Review: Radiance

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RadianceRadiance by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you remember when you started reading Jules Verne, marvelled at the places he described, the ruins of Atlantis, the rivers of Africa, the caves at the centre of the Earth? Do you remember when you realised his world was not actually our world, but one made of myths, of hearsay, of wonder and imagination – maybe not real, but definitely more romantic*?

Valente’s solar system in Radiance is … (Read more)

Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

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The Boy Who Lost FairylandThe Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m kinda conflicted about this one, and it makes me sad, since I wanted to love it so much.

It’s not the change in characters so late in the series (only one more book to go): Hawthorn and Tamburlaine are lovely, especially the little troll’s struggle to understand human society and all its little quirks and unspoken rules that make absolutely no sense.

It’s not … (Read more)

Review: The Bread We Eat in Dreams

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The Bread We Eat in Dreams
The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful anthology, and a perfect starting place for those who want to delve into the writings of Catherynne Valente without committing to a full novel.

I have read most of the stories in this anthology before and, on a second read, they don’t come as strong or shocking, but more like long-time friends or forgotten lovers with which to share a … (Read more)

Review: The Melancholy of Mechagirl

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The Melancholy of Mechagirl
The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had already read most of these stories separately, so reading them again together was like visiting a distant country for the second time: though the overall panorama has not changed, some things have moved, some have changed, some touch you in different ways.

I will leave judging the poetry to someone else, as that is not really my usual field. I liked Tsukayama Park better … (Read more)

Review: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

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The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3)The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time is the only magic, and it’s sometimes a sad magic, because only a day passed for September but it felt like an eternity to read. I’ll admit, maybe I didn’t give this book all the attention it deserved (real life got in the way, so I read it in stretches and patches), but it felt like it … (Read more)

Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

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The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2)The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

September is one year older, somewhat less heartless and definitely ready to go back to Fairyland and have a proper Adventure. Things however have changed a lot since she left: magic is leaving Fairyland along with its shadows, all because of Halloween, the Hollow Queen of Fairyland Below – her own shadow.
Once again, it’s up to September to … (Read more)

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve just finished re-reading this story (this time in book format) and it’s once again as wonderful as the first time. Born as a book within a book, Fairyland grew into the story of September, a young girl who is whisked into Fairyland and ends up having Adventures, meeting a Wiverary (part wyvern, part library) and several other … (Read more)

Review: The Folded World

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The Folded World (A Dirge for Prester John, #2)The Folded World by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I am slain.

I didn’t start the second part of this tale with the best of auspices. I admit that, while I loved The Habitation of the Blessed, I found it often hard to move through, as if I too were John struggling with a new world.
But this book. I don’t know what his book is.
The second part of a trilogy is usually … (Read more)

Review: Deathless

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Deathless (Deathless, #1)Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m afraid this book didn’t quite rapture me the way previous stories by the same author did. The premise is wonderful, the historical and cultural setting is spot-on, the elements are all there, but in the end they don’t quite seem to gel the right way and they often leave me wanting. Oddly enough, at times the story seems to run too fast with its gaps of months and … (Read more)

Review: The Habitation of the Blessed

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The Habitation of the Blessed (A Dirge for Prester John, #1)The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another wonderful read from Catherynne Valente, this time the first volume of a trilogy dedicated to the mythical Prester John, fabled king of the three Indies. Once more Valente recounts the story through the words of many characters: John, the befuddled but not so innocent priest; Hagia, the blemmye and his future wife; Imtithal, the panoti, who told tales to three children in a … (Read more)