Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 10th 2011
Genres: Fairy Tale
Source: Owned Audible Book
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
This book has gorgeous, lovely writing… but I just never really got into it. It felt like all the elements were there- the writing, the magic, the quirky characters and creatures, the adventure… but I never really connected with September or any of the other characters. If I hadn’t loved so many of the lines (seriously, so quotable!), I doubt I would have finished this book.
I’d been meaning to read this book for years, and when my friend Courtney and I decided to revive our long distance book club of just 2, this is the one she picked and I was super excited to finally have a reason to get to it. I ordered a used library book so that I could highlight to my heart’s content, because Courtney is a very active reader and I wanted to make sure I was actively reading the book too. But there was trouble from the start- not with finding lovely lines to highlight, or story plots to discuss, but rather the fact that I had to really force myself to read more than a few pages. My attention kept drifting.
So I did the thing that usually works- I switched to audio. I love audiobooks, and they’ve often helped me get into a book that previously I just could not get into. The narration didn’t weave it’s usual magic though, and it might have made it a little worse, BUT, it did get me through the book, which I’d probably still be plodding through in hardback form instead of writing a review. I am so sad about this, because like I said, it feels like I should have loved this book.
The reason I’m giving it a 3 star rating is because there are so many lines that I loved, quotes I want to remember and keep in my bookish heart always.
“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”
“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”
“Truly, Autumn is my season,” the scarlet beast chorted. “Spring and Summer and Winter all begin with such late letters! But Autumn and Fall, I have loved best, because they are best to love.”
“Be my friend and love me, for the world is terrible lonely and I am sad.”
“I cannot help that readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief.”
“My mistress used to say that you couldn’t ever really be naked unless you wanted to be. She said: even if you’ve taken off every stitch of clothing, you still have your secrets, your history, your true name. It’s quite difficult to be really naked. You have to work hard at it.”
“There must be blood, the girl thought. There must always be blood. The Green Wind said that, so it must be true. It will be all hard and bloody, but there will be wonders, too, or else why bring me here at all? And it’s the wonders I’m after, even if I have to bleed for them.”
See, absolutely lovely words! I’m not entirely sure I’m done with this book, and I may return to my hardback and give it another re-read. Sometimes stories grow with each reading, and this book could be like that.
The audio was narrated by the author. I have mixed feelings about it. She has a nice voice, but the narration was a bit… sleepy. I couldn’t always tell which character was speaking. I was looking for a spark of magic, and so I found the narration a bit of a let down.