the 'bad' had reasons to be bad and the 'good' was not without flaw. This was the quality that appealed to me the most, and the reason I could not hate the Marquess. From the moment September met her, I started to feel that there was something 'weird' about the Marquess that rendered me incapable of passing judgement to her behaviour. I saw her more as a pragmatic leader, one who believed that the end justified the mean, a dictator who could not be understood by her subjects. Maybe you think it is wrong for me to refrain from calling this bad, but really, what is 'evil'?

Hitler and Stalin aside, this was an incredible story. If I were a child and read this book, I was sure the memory of it would remain with me for long thereafter. I believe this will one day be considered as a classic and a must-read-children-book.
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Reading Progress

06/30/2012 page 115
47.0% ""Men's are so awfully fond of attributing women's work to their brothers!" Sounds familiar? :D"
12/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Laili (new) - added it

Laili hai norain. nanti dah habis baca boleh tulis review? this is really the type of book i like. please. thanks!


Norain Insya-Allah:) Saya baca ebook. So if you have an e-reader I can actually email it to you, you know.


Limau Nipis yatta.. nak e-book copy


Limau Nipis oh never mind, found one.. teheee. best macam benedict society tak?


Norain Setakat ni saya rasa boleh dikatakan sama tahap bestnya. Penulis sangat imaginatif dan deskriptif, saya suka.

Akak, kalau ada yang saya label ebook dan akak tak jumpa free download, boleh je minta saya.


Limau Nipis so did you finish the whole set of the benedict society? i like the second book though, lagi seronok dari yang pertama *wink*


Norain Belum!!! So jangan spoiler, haha. Banyak sangat buku yang menarik, dengan ebooknya, dengan buku library lagi, rambang mata la kak! Tu belum yang nak dibeli lagi tu.


Limau Nipis I think you will love Constance in book 2. Kurang faham significance Constance dalam buku 1, jadi buku 2 akan nampak bakat Constance :)


message 9: by Laili (new) - added it

Laili Norain MT wrote: "Insya-Allah:) Saya baca ebook. So if you have an e-reader I can actually email it to you, you know."

oh boleh jugak! ni email: sitinurlailimohamed@yahoo.com. Thank u very much!


Norain Dah hantar:)


Limau Nipis reviewwww!!


Norain Haha. On the way, on the way.


Natasha I read this last year n love it so much!


Norain Yes, am waiting for the sequel. Maybe I will try Valente's other books too.


Natasha Oooh me too..she has a way with words..I hope my children would someday read this and love it too. :)


Norain I'm thinking the same too. I think it'll be nice if I can discuss or just chat about nice books with my children since they were small. [Should I have the misfortune of not having a book lover for a husband, I am going to make sure that at least the interest will live in our babies' blood] Haha.


Natasha Hear ye..hear ye..:)


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