Neil Gaiman said this book was a “glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian fairy tale, done with heart and wisdom.”
I love a sneaky, omniscient narrator who takes liberties with speaking directly to the reader. Especially when they’re not condescending to the reader but takes us into their confidence, presumes we are as intelligent as they are, and goes out of their way to be warm and inclusive.
I love a story where the girl who goes to Fairyland is chosen because she is irascible and short-tempered sometimes. Not because she is good or pretty.
I adore the concept of all children being Heartless in some degree or other. I adore Wyveraries (wyverns and libraries having babies, why not?), although a land of Autumn doesn’t really translate to the Australian experience – especially not for a girl who grew up in the tropics, where leaves don’t really turn red, let alone fall off branches – unless there’s a mighty storm.
I do actually really like whimsy, when the wide-eyed joy is balanced with just enough cynicism that is self-aware enough not to get in the way.
I like it when heroines are sensible and determined, when they know they’re in a story and try to decide how to be in that story, and when they get to be brave and afraid at the same time.
I liked this story more than I expected. I liked the pictures, too.