The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is the long-awaited sequel to Cat Valente's debut novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and it delivers on all the promise of that book, which is one of the strongest fantasy novels for young readers I've had the pleasure of getting lost in.

September, the young heroine of Circumnavigated, is back in the mundane world when she chases a green wind across the Nebraska prairie and returns to her beloved Fairyland. But it's not Fairyland as she remembered it: her shadow -- lost on a previous adventure -- has become the Hollow Queen of the Underworld, and is using her minion, the terrible Alleyman, to steal all of Fairyland's shadows and with them, Fairyland's magic. Equipped with a magic ration-book and a few scant adventurer's supplies, September runs to the Underworld for a series of Adventures, in an attempt to foil her shadow's evil and restore the natural order to Fairyland above.

But this is a Valente novel, so nothing is at seems. There's as much Phantom Tollbooth here as there is Narnia, a disorienting but familiar sense of story-ness as September travels slantwise through the underworld, shot through with menace and heroism. You never know what's coming next in Fell Beneath, and the most roundabout and whimsical turns always come back around to the main story and its payoff.

As masterful as the first novel, and with a reprise of Ana Juan's illustrations, this is a most worthy sequel. I'm also excited to note that there's an unabridged, DRM-free MP3CD audiobook edition, because this is one of those fairytales, like Gaiman's Stardust, that you want to have read aloud to you.

If your fancy is tickled by this, don't miss Deathless, Valente's fantasy for adults about the Siege of Leningrad.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There


  1. Wait, that was Valente that wrote that?! I’d been introduced to Deathless, but I didn’t realize she wrote these two.

    This’ll be good.

  2. I could not possibly be more excited for this sequel. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland has a place in the cabinet where I keep my very, very favorite books, and it looks like I’m going to need to make room there for this one, too. 

  3. Hmm I wonder where my daughters copy of the first one went. I meant to read it after she was done. She throughly enjoyed it.

  4. I can’t wait to read The Girl Who Fell Beneath…, and am thrilled it’s finally out. Thanks for recommending it here. Minor quibble: The Girl Who Circumnavigated… is not Cat Valente’s debut novel, although it is her first foray into middle-grade literature. Valente wrote several novels, including the magnificent Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden and Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice, before entering Fairyland. Valente is also notable for Palimpsest, an adult novel about a dream city’s polyamorous loves, from which the Fairyland books are an implausible children’s spinoff.

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