Summary (from Goodreads):
September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.
Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem…
I am in love with these books. Reading them is like eating a giant bowl of salad by yourself, after unknowingly not eating anything green for days. My brain is soaking up all the needed vitamins and nutrients this healthy dose of book salad has to give. I don’t really think about writing style too often, unless a book is written particularly poorly. These books though have such a unique, whimsical style that I can’t help but comment on their magic style. I had no idea how much my brain had been missing a beautifully written book, until I had my refreshing dose of this wonderful sequel.
Valente seems to have only grown as a writer since her first book in the series. September is a little older here, but just as brave and in need of a quest as ever before. The new characters were wonderful (especially the dodo). And on top of the all the crazy, yet remarkable places in Fairyland there is now a little philosophy added to the mix. There’s fairyland below. There’s captured and freed shadows. And there’s so much to do with the juxtapositions between light and dark, good and bad, and even fun and boring.
There’s purple kangaroos, shadow versions of all September’s friends, creatures afraid of being hunted and turned into wives, eel rides, goblin markets, stolen kisses, revels (which are insanely large parties), quests, scientists, cats, winds, and so much more. There’s also all the layering of what’s happening in the human world (with the war and September’s father). And one of my favorite things about the book was that I was never quite sure how it would end. Did I want the shadows to go back? Did they not deserve to be free? What would September decide to do?
And I loved that September is the kind of character who knows she has a lot to learn. She knows how she feels about the shadows one minute won’t necessarily be how she feels about them the next. And how can one want to punish and imprison oneself? Halloween is really just a more magical version of September, after all. The power of words made this book stand out too. Halloween took down all the rules of Fairyland Below, but the rules made themselves known the whole time. And the way to travel between so much of Fairyland Below was by jumping into pages of books!
I have never seen or ready anything like these books before. The language is beautiful. The characters read like old friends. The setting is probably one of the best settings I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about. And there really isn’t anything negative to say. I already started book 3 (which seems to be the last one?). And I will most definitely be keeping my eye out for anything this author has to say. This gets a 10/10.