View from the window seat:
September returns to her beloved Fairyland to reunite with her best friends A-Through-L, Saturday, and Gleam only to discover that the people of Fairyland have been losing their shadows to Fairyland-Below. This world underneath Fairyland is ruled by the queen Halloween, September’s shadow. Halloween and the other shadows don’t want to return to the world above. September must find a solution before Fairyland loses its magic.
This is not the same story as September’s first adventure in Fairyland. September was a heartless child then. Now she’s thirteen, and experiencing what it means to have a newborn heart. Catherynne M. Valente brings back the same magical, whimsical language of the first book, but pairs it with a slightly darker, older tale. September learns that her actions have consequences when she sees her shadow, freely given in the first book, ruling Fairyland-Below and the effect her act of selflessness has had on Fairyland. She also learns that one must put right the wrongs one has committed. She contemplates what she wants to do with her life as she connects with her friends’ shadows, sees old friends, and meets new ones and finds that they all know their purpose in life.
What I truly love about this sequel is the discovery that the shadows, though maybe wilder and darker than ourselves, are not inherently evil but merely different. The shadows are full of want and what they want is to have the chance to live their own lives and make their own choices.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is a delight to read, and fans of the first book will not be disappointed.
Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.