The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two - Catherynne Valente

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two - Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland is the third book in Valente's delightful Fairyland series. It sees Our Heroine, September, returning to Fairyland, eager and excited to see her friends A-through-L the Wyverary and Saturday the Marid - but first she has to go to Fairyland's Moon, to deliver an important package. Once there, however, she's drawn into an Adventure: hunting Ciderskin, a Yeti who threatens to shake the Moon apart and send it crashing into Fairyland below.

 

I'm not convinced that Over Fairyland is quite as delightful as its predecessors. Though Valente's prose is dancingly lyrical as ever (though, having said that, I don't feel like I have to quote great swathes of it as I usually do), but the plot feels perfunctory, shorter than the book that encloses it, weighed down by pages of whimsical dialogue which deliver Messages with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The Moral of the Story was a problem with The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland, the second book of the series, too; but that book had more inventiveness, more strange beauty, to make up for it. Valente's Moon has none of the darkness or the wildness of her Fairyland-Below, and little of the cleverness and originality of her Fairyland. It's almost too nice: there is no threat here that you might lose yourself in this magical and seductive land.

 

Having said that, Over Fairyland does have lovelinesses to it. Saturday and September are adorable together, and September's struggles through the weirdness of their relationship (Saturday has a strange relationship with time: he exists at all moments at all times, so he keeps meeting Older Saturday or Younger Saturday. This also means that September met her and Saturday's grown daughter in the first book, which, weird) feel realistic in a way fairytales often aren't. Plus, the ending. I can't wait to find out what happens there.

 

Over Fairyland is nowhere near as beautiful or as original as its predecessors; it doesn't quite feel like a fairytale, even, as the others did. But it's still a good book in its own right, and I fully intend to power through and hope the next book returns to form.