I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Listening to the audiobook of Catherynne M. Valente reading her young adult novel, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (2011), was thoroughly enjoyable. What an extravagant and exuberant book it is, effervescing with the joys of language, imagination, story, and Faerie, and yet grounded by the depth of human experience. Valente's narrator is witty, wise, and sympathetic, and her reading voice enhances her narrator's character perfectly. Although she does not alter her voice much for her different characters (male or female, young or old, human or Fairy, etc.), she gives each of them just the right emotion and intention for their various moods and agendas. Her own nonchalant yet passionate voice invokes a poetess who loves language but does not take herself too seriously.
Listening to the book Ravished me to Fairyland along with the heroine, September, a bored and lonely 12-year-old girl living in Omaha, Nebraska, when out of the blue a Harsh Green Wind carries her off to Fairyland flying on his Leopard of Little Breezes. She soon learns that the inhabitants are not happy under the bureaucratic rule of the Marquess and finds herself forced to go on a quest. September is spunky, sharp, loyal, and sensitive, and when she needs to tell a lie, she says "I want to go home."
Valente playfully and originally uses familiar genre elements like personified winds, fairies, gnomes, gargoyles, witches, golems, werewolves, shadows, and changelings, as well as more unusual ones like Pookas (shapeshifting fairies from Celtic folklore), Glashtyns (horse-headed men from Manx legends), and Nasnas (demonic people with bodies cut vertically in half from Arab mythology). She's on the side of the magical and monstrous.
I chuckled with pleasure to hear Valente rattle off fantastic lists of things like the different dishes at a Spriggan Halloween wedding feast and the different fabrics used in the composition of the buildings of Pandemonium; and to hear her describe the different physical features of her different characters, like the blue-skinned, heavy and slight, whirlpool-tattooed Marid boy Saturday and the Wyverary A-through-L (whose mother was a Wyvern and his father, he believes, a Library), whose "lizardish skin glowed a profound red, the color of the very last embers of the fire" and who smells "like roasting cinnamon and chestnuts"; and to explain things like why children are heartless, why their courages are clean, and why they run faster than the speed of a kiss.
And she's also good at making the reader shiver or sigh or cry, as when the Leopard of Little Breezes growls at September, "We came for you . . . Just you"; Saturday finds a way to avoid having to whip the Velocipedes (wild bicycles) to make them go faster; the Marquess tells her story; and September learns the difference between those mortals who Stumble into Fairyland (via tornado or wardrobe) versus those who are Ravished there (like Persephone or me).
I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks
2009 Nebula Award. A marvelously original, lyrical fairy tale that captivates and awes. September’s adventures through Fairyland with Ell the Wyvern and Saturday the boy marid. It all starts with the Green Wind and ends with a missing shadow. Shoes and laws, choices and love are main characters in this magical erudite journey sure to delight and wonder.
I shared this with my 6 and 8 year old children as we traveled to and from school each day. They would always say, "Mom, don't forget your iPod!" because they didn't want to miss out on this story....and neither did I. I'm sure I enjoyed this book as much if not more than my children. It was beautiful in every way: great quick moving plot, unusual and well-developed characters, fantastic imagery and great narration (read by the author). I'm going to have to get the print version now as well because there are parts I want to go back and read over and over again.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Nothing would have made this a great listening experience for me. I think this might be a book that is better to read than hear particularly if there are good illustrations. I had hoped from reading the reviews that this would be a children's story that is also pleasant for adults in the vein of Harry Potter. Instead, although the language was pretty and some of the imagery was interesting, it was dull listen. I listened to the book to see if it would be good for my budding avid reader 8-year old niece, but I think the story is just not interesting enough. It does sound much like a traditional fairy tale but it is far too long for that so I think it would be difficult to keep a younger child really interested also.
Maybe - she has a pleasant voice for this type of story, but she is clearly not a professional.
I would cut the dream scene - boring and confusing. I would cut much of the narrative. Fairy tales should rely on imagination and imagination does not require so much detail. The detailed descriptions often slow the plot down too much.
This might be an OK experience to read to a young child over several days, but older children and adults will find it rather slow and not terribly engaging.
I was expecting a fun adventure full of magic and fairytales. I got a girl made of soap explaining how courage and wishes work. I got a benevolent queen and an evil marquess who made me cry. I got a Panther who was just too tired. I got a little lamp who just wanted to be worth something. I was not expecting to be sobbing in my car.
I don't know how this is a kids book. It sounds like a kids book. It looks like a kids book. It even feels like a kids book. Until it tears your heart to pieces and then expects you to join in a party with an utterly shattered heart and aching soul.
This book destroyed me.
I need another.
I'm going to give a guarded 'yes,' on the grounds that having the author narrate worked out -beautifully-. She has a the perfect voice for this series, and I really think that hearing it as she thinks of it adds flavor that the print edition couldn't possibly have. That said, I'm sure some of the verbal play is more apparent in the written edition.
The discussion of Queen Mallow's history. I adamantly refuse to spoil it further, but this was one of the most moving sequences I've listened to in an audiobook.
Everything. Absolutely everything. My favorite thing, if I'm getting specific, is the inflection she puts on 'no' at times. That sounds silly, but it really helped sell the character for me. The whole performance is -fantastic- though.
Absolutely. I found excuses to take long walks at work and listen to this book.
This is a book I recommend to my friends -and- will absolutely read to my children. I don't know that I have -ever- found another book that hits both of those notes quite so well. It is incredibly clever, legitimately moving, and terribly imaginative. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy.
Pages flying everywhere...
I dearly wish I had been lucky enough to grow up with this book. I recommend it for everyone, always.
And I use curious in a positive way! Lovely story bringing to mind the adventures of Alice in Wonderland. The language was really something else, equal parts mystery and fairy dust. The author really has a gift with words, but she should have let someone else do the narrating.