I just want to eat Valente’s words. All of them. They’re like cream cakes and jam-covered scones and fairy cakes with buttercream and cookies with gooey centres still warm from the oven and… Yeah, as usual, Valente’s writing is great in The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, and I’m not sure, but I think I may well prefer it in these self-aware, charming, cheeky fairytales than in her adult novels. It’s beautiful there, too, but here it’s stripped down to suit the audience and genre, and that works really well for it.
As for the story, well. It’s not about September, really. Most of the time. It’s about another Changeling — a Changeling in the opposite direction, who finds our normal world just as strange and magical as his own, and yet… and yet he always knows something is missing, and he does want to find it. He really does. I’m just a little sad that we don’t see him being bothered about being separated from Gwendolyn, his human mother, at the end. That would have been an awesome opportunity for some of Valente’s wise words on children and hearts and home.
I didn’t, perhaps, love it quite as much as I love the books which feature September more heavily, Changeling-child as The Boy Who Lost Fairyland itself is in the series. But I did enjoy viewing everything aslant, and not once but twice — both our world and fairyland turning out to be strange to Hawthorn. (And how will he cope? Will he miss his human family? Will Tamburlaine? I hope we find out.)
And now there’s only one more book? I want it, I want it now — but I don’t want Fairyland to end, not ever.