Posts Tagged With: Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman


Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can–he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You’ll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you’ll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself. (If you read it to kids, watch out for a couple of spicy sex bits and one epithet.) –Therese Littleton

This is the first Gaiman novel I have read, and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a long read but it was full of imagination and fun. The story follows Tristran as he goes through The Wall to catch the fallen star, to bring her back to his “true love”. Except, the Star is not overly happy to be joined to Tristran, especially when he saves her and she is in debt to him. They encounter all sorts of fantastical creatures, including trees that gave out advice, and witches who changed people into animals.

This was a great book. There is so much imagination and life in this book – and I liked the Star most. I thought it was great that she was so stubborn – not what you would expect. Tristran was a great read too. I liked how his character changed and matured. There were so many different characters in this book which all added to the story, I loved it! There were other stories that ran through book, including the witches who wanted to be young again and the brother’s fighting to rule the kingdom – but they were all linked by the star. I liked that there were sub-plots throughout the book, made for a more interesting read. And I found the ghosts of the brothers hilarious!

Gaiman reminds me of Terry Pratchett – and I know they have worked together. Both have amazing imaginations and write thoroughly entertaining books. Some of the creatures they both create I would never have dreamed of, but now I have encountered them and love them! I will be reading more Gaiman I think, because this was a fun, exciting, gripping book. Gaiman’s descriptions are very good and his characters are so much fun! If you like fantasy and humour, this is for you.

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Date of Publication: 1999, Harper Perennial

Number of Pages: 250

Synopsis (from back cover): Young Tristan Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria – even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristan learns, lies Faerie – where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

Review: Stardust is a superb story, hearkening back to both ancient fairy tales and to Tolkien’s beloved works. It pulls you in to its magical world and makes you believe in it without question. At the same time, there is a sense of modernism to the story that adds a complex element to the story. Many of the characters, even the magical ones, are recognizable as the heroes and heroines of modern stories, as well as the fairy tales we all heard as children. The love that drives Tristan Thorn to journey through Faerie, looking for his beloved’s star, is at once timeless and innocent. He remains an innocent throughout the story, just like the young adventurers in the old stories.

Everyone pursuing the star does so for a different, but elemental reason. Tristan seeks the star for love. Septimus and Primus, heirs to the throne of Stormhold, pursue the star for power. And the old witch searches for the star to regain her youth. All of these things – love, power, and youth (health) – are sought everyday by all people in their different ways, meaning that the reader is able to connect with this story on many levels.

In terms of simple storytelling, Gaiman once again delivers. The language is flawless, and it is here that I could sense the influence of Tolkien, which is more than appropriate for the story. The characters are engaging, funny, terrifying, and real. The setting comes alive on every page. This book made it into my dreams as I read, and for me, that alone is proof of its magnificence. I would recommend this book to all fans of fantasy and adventure.

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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