As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
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November 21, 2010

STARDUST by Neil Gaiman, 1998


StardustCatch a fallen star . . . Tristran Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman's most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie. (Amazon product description)

Review by Laura Madsen, mom, veterinarian and writer

STARDUST, by Neil Gaiman (1999), is the inspiration for the movie of the same name, released in 2007. The movie is delightful, but as is generally the case with such things, the novel outshines the movie adaptation.

The novel opens with Dunstan Thorn, a young man living in the village of Wall. The town is named for the large stone wall that runs alongside, marking the boundary between mundane England and magical Faerie. Once every nine years the border is opened for a May Day festival. At the fair, Dunstan falls in love with a fairie slave girl and fathers a son, Tristran.

Seventeen years later, Tristan’s primary concern is gaining the hand of Victoria, the most beautiful girl in Wall. Victoria finds him dull and tries to get rid of him. She says she will only marry him if he brings her a star which has fallen on the other side of the wall. Tristran sets out across the boundary to recover the fallen star, but we learn that when a star falls in Fairie, it falls not as a lifeless lump of meteoric iron but as radiant young woman.

Tristran kidnaps the star, named Yvaine, and begins the return journey to England. The land of Fairie isn’t a rainbows-and-pixie-dust-and-pink-ponies sort of place. It is magical and mysterious, dark and dangerous, like the Fairie of Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL (in fact, she wrote a blurb for the cover of STARDUST). In Fairie there are predatory trees, “choleric gnomes of poor disposition,” ghosts and hobgoblins.

Along the way, Tristran and Yvaine are pursued by witches (for the heart of a star is a valuable commodity in witchcraft) and become entangled in the battle for succession to the throne of Stormhold. And, of course, they fall in love.

Mr. Gaiman’s writing is creative, lyrical and descriptive. For example, a description of a Fairie cat:

“The farm cat had three kittens: two black-and-white ones like herself, and a tiny kitten with a dusty blue sheen to her coat, and eyes that changed color depending on her mood, from green and gold to salmon, scarlet and vermillion.”

This would be a great novel with which to curl up on a rainy day. Although the novel is adult, I think it would also appeal to teens.

Market: Adult fiction (fantasy)
Sensuality: mild, in furtherance of the plot
Language: mild (a single “F” word)
Violence: moderate
Adult Themes: murder, sex, love, betrayal, fratricide, witchcraft

Book formats
Stardust (paperback)
Stardust (Kindle)

To learn more about the author, visit: Neil Gaiman

Extra Gush from Bookshop Talk: The movie based on this novel is different from the original story in many ways, but still awesome!

Stardust (Full Screen Edition) 
*A quick note: No, Bookshop Talk isn't getting paid to promote Neil Gaiman; it just so happens that in less than 2 months of being a book review site, we've had THREE of his books reviewed. He's obviously a common favorite of our little group of readers :)

1 comment:

Jessica Day George said...

I have loved this book since it first came out, and approached the movie with great trepidation. But Lo and Behold: the movie truly is wonderful, and I love them both equally!