The final addition to one of my most beloved series, The Girl Who Raced packed in all of the Dramatis Personae we have come to know and love, and laced them together in a delicate orange bow. And the ending, what a marvellous conclusion to the wondrous adventures that were the preceding novels! I applaud Valente for dreaming up such a splendid finale. I would wax nostalgic about it and risk unravelling Fairyland’s heart, but where would the fun be in that? Read the book yourselves! (If you had already, you might have noticed the clever allusion in my rhetorical question, of which I am particularly proud.)
Ah, I notice that Valente’s lemony prose is seeping into my own. It had first captivated me as I was flipping through what was to become one of my favourites of all time. But I have to admit, her bubbling streams of ‘ands’ and tangents made mesmerising narrations in the first three novels, but they became somewhat tiresome in The Girl Who Raced. Perhaps it is because, for the first time, there was a tangible sense of urgency – Race is in the title, after all. Whereas in the preceding books, the reader drifted over and under and through yet more unexplored terrain, with all the time in the world to be filled with adolescent awe. But thankfully, her prose only began to lose colour towards the end, and then picked right up again. And her unrivalled verbal illustrations continued to weave magic during the first half.
I will admit, I still had not finished The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, finding the abrupt departure from September and Saturday and A-Through-L a bit too disconcerting. And the plot lacked the same enchantment that had brought the first three books to life. I did, however, skim enough of it to understand the chaos that was in the first chapter of this one, so I had no trouble navigating at all. Nonetheless, to my more patient readers, please do try harder than I did, if only to write me a detailed summary afterwards! And on the topic of September and Saturday and A-Through-L, the original revolutionary trio, it took a while to remember that September was no longer the Heartless 12-year-old with ungainly feet, or that Saturday was once too timid to raise his voice above phantom whispers. I had not realised how much I had missed them until I finally gave in and purchased the Kindle edition (being too impatient to order a physical copy and have to wait for it to arrive).
I am certainly sad to let go of the Winds and Imogen and Iago and even the Marquess (just in case you were not aware, there is actually a prequel available for free online, which narrates her first rise to power). Though, with such a perfect ending, the sentiment is more sweet than bitter, not unlike looking up to unexpectedly find an endless indigo sky strewn with shooting stars and knowing that dawn is near.
For my review on The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, the third book, please click here.