Monday, September 19, 2016

A Troll, A Fetch, A Gramophone, And A Wombat Walk Into A Painting

It's FALL!!!! I may have mentioned that before, but I don't care, it makes me very very very if only the weather would cooperate.  As a sort of fall tradition and needing a special book to break in my new house,  I picked up the second to last book in the Fairyland series, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Cathrynne M. Valente.  This one was different because it focused on a not September character and took place mostly in the human world.  Did this at all change my love of this series?  Let's find out shall we?  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
In this installation of the series we focus not on our plucky and amazing September, but on a troll named Hawthorn.  Hawthorn is taken/conned by the Red Wind to become a changeling and replace a baby boy in the human world.  Hawthorne is taken to the Fairy Post Office and shipped of to Chicago where he takes the place of one Thomas Rood.  Hawthorne has only vague memories of his trollness and Fairyland, but they are enough to make him seem odd to his utterly normal parents.  Hawthorne starts school, and after a bit of a rough start makes friends by convincing them to talk to their desks...because in Hawthorne's memories every thing talks back to him.  This type of "imagination" and the way he gets the other children to follow him disturbs his teachers, prompting them to contact his parents to try and get him to act Normal.  Obviously our poor little troll changeling can never be completely Normal, no matter how hard he tries and his parents, while loving him, have a difficult time with it.  Hawthorne's human mother knits him a wombat who becomes his best companion
through out his strange life.  Hawthorne befriends a girl by the name of Tamburlaine who turns out to be another changeling.  Tam is not a troll however, she is what is known as a Fetch, a girl made of wood.  Her parents kind of know what she is and love her anyways and do their best to protect her.  Tam has the talent of painting and shows Hawthorne a fantastical forest that she has painted on her walls.  One day while visiting Hawthorne, Tam shows him how to work magic.  She shows him Scratch, a gramophone she brought to life using the same magic.  Hawthorne uses his magic to bring to life pretty much everything in his apartment, including the wombat named Blunderbuss that his mother made him.  After bringing to life his baseball...which turns into a tattooed monster, it grabs the foursome and dashes into the piece of forest Tam painted on Hawthorne's wall.  The foursome (Hawthorne, Tamburlaine, Scratch and Blunderbuss) wake up in an incredible forest that resembles the one that Tam painted.  Turns out they are in Fairyland and have reverted back to their troll and Fetch forms.  They are overtaken by the traveling capital of Fairyland, the fabric made Pandemonium.  The current King, King Crunchcrab enlists the foursome to help him quit being king.  They meet up with the human changelings of Fairyland who have been reduced to servitude to prevent them from bringing about the changes that changelings are known for.  They are sent to find a person known as the Spinster who can free Crunchcrab from his Kingship.  The foursome, along with Penny Farthing, who has been removed from her beloved fairy mother and no longer runs with the velocipedes end up serving at the party of a powerful Fairy.  They run into the real Thomas Rood and after a few meta moments gives them the key to the Spinster.  They find the Spinster...who turns out to be our girl September...who was aged by events in the previous book.  The dodo Aubergine gives them an egg that brings lost things back.  As you probably guessed, chaos ensues and all of the previous Kings and Queens of fairy come back.  The crown leaves Crunchcrab and falls to...September...who is know queen.  Hawthorne and Tam get to stay in Fairyland and Thomas returns home to ecstatic parents.   We end with Septembers mother being told by her sister that she knows where her daughter is and how to get there.
I'm gonna revert back to my old school of rambling for this book 'cause I think that I will be able to convey my feeling best in this format.  First of all, the authors trademark ability to make everything wondrous and fantastical was front and center.  The coolest part about this particular installment of the series was how amazing the writer made our mundane human world.  By showing us everyday things through the eyes of a young Fairylander, a dreary apartment in Chicago was made into a vertibal wonderland.  The rules that Hawthorne divined from his experiences in the human world and how he applied them to his life are a great reminder of what it is to be young in unfamiliar circumstances and how an imaginative brain adapts to these scary new things.  The author uses
Hawthorne to not only show us the human world through different eyes, but also a very young person learning and growing.  I did however very much miss September.  I understand what the writer was doing, and the story was very well done...I just really really love September and not having her play a main role in this book made me a little sad.  On that note, Blunderbuss may be my favorite wombat of all time.  Seriously this crazy patchwork marsupial in all it's incarnations made me smile every time she was on the page.  I was not the biggest fan of Scratch...I did not really see what this character contributed to the story other then being proof that Tam could work magic.  The story itself was pretty well done until they came back to fairyland, then I had to work really hard to remember everything that had happened in the last books to try and sort out all of the politics and keep everything straight in my head.  Overall it was a decent installment into a beloved series.  It does not compare to the first two, but definitely holds it's own overall.  I give it 8 out of 10 chain covered coats and recommend it to anybody who is as addicted to this series as I am.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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