September returns to Fairyland to reunite with A-Through-L, Saturday, and Gleam, and to confront her shadow-self, who has become the queen of Fairyland-Below, the upside-down world beneath the Fairyland of the first novel, filled with creatures of water and shadow, tales of ancient Fairyland before the human world was born, and not a few hungry buffins, blind birds of ice and moonlight. The yearly revels of Fairyland-Below climax in a mysterious rite September must avert or else lose her shadow forever.
Sometimes after finishing a book, it’s hard to imagine a sequel being plausible or enjoyable. When I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, the story felt complete, but I felt as though Valente had only cracked the door to the world she created, and that there was much more inside her head and unpublished books. Valente’s sequel is different from the debut that charmed so many of us: readers see a different part of fairyland and a thirteen-year-old September. I admit, there were times when I worried it wouldn’t be as good as the first book. However, the growth in September’s character, Fairyland, and Valente’s writing made this the perfect sequel that kept the magic alive in every way I could have hoped for.
I began The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There wondering if September would seem crazy. I realize that this sounds ridiculous because I loved her so much in book one, but I worried that her frenzy to get back would have changed her entirely. Instead, she felt like the September I knew before, just older. As I read, it became clear that September had matured a great deal. Valente’s sequel had a tone that was more serious and somber, but September was growing into a girl with a heart and her emotions grew heavier, so it worked perfectly.
If there was ever a sequel that proved just how creative, imaginative, and deep one world can be, this is it. I am completely serious. Valente’s additions to this world charmed me and once again made me wish I could go to Fairyland itself. Yet even in the midst of this, Valente maintained the slightly more serious tone of this book. September had to face characters and challenges that were difficult for her to confront on an intellectual and emotional level.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels there was more than I could have hoped for. The love and care that has gone into these books is not only obvious, but I would say worthwhile on Valente’s part. I was left satisfied, but Valente added a small twist towards the end, leaving me wanting more immediately. Wherever September goes next, I’ll be among the first to follow her.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from a friend, but plan on purchasing a finished copy because it's awesome.