Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 10th 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
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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.
God I wanted to like this book so much. Honestly I did. I loved the idea of a modern fairytale written for the cynical youth of today. I was excited. I was intrigued. I wanted it to be engaging and captivating. But mostly I wanted it to be entertaining.
And for me, this just wasn’t. I stopped at page 135 and just couldn’t go on any further. I was bored beyond belief and for the life of me I can’t actually figure out why. And this has confused me that much that I am blaming it for the headache that I have at the moment.
Now my first real issue with Fairyland (yeah that title is just way too long for me to type out all the freaking time) was that it didn’t have an introduction, it didn’t ease the reader into it, there was no real back story… It just started with September, what a fucking name, climbing out of her kitchen window the Green Wind.
And from there it just got more and more surreal. Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for surreality but this was mind bending to the nth degree. I can see where it was aiming for, but for me it just fell short of the mark. About a country mile short. It was aiming for dryly witty… and it ended up just being dry.
And I’m English… If there is one nation on the face of this planet that embrace dry wit and take it on as a bosom buddy… it’s us. It’s our comedians bread and butter. The irreverence was there, the set ups were there but the punch line just never seemed to be delivered to the many micro gags that were set.
And this disappointed me y’know? It made me feel like the author was kinda writing the book whilst thinking “Look at how clever I am, you’ll never be as clever as me”. And that tone irked me. I couldn’t read more than 5 or 10 pages at a time before I had to put it down. And when I put it down I really didn’t want to go back to it. At all.
I was quite happy to watch it sit on my bedside cabinet and collect dust. And if it was badly written I wouldn’t care, at all. I’d toss it and go Ah well, live and fucking learn. But this was beautiful. The writing itself was gorgeous. But that alone does not a good book make. I don’t know about anyone else but for me, a good book needs to make me care about the Main character. And September?
I didn’t feel connected to her at all. She was merely ambling through random meetings with gnomes and witches and other kinds of magical creature. From what I could gather her one goal was to find a spoon, for a witch… Which I suppose is more of a plot than some fairytales, hell it’s more than a plot of some TV shows, but I want to be entertained by a book. If I want to be bored then I’ll go to church.
And you want to know what has me really scratching my head about this book? Ok I’ll tell you… I am pretty much the only person out of my circle of friends who read this book who feels this way as far as I know. So I’m seriously wondering if I missed something or if we read the same book at all. Because I don’t get it. I don’t get what was so good about this book that has gotten so many people going nuts over it.
Maybe I caved too soon, maybe I’ll give it another go in the future and my mind will be changed but as it stands I’m just leaving this on the shelf and finding something that will actually draw me in and engage me.
I don’t think that that is too much to ask for from a book do you?