By Catherynn M. Valente
ages: 11+ (I’m not sure the younger set would like this one. Just saying.)
First sentence: “
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Others in the series: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Review copy snagged off the ARC shelves at work.
It’s been a year since September has left Fairyland Underneath, and she aches to return. The Real World just isn’t as fun or as interesting as Fairyland. And she’s been told that she can return every year, so she waits. And waits. But no one comes. Until, one day, long after she’s expecting them, someone does come, but won’t let her in. So, desperate as she is, she breaks in. Which means she’s a Criminal. She finds that things aren’t the same as they were, encounters the Blue Wind (who’s quite obnoxious), gets sent on a Mission, and tries to fight a Yeti on the moon. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds.
But, even though there were passages I found amusing (most specifically, the description of the Lopsided Library) and characters (like the car Aroostook) I liked, I just wasn’t as charmed with this one as I was with the other two. Maybe it’s because September is Getting Older, and Valente tried to bring in not only romance (Saturday, the Marid, is in love with September), but also the Trials of Getting Older, and it just didn’t Work. (This book makes me want to Emphasize with Capital Letters. It’s an unfortunate side effect.) I skimmed more than I read, I rolled my eyes more than I laughed. I wanted to Love Ell the Wyvery and Saturday again; I wanted to Enjoy September’s journey. But my heart wasn’t in it.
I don’t know if that means it’s the writing or just that I’m getting tired of this series. Could be either. Or both.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)