Kids who like their language simple and their universes orderly have probably long since bailed on the Fairyland series. In particular, they may have tired of author Catherynne M. Valente's fondness for wild images and pure delight in yanking the rug out from characters and readers alike at frequent intervals. But, although she's not going to be everyone's dish, Valente's narrator is that rare jewel: She has all this under control and dispenses assorted reassuring asides but also doesn't take herself too seriously. Which is a big part of what makes you willing to cut Valente some slack when she launches the fourth book in a five-part series by introducing a protagonist you've never heard of, and she makes you care deeply about the plight and future of THE BOY WHO LOST FAIRYLAND. She dazzles you with language, cracks you up, and breaks your heart, often in the same paragraph, such as this one:
"Thomas Rood had a naked heart, even when the rest of him was bundled up in hats and mittens in the depths of winter. And it was this naked heart that hurled itself at everything, at lamps and toys and flagstones and draperies. Thomas could not help it. All his life he had known that something was wrong. It was only that he did not know what it was. He felt all the time as though there were another boy inside him, a bigger boy, a stronger boy, a boy who knew impossible things, a boy so wonderful he could talk to jewels and make friends with fire. But whenever he tried to let that boy out, he was only Thomas, red-faced, sputtering, gangly, clench-fist Thomas."