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.

Rating: 4.5/5

Fine Print
Published: 1999, Headline
Get It:  Book Depository

8 comments:

  1. I think each of us remembers the first Neil Gaiman book we ever read. Mine was American Gods which was a little less whimsical than this one sounds. I love his writing style and I've heard great things about this one. If it is ANYTHING like The Princess Bride, well, I'm in 100%. Can't wait to check this one out!

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    1. I really want to read more of his work now.

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  2. I haven't had very good luck with Gaiman's adult novels (I've enjoyed his YA/kids ones I've read), but this one seems to be in a good middle place that I might enjoy it too. Sounds so full of whimsy and magic!

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    1. It is lovely! I think it could easily be a kid's/YA book except there's a few sex scenes.

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  3. I've been meaning to read this ever since I saw the movie, but you've convinced me I need to read it asap (and re-watch the movie!). Also, I've never actually read any of Gaiman's work so I should really start that too as so many of my friends love him. Great review lovely :)

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    1. Thanks! I think this is a good place to start! I'm not sure what to read of his next.

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    2. My friend gave me Good Omens for Christmas last year, she LOVES it :)

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