Oh, September... You have grown up a bit, haven't you? And learned that actions have consequences. And you are not Heartless any more, are you, my dear girl?"Hearts set about finding other hearts the moment they are born, and between them, they weave nets so frightfully strong and tight that you end up bound forever in hopeless knots, even to the shadow of a beast you knew and loved long ago."Oh, September... You've hardened up and toughened up a bit now, haven't you? It's about time for you to learn the hard way that things are not always what they seem or what they ought to be. That you need to set right what you did wrong. But setting things right is not always what it seems to be. That sometimes what we are is not what we want to be, and vice versa. That doing what needs to be done can be tiring and tedious and unhappy. "She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked away at the bottom of their hearts."Oh, September... You learn once again that not everything in the world is divided up nicely and neatly. That it's not all about light and dark, people and shadows, good and bad. That your newly found heart can go to the lengths that you did not know it could, that it could go out to those who you never thought would be able to grow their own blooming branch in it. That sometimes you must forgive, no matter how much the hurt and pain was and is."Poor September! How much easier, to be hard and bright and heartless. Instead, a very adult thing was happening in that green, new heart. For there are two kinds of forgiveness in the world: the one you practice because everything really is all right, and what went before is mended. The other kind of forgiveness you practice because someone needs desperately to be forgiven, or because you need just as badly to forgive them, for a heart can grab hold of old wounds and go sour as milk over them."Oh, September... You have so many things to experience for the first time. The forgiveness from you brand-new heart. The First Kiss, somewhat rudely taken from you. The betrayal, so hurtful, even if you know it was done with the best intentions in mind."'How could he? That's as bad as killing, to take away everything a person is.' September had never been betrayed before. She did not even know what to call the feeling in her chest, so bitter and sour.Poor child. There is always a first time, and it is never the last time." Oh, September... It is time you learn to stand up for yourself, and stand up to those who love you dearly, even if it hurts you to do so. Because you know yourself, and you have a Heart. Because some things that need to be done are your job, even if you are not certain about where life is meant to take you. Because you are beginning to grow up and you need to decide what you will take with you and what you will have to leave behind. It is a hard choice, but it has to be done, and such is life, even in Fairyland. And sometimes Fairyland is not that far off from Nebraska, after all. "I shall do what needs doing myself, thank you," September said finally. "And I'll ask you kindly to stop telling me what I need and what will be wonderful just as soon as I agree with you! And most importantly to stop turning me into things I didn't ask to be and kissing me when I didn't ask to be kissed!" Oh, September... You learned your lesson well - "You need your dark side, because without it, you're half gone." You learned that taking one's choice away is never the right thing to do, even if sometimes it seems like the only thing to do. You learned how to think slantwise and backward, like a true Bishop. "After all, if enough lost things band together, even in the darkest depths, they aren't really lost at all anymore." "Perhaps memory is a thing that everyone involved has to work at, like stitching up a big quilt out of everything that ever happened to you." Dear sweet September, you get to meet the other you in this Fairyland-Below, just to find the true you in the end. And this journey was not easy and not as whimsical as your first one - because you have grown, and things are now more wistful and just a touch darker. And I'm lucky to have taken this journey with you, holding your hand along the way, marveling at all the strange weirdness, smiling at occasional Russian worlds here and there (oh, Catherynne Valente!) and sighing as my heart recognized the sentiments in each insanely quotable passage. I cannot wait to join you on the next journey you take, and someday maybe take my (future hypothetical) daughter on it with me and you. "You can never forget what you do in a war, September my love. No one can. You won't forget your war either."Oh, September, I easily give you 4.5 stars, wired into the ceiling of Fairyand-Below, next to the crystal moon with time on its face."A book is a door, you know. Always and forever. A book is a door into another place and another heart and another world.".....................................My review for the first September book, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, is this way, if you're interested.