“A book is a door, you know. Always and forever. A book is a door into another place and another heart and another world.
In this book, September walks within a dark world made entirely of shadows, of magic and of wildness. In this book September learns what it means to suppress emotions, to hide pieces and bits of oneself and to put on a different mask for the world to see. She learns the sweet bitterness that lies within stolen kisses, friendly betrayals and the words of forgiveness. She grows up, she gets hurt and she leaves Fairyland a little darker, than she entered it. (As we all do, when we tread the painful path of growing up.)
This book somehow feels a lot more dangerous, mysterious and profound than the first installment in the series. Every fantastical creature September stumbles upon are thought-provoking symbols that collide perfectly with our own world. A forgetful kangaroo won my heart, as he illustrated the importance of memories - of both the lovely and the hurting kind.
As September journeys through Fairyland-below she meets all sorts of haunted and helpless soul; and she tries to reason with herself whether shadows should live freely and wildly, or join their substances and be forced to live in their shadows. A highly complex and recognizable dilemma between freedom, sacrifice and order.
Valente writes beautifully as always, letting her words flow like pretty dreams in a pink sky. Her fantasy-creations and inventions makes Fairyland come to live before you very eyes. September's universe is so quirky, adorable and deeply hypnotizing.
This book does take place in Fairyland's underground, and as a consequence the story feels darker than its precedor. But perhaps that is only a good thing. As I walked in the shadows of Fairyland's landscape, I learned to love it even more. I grieved for the Marquess and her shadow, I wondered about Saturday and his stolen kiss, and I wished desperately for September to find her beloved dragon.
I stumbled into the beautiful Fairyland and fell in love with it - but all stumblers have a clock and of course my time ran out before I would have liked it to. I cannot wait to return, I cannot wait for the next book. This was the most spellbinding sequel I have ever read - and one of the most well-crafted children's books of all time.
“She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness. And all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms—and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too—end up in their shadow.