A Fantasy Book Review
Genre: Adult Fairytale, RomancePublisher's Blurb:
Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 19, 2001)
Paperback: 272 pages
In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve that star and bring it back for her.I am ashamed to admit that when it comes to fantasy, I am way behind on the current trends. So, I went out for my birthday and grabbed up some of the authors that everybody has read but me. Neil Gaiman was one of these.
It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life.
I chose Stardust, which is a great example of an adult fairytale. Now I have a fondness for fairytales that goes back to my childhood. When I was old enough to discover libraries and figured out that they let me take books home (provided that I brought them back later), I immediately searched for every fantasy book on the shelves. This of course included fairytales. Even so, when I picked this up, I was not sure what to expect. (I will not read reviews of anything I have not read yet, afraid that they might color my perceptions.) I have read remakes of several fairytales (Juliet Marillier comes to mind) which I enjoyed but I was hoping for something different.
I got my wish.
Neil Gaiman has created in Stardust his very own fairytale. This is not the retelling of an old favorite; this is uniquely his own. The characters are well written, the prose is perfect for a fairytale, and the pacing is almost flawless. The tale does start out a little slowly but it evenly increases in speed right up to the conclusion, which ties everything up so neatly, you can almost see the bow! There is adventure, romance, humor, mystery, and character development. There are witches, a unicorn, ghosts, and other fantastic creatures. There is also some adult language, adult themes and grisly violence but this is an Adult fairytale after all. (I'm alittle surprised that this is labeled as a YA book, maybe 15-16 and up but I would not go under that. My opinion, take it with a grain of salt!)
The copy that I bought has a centerfold showing scenes from the movie (which I also have not seen, I am not much of a movie person.) I understand that older versions of the book have some incredible illustrations. Sadly, I cannot tell you about those, though the centerfold in my copy was pretty cool and an added bonus. (The offer for free popcorn in the back did make me giggle though.)
Dark elements aside, this was a light read, perfect for all the rainy days we have had here lately. As with any good fairytale, you never know what will happen next and nothing is ever exactly as it seems. This makes for a fun, page-turning read and I enjoyed every minute of it! Highly recommended even if my recommendation is coming late in the game. Better late then never right?
Shelfari Rating 4/5
Librarything Rating 4.1/5
Amazon Rating 3+ out of 5 stars
(363 Customer Reviews)
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Audio CD: Stardust
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Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature 1998
Read an Interview with Neil Gaiman From:
The Guardian UK
Other Reviews: (Some with mild spoilers but more plot detail)
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