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

Here is what I had to say about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente:

Bluntly, I loved everything about this audio book. The story is a wonderful blend of fairytale, epic quest, and fantasy adventure. It is full of gorgeous language, imaginative characters and world building and a unique combination of hilarity and human wisdom and compassion. Everything is just right: the blend of action and character, the balance between world building and language, and the mix of friendship, adventure and tragedy gives it a depth and beauty that is rare these days.

This led, however, to a semi-tragic or comi-tragic mistake on my part. When I finished the first book in the series I panicked a little and rushed to the library to grab what I thought was the next book so there wouldn’t be any gap in my listening pleasure. But I accidentally picked up the third not second book.  And alas, the third book is narrated by the author while the second is not.

So not only did I skip a book and not realize for a few chapters but I had to stop listening to the voice of the author, who I adore, and return to the second book narrated by someone else.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There was nevertheless a second great adventure in this amazing series.

Blurb? Blurb:

Fairyland2audioSeptember 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 in The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There … 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.

I have to agree as the second book is, like the first, full of wonderful language, description, and imagination; a mix of fairy tale, epic quest, reworked mythology and coming of age story. Great characters, hilarious and often moving dialog, and a constant sense of new things just around the corner.

And once I got over my heartbreak at not hearing the author herself read her work I enjoyed S.J. Tucker’s narration.  I think Publisher’s Weekly gets it right:

Narrator S.J. Tucker captures the book’s bedtime-story quality and delivers an enchanting performance. In addition to softly spoken narration—that is soothing and almost musical—the narrator produces an entertaining range of voices for the book’s strange and wonderful characters. Tucker’s narration will easily keep young listeners enthralled.

On our recent vacation we listened to both books in the car and the kids, like their father, were somewhat disappointed to not hear the author’s voice.  But Tucker is a skilled narrator and drew them deep into the story.

If you haven’t read (or like me listened to) this series yet I suggest you get started.  It is not to be missed

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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