Monday, 21 October 2013
Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
This was my first Neil Gaiman book, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get to it sooner. I watched the movie years ago and quite liked it, but I loooooooved the book. From the opening line, “There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire”, I was hooked.
Stardust is a fairy tale for grown-ups. It follows Tristran into the land of Faerie on a quest to find a fallen star for his lady love, Victoria. When he gets there he finds the star is not exactly what he expected it to be, and there are more than a few speedbumps in his journey. It’s an exciting and entertaining ride filled with a range of fantastical characters and all kinds of magic.
Gaiman infuses Stardust with a wonderful fairy tale feel through his whimsical and lyrical use of language. This book reminded me a little of The Last Unicorn be Peter S. Beagle and The Princess Bride by William Goldman in the evocative, magical world it creates and its beautiful, vivid imagery. The story itself is fun, amusing and even a little sad at times. The different threads that seem totally unrelated in the beginning all converge in a lovely way and everything comes together wonderfully. It’s an absolute delight to read.
I loved the extensive cast of characters, both the good and the bad. The ghostly brothers of Stormhold were hilariously macabre, and the Lilim were the kind of baddies you love to hate. Tristran was adorable if a bit hopeless and selfish at times, and Yvaine was not only beautiful but funny and fierce. I even liked Victoria more than I expected. I only wish that more time was spent on Tristran and Yvaine’s developing relationship – vast amounts of time and many adventures are skipped over in a few sentences, and we don’t actually get to experience their growing feelings towards each other. I understand the book would have been much longer if these were included, but it would have been nice to witness a little of it.
Although I’m a massive fan of Happily Ever Afters, I actually really liked the bittersweet ending of Stardust. This fairy tale is for adults, after all, and we know that as wonderful as things can be, there is always pain and sadness and loss. So the ending was quite fitting and still happy in its own way. Everyone who loves magic (and frankly who doesn't?) will enjoy this book.
Published: 1999, Headline
Get It: Book Depository