Review: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Posted: January 24, 2014 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: Catherynne M. Valente, Fantasy, Young Adult

Have you ever had a secret?  I mean a delicious, wonderful secret?  The kind you want to tell the whole world about and at the same time keep only for yourself?  Something sweet and wonderful, something that would change other people lives if they only knew, yet at the same time you wanted to keep it all to yourself?  Have you ever had one of those?

I do.  And it’s called THE GIRL WHO SOARED OVER FAIRYLAND AND CUT THE MOON IN TWO by Catherynne M. Valente (Amazon).

I’ve gushed over Valente’s writing on here before.  It’s no secret that I’m a big fan, yet each time I get a new Valente book she manages to sneak past any defenses I may have and surprise me yet again. I started reading this latest fairyland book and at the beginning it started to feel very episodic.  September manages somehow to get back to fairyland after a year of waiting.  She wants very badly to get back there and see her friends again.  She has adventures and meets strange wonderful characters (of the kind only Valente could come up with).  But it felt like I had read it before (there are two other fairyland books, both of which are wonderful).

And then Valente did it again.

It wasn’t that I realized a greater plot around the whole series buried in the subtext.  It wasn’t that some strange and unexpected revelation came changing the way I thought about everything in this fairy world.  It was the writing, and it was the characters.  The writing was beautiful.  I would reread paragraphs just to enjoy the word play and the metaphor.  I would think about the characters and concepts.  The characters started to grow and learn and make decisions.  Before I knew it the book had nuzzled in next to my heart and I wanted to hug it and have it warm me up.  It’s that kind of book.

THE GIRL WHO SOARED OVER FAIRYLAND AND CUT THE MOON IN TWO is an exquisitely written beauty of a read that I recommend to those that love Valente's prose.

I was reading it at the gym and I wanted to lean over to the person next to me and show them this delicious thing I had just experienced.  I wanted to look around and me and tell everyone how what I had read had just changed me profoundly even if only for a moment.  And yet at the same time I didn’t.  I smiled knowing that I knew a wonderful secret that these people did not.  This is that type of book.

Is the book perfect?  No.  Like I said, it took a little while to really get into it.  It was fun but didn’t grab me right away.  The other problem (if you can call it that) is the language.  Not offensive language or anything of that nature.  The language is dense and beautiful and thick like syrup.  I LOVE THAT!  But it’s harder for my daughter to get into.  Things that make me giggle they are so well told are a bit hard for my 9 year old to grasp.  She just wants dialogue and action and whimsy.  The exquisite way Valente has with words is a bit tougher for my own younger audience to swallow.  And that is hard because I want to share this world with her SO MUCH!  We’re reading it and we’re enjoying it and I’m hoping that this book will have her appreciate this type of language and how it really is meant to be used.

So it seems that I have decided to share my wonderful secret after all.  This is a secret that needs to be shared and loved and hugged by many many more people.  Enjoy.

  • Recommended Age: 12+ for comprehension
  • Language: One or two words and not one of the REALLY bad ones
  • Violence: Nothing gory
  • Sex: None

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